Emulex has upped the host bus adapter (HBA) ante by stuffing a lot of neat features into its 133MHz LightPulse LP9802 PCI-X Fibre Channel (FC)HBA. For example, there's end-to-end parity protection for data integrity, multiple protocol support (SCSI and IP), data buffering for up to 100 km of cabling supporting high bandwidth over long distances and full duplex 2Gb/s FC speed that's backward compatible with 1Gb/s SANs.
But here's the really cool stuff: In contrast to previous methods -- which require HBAs to be managed on a server-by-server basis -- Emulex's HBAnyware driver technology provides the ability to upgrade HBA firmware anywhere in a FC or iSCSI SAN from a single console. Additionally, Emulex's MultiPulse provides failover and automatic load balancing capabilities that intelligently manage multiple I/O streams.
We also like the fact that Emulex is forging agreements with other SAN vendors -- such as Brocade and TrueSAN, for example -- to further extend its HBAs' capabilities and make SAN management even easier.