Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) Overview
What are Converged Network Adapters?
A converged network adapter (CNA) is a dual-function network appliance for consolidating IT setups. CNAs achieve this by connecting servers to an FC-based storage area network (SAN), and to an Ethernet-based local area networks (LAN). The hardware itself connects to the server through a PCIe interface. Essentially it spares IT managers the need for two separate adapters.
Benefits of Converged Network Adapters (CNA):
Converged network adapters supply the following advantages:
Contain all basic NIC features
Singularly provide Ethernet, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel (FC) connectivity
Lossless data integrity
Software-defined networking (SDN) programmable
Reduce needed power, fewer necessary cables
Reduce impact of overlay network
Overlay network hardware offload
Support DPDK with benefit for packet processing acceleration
Support high performance virtualization over NIC
Remote direct memory access (RDMA) for data acceleration
FCoE & iSCSI hardware offload
Converged network adapters present a single up-front cost. The cost for a new appliance ranges from $150 to $500. However used and refurbished adapters are available from some vendors and resellers.