Cisco has released details on using Emulex's LightPulse Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) for its new Unified Computing System (UCS). Emulex's CNAs leverage eight generations of Fibre Channel technology to provide host LAN and Fibre Channel SAN connectivity over 10Gb/s Ethernet using FCoE and Enhanced Ethernet functionality. By enabling server I/O consolidation, Emulex says its CNAs reduce the number of NICs and cables used by the servers by as much as 50%, thereby reducing power consumption and lowering cooling costs in a server environment.
The offering, called Cisco UCS M71KR-E Emulex Converged Network Adapter (CNA), provides connectivity for Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers in the Cisco Unified Computing System, and is designed specifically for the Cisco UCS blades. "CNAs and server blades are complementary technologies," Shaun Walsh, vice president of corporate marketing at Emulex, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "Given the movement to 10 Gigabit Ethernet-based backplanes in blade servers, using CNAs to leverage that common infrastructure enables CNAs to dynamically provide the right class of I/O (LAN, SAN or HPC) for each application. The ability of the CNAs to bridge current IP and Fibre Channel networks in a new era of network convergence creates a sustainable value proposition for IT managers and drives lower cost, higher efficiency computing across the enterprise."
Cisco, which unveiled its Unified Computing System in March, is currently providing customers the Emulex CNA for their UCS platforms, Walsh says. "Some units are shipping to early access customers."
Cisco's Unified Computing System is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization into a single system designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase business agility.
Walsh adds that deploying a converged network with 10 Gigabit Ethernet simplifies networking by carrying Local Area Network (LAN) and Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) traffic over a single wire. "This lowers capital infrastructure expenses by reducing the number of adapters, switch ports and cables and lowers operational expenses by reducing power, cooling and administrative costs," he says. The converged network simplifies cable management, allowing hosts to connect to LAN and SAN using a converged network adapter."
Another advantage is that Fibre-Channel-over-Ethernet networks can be rolled out in phases, Walsh also says. "FCoE-enabled network convergence can be used to drive consolidation with new server deployments, without affecting the existing server and storage infrastructure or the processes required to manage and support existing applications."
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