BY DAVE SIMPSON
Emulex has made a number of product announcements focused on data center consolidation, including converged network adapter (CNA) cards that support 10Gbps Ethernet (10GbE) and iSCSI, as well as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). The company also announced its first 8Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs with embedded encryption, and management software that works with all of Emulex's HBAs and CNAs.
All of the products are sampling to OEMs now, with end-user shipments due some time in the second half of the year.
In addition to the obvious performance benefits of 10GbE, the OneConnect "universal" CNAs promise a number of data center cost reductions, which Emulex officials group under the term "convergenomics." For example, Steve Daheb, Emulex's chief marketing officer, claims that the CNAs in conjunction with a converged network architecture can save up to 28% on switches, adapters, and rack space; up to 42% on power and cooling; and up to 80% on cabling.
Emulex has been shipping its first-generation CNAs for about a year, but the key to the second-generation OneConnect CNAs, according to Daheb, is that they provide 100% CPU offloading for all supported protocols via the company's single-chip VEngine technology. In the case of a virtual server environment, Daheb claims that the CPU offload functionality can increase the number of virtual machines (VMs) supported by as much as 20%.
In terms of performance/energy metrics, the company claims 500MB/watt transfer rates for the CNAs.
Emphasizing increased IT interest in security, Emulex also announced the SecureConnect line of encryption HBAs, marking the first time the company has implemented encryption on 8Gbps Fibre Channel adapters.
According to IDC's Encryption Usage Survey, 44% of IT organizations plan to encrypt more than 75% of their data, and more than 40% of the respondents plan to encrypt at the server level.
Emulex officials claim a number of advantages of host-level (HBA) encryption versus encrypting data on fabric switches, dedicated encryption appliances, or at the device (e.g., disk) level. The most significant advantage—versus fabric-based switches or appliances—is cost, according to Daheb. He claims that HBA encryption can provide a 75% opera- tional savings advantage.
The other key to host-level encryption, according to Emulex, is that it provides end-to-end encryption (host, network, device) of data "in flight" and "at rest."
The encryption HBAs also support RSA key management. And for virtual server environments, encryption can be tied directly to individual virtual machines (VMs) so that encryption policies and keys can "follow" a VM throughout the data center.
Emulex also announced its OneCommand management software, which can be used to manage all of the company's LightPulse Fibre Channel HBAs and the new OneConnect CNAs. OneCommand is essentially an extension of Emulex's HBAnyware management software. (OneCommand will replace the HBAnyware brand name in the second half of the year.) The management software can be integrated with third-party vendors’ management frameworks and devices.