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Fibre Channel Still Alive And Well With 8-Gbit/s Switches And HBAs

Fibre Channel (FC) has been the storage-area network (SAN) connection technology of choice for years. Competition from the Ethernet-based iSCSI has made SAN market inroads over the past few years, and there’s no doubt that increased competition will continue. However, FC certainly isn’t dead.

The latest 8-Gbit/s products are showing up and eliciting lots of interest. With a huge installed base of FC everywhere, FC will continue to be used as improved faster versions become available. And, QLogic is keeping FC alive and well with its 8-Gbit/s switches and host bus adapters (HBAs).

The QLogic 2500 series of 8-Gbit/s FC to PCI Express (PCIe) Gen2 HBAs target next-generation virtualized data centers with powerful multiprocessor, multicore servers. These HBAs are optimized for virtualization, power, reliability, availability, serviceability, security, and management to transform server connectivity into a competitive advantage (see the figure).

These HBAs protect your investment by maintaining backward compatibility with previous FC network and PCIe bus speeds. Also, the QLogic Star Power Green Initiative-Dynamic Power Management and Cool HBA set them apart from other 8-Gbit/s HBAs. With the Dynamic Power Management, the QLogic 2500 can sense the type of PCIe bus that is present and consume only the amount of power necessary to run at full speed. With Cool HBA, QLogic products can operate without airflow, unlike most other products that require fans.

The QLogic SANbox 5800 8-Gbit/s FC switches are designed to provide the most cost-efficient way to scale a SAN. The 5800 series eliminates the cost and complexity of trunking interswitch links with QLogic stackable switches that are made possible by the industry’s first implementation of 20-Gbit/s FC. With stackable switch technology, you can scale a fabric with no wasted ports, fees for trunking, or disruption to the fabric with the 20-Gbit/s technology. QLogic says that the 5800 is the only 8-Gbit/s FC switch that can handle more than 8 Gbits/s of interswitch traffic without the cost and complexity of trunking.

These QLogic products have been shipping as part of the Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks Simple SAN Connection Portfolio since February. The StorageWorks Simple SAN Connection Portfolio consists of four HBAs and 8-Gbit/s SFP+ optics and cables. The Simple SAN Connection Kit costs $8199. The 2500 HBAs and 5800 switches are also available separately. Check with authorized QLogic distributors and resellers.

QLogic Corp.

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