Emulex this week introduced new Ethernet adapter cards which provide 10-Gbit Ethernet connectivity over twister pair cable which the company said results in significant savings compared to running optical cables.
The introduction of the company's OCe1102-NT network interface card and OCe1102-IT iSCSI adapter also marks the first time the company has brought 10-Gbit Ethernet adapters through the channel, said Shaun Walsh, vice president of corporate marketing for the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based storage vendor.
The 10-Gbit Ethernet market is a huge and growing business currently worth over $100 million per quarter thanks in large part to the introduction of Intel Nehalem processor-based servers, all of which came with 10-Gbit Ethernet connectivity, Walsh said.
Virtualization is also a big driver for both 10-Gbit Ethernet in general and for Emulex's OneConnect family of 10-Gbit Ethernet Universal Converged Network Adapter family of networking gear for running storage protocols such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) over LANs, he said.
The new adapters can cut networking costs significantly by using existing Cat6e twisted pair cable instead of optical fiber cables, Walsh said. Using optical fiber, a customer might expect to pay over $1,000 per 10-Gbit Ether port. "With our new 10GBASE-T adapters using existing twisted pair cable, the cost is about $500 per 10-Gbit port," he said.
By using twisted pair, customers can also use the new adapters for Gbit Ethernet networks if needed, Walsh said. "You can't do that with optical fiber-based cards unless you add a switch," he said.
The new adapters are also the first that 10-Gbit Ethernet adapters Emulex has made available to its channel partners including custom system builders thanks to the finalization of a couple of key standards, Walsh said.
Widespread adoption of 10-Gbit Ethernet has required the standardization of a couple of protocols including Virtual Ethernet Bridging (VEB), which is a way for virtual machines to connect to a host network, and Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator (VEPA) for use in virtual switching environments, he said.
"OEMs had their own solutions," he said. "Now they are both standards."
The OCe1102-NT network interface card lists for $882, while the OCe1102-IT iSCSI adapter lists for $1049. Both are currently available. A firmware upgrade which will allow customers to run FCoE protocols over the new adapters is slated to be release within the next six months, Walsh said.