Emulex Brings New 10-Gbit Ethernet Twisted Pair Adapters To Channel

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.

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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.