In a move that could make InfiniBand technology more widely available, Mellanox Technologies has made its ConnectX-2 I/O mezzanine adapter card available through Dell for the PowerEdge M1000e Dell Chassis and M-Series Blade Servers. The ConnectX-2 mezzanine cards can be used with both Dell's 10Gb Ethernet Pass Through II module or the Mellanox InfiniScale IV InfiniBand-based M3601Q blade switch. This means that M-Series servers can attach to either InfiniBand or 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks using the same card, which can automatically sense the appropriate speed. InfiniBand supports speeds of up to 40Gbps and offers lower latency than other communications protocols.
The announcement is a good move for both Dell and Mellanox, says Dan Olds, founder of Gabriel Consulting Group. "I/O in general is becoming a bottleneck for some organizations as their need to service increasing numbers of users or move larger datasets is straining their current network. For Dell, adding the Mellanox cards to its blade offerings gives its customers the ability to take advantage of high-speed networking technologies such as Infiniband and 10Gb Ethernet." The Mellanox cards are fast and are capable of automatically sensing their connectivity and configuring themselves for optimal performance, he says.
On the Mellanox side, the deal gives the company additional exposure to a large customer base, many of whom might not have previously been familiar with the Mellanox brand. "Mellanox made its reputation through manufacturing I/O devices for the scientific and technical computing markets and is less well known in commercial data centers," says Olds. The partnership with Dell will put the company in front of more enterprise buyers.
The NICs are aimed at high-performance computing applications such as climate modeling, atmospheric research, automobile and fluid dynamic engineering work, government labs, and high-end modeling and exploration. In addition, the cards are helpful for compute-intensive applications or for providing faster query to databases such as Oracle or IBM's DB2, as well as in financial services applications, where latency is detrimental.
The Dell 10Gb Ethernet Pass Through II module is available now for $3,499 for a single module, and $6,999 for two that offers an additional path for redundancy. Each chassis can support up to two modules. The ConnectX-2 I/O mezzanine adapter with the Virtual Protocol Interconnect technology that supports both 10Gb Ethernet and InfiniBand has been available for several months and is priced at $1,295.