Emulex Unveils 10GbE Cards for the Budget-Minded

By Pedro Hernandez

A 10GbE network upgrade doesn't have to break the bank, at least according to computer networking firm Emulex. On Tuesday the company announced two new 10GBASE-T adapters under its OneConnect 10Gb Ethernet Universal Converged Network Adapter (UNCA) product line, the OCe11102-NT network interface card (NIC) and the OCe11102-IT iSCSI adapter.

In bringing the adapters to market, Emulex hopes to capitalize on a couple of forces that are pulling at IT shops from different directions. One major draw for IT execs, according to Shaun Walsh, vice president of marketing for Emulex, is economics, pure and simple.

Put bluntly, optical 10GbE networking can get spendy. "If you look at deploying 10GbE optical today," said Walsh, "it can cost between $1,500 to $2,500 per port." By foregoing optical transceivers and cabling, and piggybacking on existing CAT6 Ethernet runs, the "price per port drops to $500." It all adds up to substantial savings, slashing the cost of an upgrade by up to 37 percent.

Wait, doesn't Emulex also sell optical 10GbE equipment? Yes, but the company isn't worried about cannibalizing its sales.

"The short answer," says Walsh, "is to drive greater volume through adoption."

10GbE Momentum Grows

A turbulent brew of increased cloud adoption and virtual machine sprawl are forcing data center operators to upgrade their networks, therefore adding some momentum to the 10GbE market. "Bandwidth demands have started to grow, network bandwidth is being consumed at increasing rates." And that spells good news for networking hardware vendors.

After taking the pulse of the IT analyst community, said Walsh, the 10GbE market has plenty of room to grow over the next few years. Currently, he said, the 10GbE vendors are raking in "$100 million in revenue, on average, each quarter," or roughly $400 million a year. Those figures are expected to double each year before plateauing in 2014 and 2015.

So for Emulex, it pays to ride that wave by serving both the high-end and entry-level 10GbE market.

Carrying a price tag of $882, the Emulex 10GBASE-T OCe11102-NT NIC ships with support for the company's Universal Multi-Channel technology, which gives administrators virtual machine-friendly, switch-independent NIC partitioning. On the storage networking side, the $1,049 OCe11102-IT iSCSI adapter offers iSCSI over Data Center Bridging, delivering bandwidth allocation and traffic optimization to aid storage administrators in delivering consistent iSCSI performance across a network.

Both cards fall under Emulex's single driver model and can be centrally managed by the company's OneCommand Manager. And in a perk for VMware environments, the OneCommand Manager plug-in for vCenter streamlines virtual machine network configuration by preventing dashboard-hopping.

Emulex's OCe11102-NT network card and OCe11102-IT iSCSI adapter are available now.

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This article was originally published on February 08, 2012