This adapter hopes to address three key I/O issues:
1.Need for more than two ports per server, with 6-8 recommended for virtualization
2.Need for more than 1Gb bandwidth, but can't support full 10Gb today
3.Need to prepare for network convergence in the future
"1, 2, 3, 4"
I recently attended an IBM/Emulex partner event and Emulex presented a unique way to understand the value of the Emulex Virtual Fabric Adapter via the term, "1, 2, 3, 4" Let me explain:
"1" – Emulex uses a single chip architecture for these adapters. (As a non-I/O guy, I'm not sure of why this matters – I welcome your comments.)
"2" – Supports two platforms: rack and blade (Easy enough to understand, but this also emphasizes that a majority of the new IBM System x servers announced this week will have the Virtual Fabric Adapter "standard")
"3" – Emulex will have three product models for IBM (one for blade servers, one for the rack servers and one intergrated into the new eX5 servers)
"4" – There are four modes of operation:
- Legacy 1Gb Ethernet
- 10Gb Ethernet
- Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)…via software entitlement ($)
- iSCSI Hardware Acceleration…via software entitlement ($)
This last part is the key to the reason I think this product could be of substantial value. The adapter enables a user to begin with traditional Ethernet, then grow into 10Gb, FCoE or iSCSI without any physical change – all they need to do is buy a license (for the FCoE or iSCSI).