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NetApp goes native with Fibre Channel over Ethernet

NetApp Inc. announced it will be using QLogic Corp.'s converged network adapter (CNA) in its storage arrays and virtualization appliances in order to offer customers a native Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) capability.

“With the CNA, inflow and outflow of data would increase to a single 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet high-speed data pipe,” said Steve Zivanic, a QLogic spokesman.

Today, users deploy an Ethernet network interface card (NIC) on the host or server side and a Fibre Channel host bus adapter on the storage array end. QLogic's 8152 card combines two adapters into one physical unit, but the adapters remain logically separate and can be managed individually or together through a single interface.

NetApp, which has been using QLogic's NICs in its network-attached storage arrays for more than a decade, will be rebranding QLogic's 8152 card for use in all of its storage systems.

NetApp is the second company to sign a reseller contract for FCoE convergence adapters from QLogic. In May, IBM began using QLogic's 8152 card in its rack and tower series servers.

“NetApp now has the world's first true end-to-end FCoE [storage-area network] solution, a significant milestone in storage,” Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said in a statement. “FCoE will play a more prominent role in purchasing discussions with CIOs and data center managers. Given the challenging economic climate and that FCoE offers significant savings, these solutions have the potential for rapid adoption in the data center.”

The 8100 series NIC offers full certification for Windows, Linux, AIX and HP-UX, and for virtualization platforms such as VMware ESX Server, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer, as well as for any hardware platform, from PowerPC to Nehalem.

QLogic 8100 series CNAs are optimized for both data and storage networking virtualization with 10Gbit/sec. Enhanced Ethernet performance, which reduces the chance of dropped packets.

According to market research firm Dell'Oro Group, 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet network adapter revenue is expected to increase, on average, by almost 50% through 2013, reaching nearly $800 million. “10Gbit/sec. Ethernet network adapter port shipments are expected to, on average, almost double annually, reaching over 4 million ports shipped during the same time frame,” said Seamus Crehan, vice president of Dell'Oro Group.

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