At the VMworld 2014 conference today, Emulex gave IT organizations a preview of a new generation of network adapters that allow provisioning tools to have complete control—down to the I/O adapter level—when bare metal rack servers are provisioned.
Mike Jochimsen, director of product marketing and alliances at Emulex, says this new generation of network adapters is the first instance of a programmable network adapter that heralds the beginning of a network-as-a-service era. The Emulex OpenWorks Connector software is available for use on a new Emulex OneConnect OCec14000 series of Cloud Adapters that expose RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) that third-party provisioning tools can invoke. The first such tool to provide support for Emulex OpenWorks Connector software is Pan Manager from eGenera.
It may take a little while for this next generation of network adapters to show up in data centers since Emulex is still actively recruiting support from other providers of provisioning tools. But Jochimsen says that with stateless network adapters that don’t require agent software to be installed, it’s only a matter of time before network adapters that are much easier to manage become standard across the enterprise.
The fact is that in terms of intelligent infrastructure, advances in the networking space have not kept pace with the rise of the software-defined data center. Jochimsen says a new generation of network adapters that expose APIs is required to bring software-defined management technologies down to the network level.
With IT organizations operating at a level of unprecedented scale, it’s only a matter of time before every piece of infrastructure in the data center becomes programmable. That, of course, becomes a lot easier to achieve when the network adapter exposes an API through which provisioning tools can more easily gain access to the entire data environment.