QLogic Enters Ethernet Market With 10-Gbit Adapters

QLogic, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., better known for its storage networking expertise, on Monday showed its willingness to enter the Ethernet networking market even as it moves to grab mindshare in the coming convergence of Ethernet and storage into a single network.

The company is currently shipping three dual-port 10-Gbit Ethernet adapters, including one with a direct-attach copper connector for in-rack connectivity, one with a short-range optical connector for intra-rack and in-data center connectivity, and one with a long-range optical connector for campus connectivity.

Also new from the company is a quad-port Gbit Ethernet adapter for enterprise and small and midsize business customers.

The new product line stems from QLogic's $21 million acquisition last month of NetXen, a developer of 10-Gbit Ethernet technology.

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The introduction of the new Ethernet adapters gives QLogic the widest range of networking technology in the market, said Scott Genereux, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.

That includes Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), InfiniBand, iSCSI, and 10-Gbit Ethernet, Genereux said. As a result, QLogic can now provide pretty much any networking technology customers require, he said.

"When people think QLogic, they think [Fibre Channel] host bus adapters," he said. "But we sell switches, we sell InfiniBand, we sell Ethernet. We want people, when they think networking, they think about QLogic."

The new 3100 series 10-Gbit Ethernet adapters are available in North America through such distributors as Tech Data, Bell Micro, Arrow Electronics, Info-X, and Promark.

For QLogic, the move into Ethernet networking is a logical extension of its development of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology.

FCoE allows Fibre Channel SANs and devices to connect to each other over Ethernet-based networks and share data without modifying the existing storage infrastructure. This allows the building of wide-area networks using Ethernet, which is more common and less expensive for long-distance networking than Fibre Channel.

With FCoE, native Fibre Channel frames are encapsulated into Ethernet frames for sending over a new type of 10-Gbps Ethernet network, called Enhanced Ethernet, which was designed to ensure that no data frames are lost during transmission.

With FCoE, servers will use converged network adapters, or CNAs, in place of Fibre Channel host-bus adapters. The CNAs send both Fibre Channel and Ethernet signals to the switch, which then sends the Fibre Channel signals to the Fibre Channel storage devices or SANs.

QLogic has already started producing converged network adapters (CNAs) for FCoE using a single-chip ASIC which it said costs significantly less than the first-generation multi-chip FCoE design.