Emulex 16Gb Fibre Channel HBAs Aimed at Cloud, Virtualization

Emulex's new LightPulse host bus adapters will ship in December and deliver more than 1 million IOPS performance.

Emulex in December will begin shipping what officials say are the fastest Fibre Channel host bus adapters in the world and designed specifically with virtualization and cloud computing in mind.

The company's LightPulse 16Gb Fibre Channel HBAs will deliver more than 1 million I/O per second (IOPS) over a single port, which officials said is crucial to enabling high-performance interconnect capabilities in cloud computing environments and virtualized data centers.

The LightPulse HBAs-the single-channel LPe16000 and dual-channel LPe16002-were announced at the Storage Networking World show Oct. 10 in Orlando, Fla., and already are sampling with some OEMs, according to Shaun Walsh, vice president of market at Emulex.

The capabilities in the new LightPulse HBAs show Emulex as a company "that really understands the difference between the physical environment and the virtual environment, and one that really understands what is going on in the cloud," Walsh said in an interview with eWEEK.

The HBAs are based on the Emulex Engine XE201 I/O Controller, a quad-port converged fabric controller that not only supports up to 16Gb Fibre Channel but also 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40GbE converged fabrics.

Fibre Channel currently is the top interconnect technology in the storage space and, according to market research firm Lightcounting, will continue to be so for the next several years. Eventually, however, 10GbE iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) will eat into that dominance, though Fibre Channel will continue to be the leading storage interconnect through the end of the decade, as it migrates to 16Gb and then 32Gb, Lightcounting analysts said in a report last month.

Emulex rival QLogic also is pushing deeper into the converged fabric area, announcing in September an expansion of its Adaptive Convergence strategy with new adapters, switches and routers that can power 16Gb Fibre Channel or 10GbE converged networks from the same hardware.

Emulex's Walsh said the company's new HBAs are more than addressing the next step in speed. New features enable them to support cloud and virtualization environments. One of those features is vScale, which lets administrators pool resources that can then be dynamically allocated to multiple protocols.

In addition, vPath will support emerging interconnect virtualization standards, while Emulex's GreenState power management capabilities allow for selective dynamic hibernation, turning off ports when they're not needed, Walsh said. Emulex's vEngine offers performance improvements by offloading some workloads from the hardware.

According to Emulex, the LPe16000 adapters offer more than five times the IOPS and twice the data throughput of 8 Gigabit Fibre Channel adapters. The company's OneCommand Vision product monitors the environment.