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A Unified Data Center Fabric

Driven by the additional costs and ever-increasing difficulties of maintaining separate data and storage networks, many organizations are looking to merge, or converge, their dedicated Fibre Channel storage networks onto a commmon Ethernet network.

Converging the Data Center

Advanced infrastructure technologies

The adoption of virtualization technology in the data center has led to an initial wave of tangible benefits by reducing the amount of resources such as servers, power, and rack space that are required in a deployment. A second wave of benefits, including logical improvements in the responsiveness, flexibility, and agility of IT as a service-oriented operation, are also achievable. These improved IT capabilities are based upon the creation of a highly available, adaptive compute environment that scales to support elastic demands on IT resources. The convergence of the storage and data networking infrastructure complements the benefits of server virtualization and facilitates the evolution to a utility-based IT operation.

Benefits of Convergence

Reduced overhead and improved operational efficiency

Convergence lowers IT sprawl by greatly reducing the number of adapters, switch ports, and cables. It also results in lower power, space, and cooling requirements, translating into both lower capital (CAPEX) and operating (OPEX) expense burdens. Furthermore, standardizing on one underlying networking technology lowers management overhead and improves operational efficiency, as there is only one set of devices and tools to learn, operate, and support in the core infrastructure. Convergence can also offer investment protection, as properly selected new components will integrate with the existing LAN and SAN infrastructures.

Ethernet is the Fabric of Convergence

Data and storage networks managed on a single fabric

Ethernet’s ubiquitous deployment, faster speeds, and new lossless connectivity support combined with the development of Fibre Channel over Ethernet and the adoption of iSCSI make it ideal for the convergence of data and storage networks on a single fabric. Lossless Ethernet has been specifically designed and proven to meet the needs of storage applications in much the same way as existing storage networks do—by managing the flow of traffic onto the network to avoid congestion and the risk of packet loss for the storage traffic.

Driving Toward Service-Based, Cloud-Enabled Computing

Simplified configuration and management tasks

Network convergence and virtualization of the server, network, and storage infrastructures are driving the next-generation data center toward a service-based, cloud-enabled computing model. The first and most important step in creating a converged network is selecting the right converged network infrastructure.

QLogic Solution Features

Reduced IT sprawl with increased productivity and faster services

  • Lower IT sprawl by up to 60%
  • Lower CAPEX by up to 33%
  • Lower OPEX by up to 60%
  • Reduced power and cooling requirements by up to 30%
  • Reduced lost productivity by up to 80%
  • Faster service delivery

QLogic Converged Network Adapter Solutions

Designed for next-generation, virtualized data centers

QLogic was the first to introduce the 10Gb Ethernet-based Converged Network Adapter class of converged networking products, and maintains its leadership position in this segment. Our Converged Network Adapters support concurrent LAN (TCP/IP) and SAN (FCoE, iSCSI) traffic over a shared 10Gb Ethernet link, making them ideal for beginning the evolution to converged networking at the SAN edge. QLogic adapters deliver industry-leading LAN networking performance, full hardware offload for FCoE and iSCSI protocol processing, and an extensive set of features that enhance system virtualization. Additionally, these adapters leverage our existing, well proven Fibre Channel and iSCSI drivers, making them the most dependable and battle-hardened Converged Network Adapters on the market. QLogic Converged Network Adapters are designed for next-generation, virtualized data centers with powerful multi-processor, multi-core servers and are available in multiple form factors, including adapter cards supporting PCI v3.0, blade server mezzanine cards, and converged LAN on Motherboard (cLOM) chip sets.

QLogic Converged Switching Solutions

Based on revolutionary Flex Port technology

QLogic’s converged networking solution set also comprises a new category of converged switching products based on our revolutionary Flex Port technology. Flex Port enables any host, any storage, and any fabric connectivity within the data center, allowing it to be integrated with existing SAN and LAN infrastructures and facilitating a phased deployment. Our QLogic Universal Access Point UA5900, the flagship of our Flex Port-based converged switch offering, features both state-of-the-art Fibre Channel switching and full-function FCoE Top of Rack (ToR) services on a single, high-density network switching platform, which includes industry-leading port density and price per port value, and is based upon a proven ASIC design. This innovative solution furthers QLogic's adaptive convergence strategy by enabling Fabric Freedom—the ability to migrate at your own pace to a future-proof, converged infrastructure that also protects your existing infrastructure investment.

Converged to a Service-Oriented, Utility-based Foundation

Integrated server virtualization

Integrating server virtualization with QLogic solutions for converged networking provides the foundation for service-oriented, utility-based computing.

NPARs Seamless Migration from Multiple 1Gb Ethernet Adapters

In the traditional data center server implementation, one advantage of using multiple 1GbE adapters is that their I/O resources may be dedicated specifically to individual applications, such as VM mobility, hypervisor management, or storage traffic, along with all the various applications running in the VMs that are being serviced.

NPAR physical and bandwidth

When consolidation is done using traditional 10GbE adapters, you may lose the visibility required to dedicate resources to the individual applications because generic 10GbE adapters do not have the ability to carve out resources and dedicate them to specific applications.

The QLogic VMflex architecture includes NIC Partitioning (NPAR), which enables a seamless migration from multiple 1Gb Ethernet Adapters to a consolidated 10Gb Ethernet infrastructure by exporting a number of independent virtual interfaces, each of which can dedicate a share of the adapter hardware resources to a specific VM. NPAR allows customers to flexibly provision bandwidth across four partitions per port, while being able to simultaneously run multiple protocol functions (NIC, FCoE, and iSCSI). NPAR helps consolidation efforts by enabling administrators to proportion the total 10Gb bandwidth across each partition in as small as 100MB increments with the ability to reallocate it and other resources as needed. Couple this with granular QoS and you create an environment that is prepared for maximum bandwidth utilization and dynamic bandwidth provisioning—perfect for bursting traffic, such as the migration of VMs. This eliminates the cost of installing multiple, physical networking and storage adapters that are dedicated to specific server applications or other tasks.