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Emulex LightPulse Virtual Adapter Technology
With the broadest enterprise deployment of Fibre Channel SAN connectivity solutions, Emulex sits at the nexus of the virtualization technology. Emulex LightPulse Virtual adapter technology contains key building blocks that enable customers to fully realize the benefits of server virtualization deployed in a SAN environment, and extend the value of fabric virtualization. Emulex’s LightPulse Virtual adapter technology is supported on Emulex's family of 4Gb/s and 8Gb/s Fibre Channel HBAs and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) converged network adapters (CNAs) incorporating support for two important industry-standards which enable the full benefits of a virtualized server and SAN infrastructure: N_Port ID Virtualization, and Virtual Fabric.
N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV)
Despite its benefits, server virtualization has its cost in fabric and storage connectivity. As multiple virtualized servers share the same Fibre Channel attachments (HBAs and CNAs), they lose individual fabric registration, and the use of services connected to this registration, including individual zoning, array LUN masking and mapping, and fabric quality of service.
N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) allows end users to effectively “virtualize” the Fibre Channel adapter functionality such that each virtual machine running on a server can share in a pool of adapters, yet have independent access to its own protected storage. This enables administrators to leverage standard SAN management tools and best practices, such as fabric zoning and LUN mapping/masking, and enables the full use of fabric-based quality-of-service and accounting capabilities. It also provides the most efficient utilization of the adapters in the server while ensuring the highest level of data protection available in the industry.
Virtual Fabric provides the ability to segment a SAN into many logical SANs, each with its own set of fabric services. This enables multiple SAN islands to be consolidated onto one larger physical SAN, while still maintaining the same logical topologies as prior to consolidation. This would allow SAN infrastructure to be more efficiently utilized and the costs to be spread over more applications or users. Conversely, a large physical SAN can be split up logically, into smaller SANs dedicated to particular applications, business units, etc., which could each be optimized for the performance, availability, and data protection needs of that application or business unit. Each virtual fabric maintains its own fabric services and tools and independent control over its configuration and management, making it easy to divide up management responsibilities of a very large physical SAN, thus enabling increased management scalability.