hba adapter

What is an HBA Adapter?

HBA, short for host bus adapter, may be a circuit card or computer circuit adapter, that allows input/output (I/O) processing and provides a physical affiliation between the server or host I/O bus and the storage or alternative networking devices. An exceedingly storage system sort of a SAN (Storage space Network) or DAS (Direct-Attached Storage) network. By mistreating an HBA card, the host micro chip of tasks of storing knowledge and retrieving data is greatly relieved. Though the HBA card has been widely applied to all forms of interconnections, it’s most typically used for Fiber Channel (FC), iSCSI (Internet tiny automatic data processing system Interface), and SAS (Serial hooked up SCSI) protocols enabled connections. As per the protocol supported, there are different kinds of HBA card, resembling FC HBA card, iSCSI HBA card, and SAS HBA card.

HBA vs. NIC vs. CNA: What Are Their Differences?

HBA, NIC, and CNA are 3 styles of network adapters unremarkably utilized in laptop or storage networks. All of them are wont to connect a number system to storage and/or network devices. However, what variations specifically do they have? During this blog, a lot of info regarding HBA vs NIC vs CNA cards are going to be provided.

What is a Network Interface Card?

Network interface card, short for NIC, is additionally named as computer network (Local space Network) card or network adapter. It’s an enlargement circuit card to possess devices like computers and network servers to be connected over a network. To understand a lot about NIC, you’ll be able to browse the post: What’s a Network Interface Card – NIC Definition, perform & Types.

What is a Converged Network Adapter?

Converged network adapter, short for CNA, is also called a converged network interface controller (C-NIC). As its name shows, this hardware part will converge the functions of HBA with NIC together. One the one hand, CNA cards, with PCIe interfaces, gives property and knowledge transfer between storage devices or servers and FC based mostly SANs; one the opposite side, it directly delivers LAN traffic from an equivalent network device to the LANs.

HBA vs. NIC vs. CNA: Comparison and distinction

As 3 styles of circuit boards, HBA, NIC, and CNA cards are all ready to provide processing and physical affiliation for devices. However, these cards, with their distinctive options and dealing mode, are used in totally different applications.

  • HBA card:

As we have a tendency to mention above, differing kinds of HBA cards are wont to support different protocols. For a Fibre Channel HBA adapter, it’s generally inserted in an HBA server and connected to a Fibre Channel switch via a fiber optic cable. Mostly, the FC HBA card is most well-liked in an FC SAN network. whereas iSCSI HBA card, it comes with an RJ45 port or a fiber port, which may be connected with the twisted combine cable or optical cable. Causation of small computer system interface commands to storage devices on remote servers over a TCP/IP network. The iSCSI HBA card is commonly adopted within the iSCSI-based information science SAN network. 

  • NIC card:

Supported the net Protocol (IP), the network interface card is found in 2 types: with optical ports or electrical ports. HBA card vs. NIC card, the latter usually connects to the LAN switch through fiber optic cable or twisted pair. Nowadays, most ancient NIC cards in the market are iSCSI and NAS protocols enabled, which may be applied in information science SAN and NAS networks.

  • CNA card:

HBA vs NIC vs CNA, the converged network adapter can mix the practicality of each of the opposite 2 adapters into one and support FC and LAN protocols on one interface port. Conventionally, LAN is employed for TCP/IP networks. Fiber Channel for storage networks. Then the converged switch converts FC traffic to the FC SAN and LAN traffic to the LAN.

However, because the diagram shows, if a network is not CNAs, servers have to have a minimum of 2 adapters an FC HBA to attach the server to. Thus in knowledge center SANs, the CNA cards are most well-liked to be applied, which may reduce prices by requiring fewer adapter cards, cables, switch ports. Especially, in an exceedingly high-density network, CNAs facilitate to scale back the complexness of administration as a result of there’s just one affiliation and one cable to manage.

Types of Host Bus Adapter:

There are different types of host bus adapters:

Fibre Channel or FC Host Bus Adapters

This sort of HBA permits affiliation and knowledge transfer between devices in an exceedingly Fiber Channel-based SAN (storage space network). Associate FC HBA connects a number server to a switch or storage device. It may connect multiple storage systems and even multiple servers once established as each application hosts and storage systems. It’ll function as the connection purpose for your SAN.

A number of the identifying options of FC HBAs embrace nice performance, reliability, security, power capabilities, and more.


This sort of host bus adapter was a well-liked knowledge transfer technology till SAS replaced it. A small computer system interface helps connect and data transfer between a number or a storage device. Many parallel SCSI devices are connected to a shared bus.

The SCSI setup includes a maximum speed of 320 megabytes per second. This speed was considered quick back within the day, however there are a lot of quicker setups nowadays.

  • SAS and SATA Host Bus Adapter

As mentioned previously, this sort of HBA replaced small computer system interface host bus adapters. SAS and SATA are created to handle the constraints of ancient SCSI. They even have higher knowledge transfer rates which makes them quicker and more economical than parallel SCSI.

Different Types of Network Adapters:

Apart from host bus adapters, there are alternative network adapters that may additionally connect your host system to storage and/or network devices such as:

  • Network Interface Card: This adapter uses LAN to attach host and network devices.
  • Web small computer system interface Adapter: This adapter provides SAN property over through Transmission management Protocol/Internet Protocol and LAN network infrastructure.
  • Converged Network Adapter: This adapter combines the functions of an FC HBA and a TCP/IP LAN NIC to support each native and FC SAN traffic.
  • Host Channel Adapter: This sort of adapter permits low-latency digital communication between servers and storage over lossless networks. It’s utilized in superior computing, knowledge analytics, cloud data centers, large-scale web, and so on
  • Remote Direct operation over Converged LAN NIC: This sort of adapter helps data transfer directly between the applying memory of various servers to accelerate performance on lossless LAN networks while not the employment of a CPU. It’s used for high-volume transactional applications and storage and content delivery networks.

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