infoTECH Feature

June 29, 2010

HP Adopts QLogic's Fibre Channel over Ethernet ASIC Chip for FlexFabric Module

Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) (HP) has adopted the new Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) application-specific IC (ASIC) chip from Qlogic ( for its Virtual Connect FlexFabric 10Gb/24-port module used in HP's BladeSystem server. This was unveiled at last week's HP Technology Forum in Las Vegas, NV. According to EETimes (, in face of stiff competition from well established suppliers like Intel, Broadcom (News - Alert), and Marvell, this move by HP gives the new player the needed shot in the arm.
In a statement issued by QLogic, the HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric module is the only blade interconnect that combines network convergence with I/O virtualization and wire-once connection management. In essence, it converges Ethernet, Fibre Channel and iSCSI onto a common fabric, combined with the unique capability to allocate 10Gb network bandwidth across eight connections per each dual-port FlexFabric Adapter. According to the same statement, this innovation enables businesses to consolidate their network access equipment at the server edge by up to 95 percent, reducing infrastructure acquisition and operating costs while also improving management.
Code named Bullet, the new QLogic FCoE ASIC chip features industry-first flex port technology that enables ports to be dynamically allocated to support Fibre Channel, internet small computer system interface (iSCSI) or FCoE data instantaneously. Unlike other vendors, QLogic's adaptive convergence technology provides variable connectivity options and complete flexibility. With flex ports that can shift protocol support on-the-fly, this announcement signals another leap forward for HP and QLogic in intelligent switching technology and network convergence, according to QLogic's released statement.
'The most critical capability to have during an industry transition is flexibility and with its industry-first flex port technology, the Bullet ASIC provides just that,' according to Jesse Parker, vice president and general manager, Network Solutions (News - Alert) Group, QLogic. 'Coupled with IP from the NetXen acquisition, QLogic is now in the unique position of making FCoE ubiquitous across a multitude of form factors in a broad array of data center platforms.'
'Clients want to consolidate their network access equipment at the server edge to reduce network sprawl and management complexity,' says Paul Miller, HP's vice president, Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking, Solutions and Strategic Alliances.'
Featuring a scalable, non-blocking crossbar switch architecture, QLogic's Bullet is a completely standards-based FCoE ASIC that provides a multitude of connectivity options and management solutions with no lock-in features.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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