Emulex adapters create virtual fabric for IBM BladeCenter

By Kevin Komiega

-- Emulex announced Thursday that it has scored a design win to supply its 10Gbps Ethernet NICs, dubbed Virtual Fabric Adapters, to IBM for Ethernet connectivity in IBM's BladeCenter HS22 blade servers.

The Emulex Virtual Fabric Adapter CFFh for IBM BladeCenter offers a pair of physical 10Gbps Ethernet ports, supporting 1Gbps or 10Gbps that can be configured into as many as 8 virtual ports with bandwidth allocation in 100Mbps increments.

The adapters also offer license upgrades for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

The Virtual Fabric Adapter CFFh NICs are based on Emulex's OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) architecture for converged network connectivity. The cards support hardware offload and acceleration on a single chip for TCP/IP, TOE, iSCSI, and FCoE traffic.

The Emulex Virtual Fabric Adapter's OneCommand software management framework centralizes a myriad of management functions, including dynamic provisioning, asset management, virtual I/O services, connectivity management, security, and quality of service (QoS) for virtualized and converged networking environments.

Sean Walsh, vice president of corporate marketing, Emulex, says the Virtual Fabric Adapter CFFh can reduce the overall cost of a BladeCenter system.

"The big issue here is costs savings. The Virtual Fabric Adapter can reduce the cost [of a system] by about 30% and physical cabling and adapters by about 50% when compared to a typical BladeCenter system with all 1Gbps infrastructure. It also gives customers a roadmap for the future with support for FCoE," says Walsh. "We're moving forward with 10GbE without leaving 1Gbps behind."

Walsh also says the IBM win is the first of 14 design wins for its 10Gbps Ethernet NIC.

The adapters work with IBM BladeCenter HS22 blades and Blade Network Technologies BNT 10-port 10Gbps Ethernet Switch Modules for IBM BladeCenter to create a virtual fabric. Blade's BNT switch is "FCoE ready" and automatically recognizes Emulex's Virtual Fabric Adapter. The solution can connect virtual environments that span thousands of virtual switch ports.

Related articles:
Emulex vs. QLogic: Who's on first?
I/O virtualization is a sweet spot for 10GbE
Emulex CNAs support 10GbE, iSCSI, FCoE

This article was originally published on August 28, 2009