Mellanox, Blade Products Aimed at Virtualized Data Centers

At the VMworld 2009 show, Mellanox rolled out ConnectX-2, the next generation of its networking solution, which offers IT administrators greater efficiency and performance in their data center and virtualized infrastructures. Blade Network Technologies announced that its VMready software can be used with HP's 1:10Gb Ethernet BL-c switch.

Mellanox Technologies and Blade Network Technologies are pushing the virtualization capabilities in their respective networking offerings.

At the first two days of the VMworld 2009 show in San Francisco, Mellanox unveiled new capabilities in its VirtualConnectX networking offering, which offers support for multiple networking, operating system and virtualization solutions.

On Sept. 1, Mellanox announced its ConnectX-2 VPI (Virtual Protocol Interconnect) adapter card, which offers InfiniBand and Ethernet connectivity and performance enhancements of applications in data center, HPC (high-performance computing) and embedded environments.

ConnectX is designed to bring a more consolidated networking environment to data centers, and ConnectX-2 VPI's unified I/O technology offers a one-wire solution for any networking, clustering, storage and management application.

The VPI adapter card includes a 40G-bps InfiniBand QSFP port and a 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ port. Users with both technologies in their data centers can save space and power costs while consolidating their networking infrastructure, according to Mellanox officials.

The VPI announcement came a day after the company rolled out its ConnectX-2 line of I/O adapter device products. The offering supports 40G-bps InfiniBand, 10GbE, and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) or FCoIB (Fibre Channel over InfiniBand).

"The goal is efficiency, consolidation and performance," John Monson, vice president of marketing at Mellanox, said in an interview.

ConnectX-2 consumes 30 percent less power than its predecessor, and its use of integrated NIC (network interface card) and PHY brings additional cost and power savings by reducing the amount of board real estate, officials said.

ConnectX-2 also brings a number of improvements aimed at virtualized environments, including enhanced security and performance through support of PCI-SIG SRIOV (PCI-SIG Single Root I/O Virtualization). The support and other virtualization technologies within ConnectX-2 let multiple operating systems running simultaneously in a single server share PCI Express devices. In addition, virtualization capabilities within ConnectX-2 free up CPU resources, which improves the performance of the virtual machines, and offer greater security through resource isolation and protection.

For its part, Blade Network announced Sept. 1 that its VMready networking software, which supports thousands of virtual switch ports, is available for use with Hewlett-Packard's 1:10Gb Ethernet BL-c switch.

Blade's software is part of the company's Cloud Ready Network Architecture, which helps IT administrators build and manage virtual infrastructures by enabling virtualization across the data center infrastructure-rather than on a single-server basis-for improved productivity, resource utilization and energy efficiency, officials said.