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Intel server adapters first to support FCoE

Posted: 10 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fibre Channel over Ethernet? FCoE server adapters? multicore processor?

At the Storage Networking World, Intel Corp. has announced Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) support on its family of 10GbE server adapters. The company has developed an initiator that will be bundled with Intel 10GbE server adapters for PCIe to enable FCoE functionality. Intel also introduced the Intel 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter, a low-cost FCoE-capable copper adapter with an energy-efficient, low-profile design for rack installations in the data center.

Industry first
Intel's family of 10GbE server adapters is said to be the industry's first to support Fibre Channel over Ethernet. FCoE consolidates Fibre Channel SAN traffic and LAN traffic onto Ethernet, making it easier and more affordable to connect Intel Xeon processor-based servers to Fibre Channel SANs, while Intel 10GbE adapters provide the bandwidth and efficient processing needed to handle multiple traffic classes.

"Our customers want to simplify data center networking," said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. "One way we're meeting these needs is by delivering cost-effective 10GbE and FCoE solutions for our Intel Xeon processor-based servers. These technologies reduce clutter in the data center, reduce power and lower costs by eliminating the need for extra hardware equipment and cables."

New solutions
The growth of multicore processor and virtualized server deployments is driving the need for increased I/O bandwidth. However, a major hurdle to 10GbE adoption has been the high price per port. The Intel 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter is an SFP+ Direct Attach adapter that is priced at just one quarter the cost of today's dual-port 10GbE SR fiber adapters. This new adapter provides a cost-effective 10GbE solution for distances of up to 10 meters when attached to a 10GbE SFP+ switch port, such as those available on the new Cisco Nexus switching platforms.

Intel's family of 10GbE server adapters for PCIe, including the new SFP+ adapter, supports Enhanced Ethernet features, such as Priority Groups and Priority Flow Control. These features provide the lossless service needed for a unified fabric that combines LAN and SAN traffic over a single Ethernet connection.

"With support for Unified Fabric and FCoE, these new Intel products support Cisco's Data Center 3.0 vision," said Jayshree Ullal, senior VP of the data center, switching and services group at Cisco. "These standards will help to create a more scalable, agile network for the virtualized data center. Cisco looks forward to continuing our work with Intel to drive these and other transformational technologies."

The FCoE specification is being developed by the Fibre Channel standards body, INCITS T11 Technical Committee, and ratification is expected later this year. As member of the standards body, Intel is working with other companies to ensure a strong ecosystem of interoperable solutions.

The Intel 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter will be in volume production in May and will be priced at $799. The entire Intel 10GbE family will have FCoE support on Red Hat Enterprise Linux by July and on Windows later this year.

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