Emulex Unveils Fibre Channel HBA for BladeCenter

Executives claim move will better enable end users to tie into existing storage area network infrastructures.

Emulex Corp. has introduced a Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter for IBM eServer BladeCenter environments, a move executives say will better enable end users to tie into existing storage area network infrastructures.

The new LP1005DC Fibre Channel HBA is a 2G-bps dual-channel connectivity solution designed for use with the IBM HS20 and HS40 BladeCenter products in Windows and Linux environments. The product is best suited to enterprise- and midrange-class SANs, according to Mike Smith, executive vice president for worldwide marketing at the Costa Mesa, Calif., company.

The Emulex LP1005DC, built on the Fibre Channel Thor controller, provides the same features and functions as Emulexs standard form-factor PC1 HBAs. Those features include an upgradeable firmware-based architecture, driver compatibility with previously installed Emulex HBAs and inclusion of the centralized HBA management suite HBAnyware.

Smith noted that the LP1005DC uses the same drivers and management tools as previous Emulex HBAs, allowing end users and developers to migrate to the new system architecture without having to change or rewrite driver utilities and other management tools.

The timing was right for introduction of this product because end-user demand for blade technology currently is strong and the market is growing quickly, Smith said. He added that the company foresees strong demand across the blade market for Emulex technology and that company executives are continuing to look for ways to tap into that demand.

Thats a good move, observed Rick Villars, vice president of storage systems at IDC, a Framingham, Mass., consultancy.

"Blades will be, if not the dominant architecture, one of the two or three most dominant server architectures out there," he said. "So anybody in the business of selling connectivity that doesnt support it is digging an awfully deep hole from a revenue/growth standpoint."

Moving beyond the SMB (small and midsize business) market space—something Emulex is doing with this product—is a good move for the company, noted Stephanie Balaouras, senior analyst for enterprise computing and networking at Yankee Group, of Boston.

"The traditional Fibre Channel HBA market is a mature market with established vendors, and all of the vendors in this market segment need to expand into new areas for continued growth," she said.

To do that, these vendors have worked to expand into the SMB segment, but vendors need to go further and focus on growth opportunities with medium and large enterprises, Balaouras said.

"The SMBs acquire technology to solve immediate tactical concerns and buy based on cost and simplicity, which has forced the HBA vendors to reduce prices significantly, but the only way to turn a profit in this type of market is with exceedingly high volume," she said.


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