Emulex Provides SAN Connectivity for New IBM Blade Servers

Emulex Corporation, a data center networking vendor, has announced that its technology is now optimized for use with IBM's new BladeCenter HS22 Blades. Emulex's LightPulse 8Gb/s Fibre Channel CIOv Expansion Card enables IBM to offer blade server users increased dual-channel I/O throughput and CPU efficiency, resulting in increased performance and reduced power consumption.

Emulex 8Gb/s Fibre Channel HBAs feature enterprise scalability and flexibility through support for Message-Signaled Interrupts eXtended (MSI-X), offering end users greater CPU efficiency, reduced system latency and improved I/O throughput-which contribute to increased blade server performance and reduced power consumption in the HS22 Blade.

Additional key features and benefits of leveraging Emulex technology for IBM's new BladeCenter solutions are that the LightPulse utilizes the CIOv slot on HS22-the preferred slot for optimal scalability and performance in storage area network (SAN) infrastructures-and does not require the added cost and complexity of a Multi-Switch Interconnect Module (MSIM) for IBM BladeCenter. The expansion card is also optimized for use with the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, which is installed on all IBM HS22 Blades. To maximize I/O bandwidth, data center servers based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series can leverage the Emulex LPe12000 family of 8Gb/s Fibre Channel HBAs to achieve high dual-channel I/O throughput and CPU efficiency, translating into increased performance and reduced power consumption.

"We have a long-standing partnership with IBM across multiple divisions. This is a program that we have been working on for a while and it really ties into their whole next-generation plans around the Intel Nehalem-based platform and server virtualization," Shawn Walsh, vice president of corporate marketing, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "Because the Nehalem platform is really the first of the Intel family to be designed to support virtualization from the ground up, we had to put a number of key functions and features as part of this program."

Walsh points to new features such as VM matching, "where you can take the specific VM on the Nehalem chip, virtual PCI Express connection and then our virtual end port connections to create dedicated I/O paths for each of the individual VMs running on the system."

IBM bought into LightPulse because "the Emulex architecture offloads all of the fibre channel processing from the CPU so it allows us to have better usability of the CPU cycles towards running VMs versus running I/O," Walsh adds. "Depending on which type of guest OS you are running, that can save as much as 20%, especially in environments where they are running predominantly Windows-based VMs."

Emulex LightPulse HBAs and expansion cards are supported across a range of IBM solutions, including System x Servers and Power Servers. For more information on Emulex connectivity solutions for IBM, go here.