Today, we announced a milestone partnership with HP to provide our OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) technology as part of the HP integrated FlexFabric Adapter, which is embedded on their next-generation ProLiant G7 server blades. Many people would say, ”So Emulex got a LAN on Motherboard (LOM) design win.” However, HP is not calling it a LOM; they have dubbed it the HP integrated FlexFabric Adapter because it changes all of the old rules and capabilities that have traditionally been attributed to the LOM. True, integrated networking capabilities have traditionally been called the LOM market, but this is so much more than a LOM. Until today, LOMs have been a dumb, cheap, utilitarian part that connected servers to the network. What HP and Emulex have created changes networking on every level in the data center and will no doubt be dubbed the real beginning of ubiquity for network convergence. So, what is the next generation of networking on the server side? Let’s take look at what this means to the market and the data center.
- Ethernet Is Now Enhanced – Ethernet and the storage industry have been marching toward a set of standards that will converge classic IP and storage networking infrastructure. This is exactly what the HP integrated FlexFabric Adapter does in the new HP ProLiant G7 server blades.
- Converged 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) LOMs – Until HP’s integrated FlexFabric Adapter was introduced, traditional 1Gb LOM solutions were dumb, simplistic and lacked true storage capabilities for the enterprise. The new Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)-enabled HP Integrated FlexFabric Adapter, utilizing Emulex’s OneConnect UCNA technology, changes the game by adding fully virtualized connectivity and complete hardware protocol offload for IP, iSCSI and FCoE on a pair of 10GbE ports that support up to 900K IOPS and 40Gb/sec transfer rates.
- Intelligent 10GbE Virtual Adapters – Emulex’s OneConnect UCNA technology works with HP’s FlexFabric to create up to eight virtual Network Interface Cards (vNICs) across the dual 10GbE ports to lower costs of connectivity, reduce cabling complexity, save up to 66% on connectivity power and unify management under HP’s BladeSystem software.
- Consolidating with Converged Switching – HP’s FlexFabric architecture saves not only on adapters and cabling, it is creating a single wire-once networking model that reduces the number of blade switches and cables to reduce hardware cost, power usage and complexity in the data center.
- Centralized Provisioning with Convergence – HP’s BladeSystem software and Emulex’s enterprise driver technology enable IT managers to dynamically allocate bandwidth, IOPS, security, quality of service (QoS) and other key network services in a simple and automated manner that reduces deployment time from days to hours.
Less Is More… with HP’s Integrated FlexFabric Architecture
These pictures show a very simple example, but they reflect the heart of the story and the true value convergence on the LOM will bring to the data center. As the saying goes, less is more, and it is at the core of network convergence with HP’s FlexFabric. In the next illustration, we see a typical deployment of an HP blade before the integrated FlexFabric adapter. You can see that we have two LOM ports, four IP ports from a quad-port mezzanine NIC going into two Flex-10 switches and two Fibre Channel ports from a mezzanine card going into a Virtual Connect Fibre Channel switch. Obviously, the cost of the switches is amortized across all the blades in the chassis, and you still have to buy four switches and use the extra chassis real estate. This complexity and the cost of this deployment model is what HP and Emulex are solving for you with the next generation of FlexFabric solutions.
When it comes to bandwidth, it is like money in the bank–too much is never a bad thing, but like a good portfolio, it needs to be managed so it can be used in the right ways. This is what HP and Emulex are doing with the FlexFabric solution. They are providing big 10GbE pipes that can virtualized into IP, iSCSI and/or FCoE pipes to meet the specific needs of each application and virtual machine. This means IT managers can deploy their servers with the same policies they have used in the past, but leverage a new networking model where the HP integrated FlexFabric Adapter, embedded on the blade motherboard, can be virtualized to support traditional management, virtual machine migration, IP, NAS, iSCSI and now FCoE protocols, all on a single network. This provisioning and virtualization is done through HP’s BladeSystem software, which is key to managing this new deployment model.
As you can see in the next picture, they have eliminated the Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (HBA) and the quad-port NIC, and two of the four switches; this is what IT managers need to meet the demands of next-generation applications, achieve flexibility of deployment, deploy new cloud computing models, and to drive cost containment. This is also why Steve Duplessie says, “Why have two networks, when you only need one?”
The other hidden value in this next wave of consolidation capabilities is that with the removal of two switches, you free real estate in the blade chassis to deploy more servers in the same footprint, which improves the scalability and operational expense (OPEX) side of your data center. Not a bad thing, either.
The Next Generation Has Arrived
HP’s Converged Infrastructure model is connected with HP FlexFabric, and Emulex’s OneConnect technology and we’re proud to deliver a core enabling technology of their vision. The data center is entering the next generation of networking based on 10GbE and Enhanced Ethernet. HP’s Converged Infrastructure is leading the drive toward network convergence by introducing the HP integrated FlexFabric Adapter. By adding this technology on the blade motherboard, HP will drive ubiquity of both 10GbE and network convergence.
HP chose to partner with Emulex because we could deliver the industry’s first converged LOM that supported their vision of virtual I/O capabilities, provide the software integration required to make FlexFabric real, deliver a proven enterprise Fibre Channel stack to protect current infrastructure investments and provide full hardware offload for IP, iSCSI and FCoE on a single chip. This is the first time that classic IP networking and enterprise-class storage networking are being delivered as an integrated, converged LOM. The move to converged LOMs will change the fundamental networking model, lower capital costs and drastically reduce management overhead. We are thrilled to support HP’s Converged Infrastructure, and as partners, we are bringing networks together and delivering on the next-generation of networking.