At last weeks Intel Developer Forum -- a venue packed with InfiniBand promoters -- some people werent too sure. Wrap-a-Ho? Whats that about then? asked one chip engineer cruising the show. Arapahoe, yeah, nice mountain range. No, really, its the new data center interconnect, right?" said another attendee.
Wrong actually, although its easy to see why someone might get that impression. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the company behind both technologies, has kept people guessing over the likely applications of InfiniBand and Arapahoe, referring to both of them as data center interconnects and "PCI successors" at one time or another.
It would be to easy to conclude that theyre competing technologies when, in fact, theyre complementary.
InfiniBand may have started out as a next-generation PCI bus project, but its now being positioned as a replacement for Ethernet in the data center, although Intel wont come right out and say this yet. (see InfiniBand Steals the Show). The InfiniBand Trade Association however, isn't so coy. It says the aim of InfiniBand is to connect servers and storage system together in the data center.