Networking - Converged Adapter

Converged Adapter types

A converged adapter is also referred to as a converged network adapter (CNA) or a single network interface card (NIC). Within a network, the CNA serves the combined roles of a fiber channel host bus adapter and TCP/IP Ethernet network interface card.

The role of a converged adapter is to connect servers to FC-based SANs and Ethernet-based LANs, including workstations and other hardware units. The adapter connects to the server through the PCI-e interface. Therefore, the server will send fiber channel SAN and Ethernet-based LAN to the Ethernet port on the converged adapter through the Fiber Channel over Ethernet protocol for FC-based SAN data and Ethernet protocol for traffic and data on LAN.

At the CNA level, FCoE traffic is first converted into FC and then sent to the FC-based SAN. There's no conversion for Ethernet traffic, which is directly sent to a LAN. Where a CNA is absent, servers must have at the very least two adapters. The first is an FC HBA adapter that aids in connecting the server to SAN, while the second will have a TCP/IP Ethernet NIC that facilitates the connection to the LAN.

We have a wide range of converged network adapters that will come in handy in meeting the requirements of your computer network. The use of a CNA to make the connection between servers to both SAN and LAN helps to reduce costs since it will cut back on the number of adapter cards, PCI-e slots, cables, and switch ports used within the network. As a result, a converged adapter will greatly minimize the challenge of network maintenance and administration, since there will be only a single connection and a single cable to look after.

Other benefits of converged adapters and converged networks are:

  • Simplification of the typical storage and network topology
  • Access to basic network interface card features and performance virtualization over NIC.
  • All-in-one provision of Ethernet, iSCSI, and Fiber Channel (FC) connectivity by offloading FCoE and iSCSI hardware.
  • Guaranteed data integrity
  • Power saving because of fewer adapters and cables.
  • Minimal impact of the overlay network
  • Fewer switch ports - 1 Port, 2 Port, 4 Port
  • Lower cabling requirements
  • Centralized network management
  • Improved quality of service
  • Remote direct memory access to facilitate data acceleration
  • Support for software-defined networking (SDN) programming

Converged network adapter plays a strategic role within networks and many IT setups in that they help business owners and network admins consolidate their systems, harness new and emerging technologies, and ensure efficient IT operations. CNAs will also serve as a foundation for all-inclusive progress to more powerful and sophisticated computing networks and systems. With the increased sophistication in storage, handling, and evaluation of data, CNAs as well as other network admin tools are changing the network landscape and creating intelligent and capable networks.

Besides, the converged adapters can be used with specific hardware pieces that can be used to satisfy performance standards. A CNA can be used alongside 10 Gigabit and 40 Gigabit to support greater performance network transmission.