Converged network adapter

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A converged network adapter (CNA), also called a converged network interface controller (C-NIC), is a computer input/output device that combines the functionality of a host bus adapter (HBA) with a network interface controller (NIC). In other words, it "converges" access to, respectively, a storage area network and a general-purpose computer network.

"Converged" network adapter diagram


Some products were marketed around 2005 with the term C-NIC which combined iSCSI storage functionality with Gigabit Ethernet. Later products used the marketing term converged network adapter (CNA), combining Fibre Channel over Ethernet with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, for example.


Brocade Communications Systems offers two types of CNAs, with PCI Express generation 2.0 interfaces. The only difference between the two models are the number of interfaces on the cards: one or two. The two port model will allow connection to two different switches to create a redundant configuration without having to use two PCI slots.[1]


In 2009 Broadcom entered the CNA market. Broadcom offers their CNAs under their own brand name but also sell the application-specific integrated circuits and other related components to others. Their intended customers are the larger builders of server systems such as Dell and HP. These vendors can then include the ten Gigabit CNA with their servers: as embedded interface on the motherboard (LOM or LAN on motherboard), via a mezzanine card in blade servers or as PCI extension-card.[2]


Emulex offers CNAs under the Emulex brand name as the OneConnect ten Gigabit series of dual port optical and copper adapters. They also OEM their adapters for Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp.[3]


QLogic offers CNAs via their QLogic 8200 & 8300 series Converged Network Adapters. They offer single and dual port PCI cards with copper or optical fibre interfaces.[4] QLogic CNAs are available under the QLogic brandname and as OEM cards. The QME CNA and drivers were supported by Citrix, NetApp, EMC and IBM.[5]


HP claims that their BL460c G7 was the first blade server that offers FCoE via a LOM (LAN on motherboard) instead of using a PCI slot or mezzanine card.[6]


Dell uses the QLogic 8100 series in their PowerEdge servers. For the M-series, blade-servers for the M1000e enclosure a specially made dual-port mezzanine card QME8142 is designed. For the normal tower- and rackservers Dell offers an OEM version of the standard QME 8152.[7]


Cisco Systems offered Fibre Channel over Ethernet in their Unified Computing System product line via Virtual Interface Cards (VICs).[8] These cards make it possible to create multiple virtual HBAs or NICs within each physical VIC.[9]


  1. ^ "Brocade 1010 and 1020 Converged Network Adapters (CNAs)". Brocade website:. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  2. ^ Frank Berry Blog on Network Computing: Broadcom unveils CNA, 29 January 2010, visited: 31 July 2011
  3. ^ Emulex web site:Emulex 10GbE FCoE Converged Network Adapters, visited March 5, 2012
  4. ^ QLogic website: QLogic launches 8100 CNA Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, visited 31 July 2011
  5. ^ EMC joins QLogix CNA club, November 2010, visited 31 July 2011
  6. ^ ITBrand Pulse HP embeds 10Gb CNA Archived 2011-11-10 at the Wayback Machine, January 2011, downloaded: 31 July 2011
  7. ^ Storage Strategies Now report (republished on Qlogic website): Dell chooses QLogic Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, Deni Connor, December 2009, visited: 31 July 2011
  8. ^ Cisco website [1], visited 30 October 2013
  9. ^ Timothy Prickett Morgan (June 13, 2011). "Cisco gooses switching, virtual I/O for blades: Servers not yet crossing Sandy Bridge". The Register. Retrieved March 27, 2017.