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Fibre Channel HBA
Nathaniel CooperJul 31, 2019 1:09:46 PM< 1 min read

What is the difference between an HBA and a NIC

HBA's and NIC's both connect your workstation to a switch or storage, so what is the difference?  The main difference is the type of storage/switch you are connecting to.

HBA stands for Host Bus Adapter and is used to connect to block level storage such as Fibre Channel, SATA or SCSI.  Most commonly this term is used when referring to Fibre Channel HBAs in systems like Apples Xsan.  These are the PCIe cards that go in your workstation to add fibre channel to a computer or server that doesn't already have it.

Click Here to learn about migrating away from Xsan.

Fibre Channel HBA example

Fibre Channel HBA

NIC stands for Network Interface Adapter and is used to connect ethernet storage to a switch or server.  Almost all computers have a built in NIC, commonly these are 1GbE ethernet NICs using the ultra-common RJ45 connection below.  Many users add additional NICs to add 10/25/100GbE connectivity or to add more 1GbE connections on a workstation.

Ethernet NIC with a RJ45 Connection 

Ethernet NIC RJ45


Nathaniel Cooper

As Chief Operating Officer of ProMAX Systems, Nathaniel Cooper, runs ProMAX Systems day to day operations. Cooper has been working with Storage, Backup and Media Management for video and creative professionals since 2001. Cooper has lead the design and deployment of some of the largest media systems in the world including a range of customers from NFL, MLB & NBA teams, US Military operations, and many of the worlds largest PR agencies and consumer brands. Cooper has spent the last 9 years as part of the ProMAX team and specializes in translating complex technical issues and options into easily understandable concepts.