Hewlett-Packard blade customers have long had a range of options when it comes to switching technology and network connectivity, aside from the company's own ProCurve line.
Now, many of those third-party providers are branching into 10 GbE and other next-gen fabrics.
Blade Network Technologies made a big splash this week with a new switch module designed to help migrate from 1 GbE to 10 Gbe. The 1:10Gb Ethernet BL-c switch is capable of delivering IPv6 service to up to 16 ProLiant and Integrity servers. It helps unify LAN and Ethernet-based SAN fabrics by providing 1G upstream LAN connections and 10G service to an iSCSI SAN or IP NAS. With Layer 2/Layer 3 capability, the switch also provides interoperability with Cisco networks.
Blade Network Technologies is actually a spinoff of Nortel Networks and has been able to gather about 44 percent of the blade server switch market in the past 18 months, compared with only 26 percent for Cisco. Expect to see an all 10 GbE switch for HP blades relatively soon, to match the device already available for IBM blades.
Still more action is coming from Emulex, which recently won the design for a new HBA for the Integrity based on the company's 4 Gbps PCI Express I/O controller. The 3532 IOC will allow HP-UX 11i users to tap into scalable SAN environments using integrated memory modules and a range of data protection tools, such as cyclic redundancy checks and error-correcting code.
And while we've mentioned the new Brocade HBAs in the recent past, it's worth noting that the new 2110 iSCSI Initiator will be available in 4 Gbps Fibre Channel form for HP by the end of the month, with 8 Gbps FC and 10 Gbps Ethernet versions due next year.
Now that 10 GbE has passed the introductory phase, it will no doubt start to drop in price relatively quickly, especially if there is a gaggle of vendors vying to dominate the market as it upgrades from 1 GbE.