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Voltaire Plans InfiniBand Switch For IBM BladeCenter

Voltaire's 40-Gbps technology is used to run IBM's Roadrunner supercomputer.

Voltaire on Thursday said it plans to design a 40-Gbps InfiniBand switch module for IBM BladeCenter systems.

BladeCenter is the brand for IBM's blade server chassis and related technologies. Voltaire claims its custom switch will deliver 100% faster connectivity than current technology.

"The addition of Voltaire-designed, 40 Gb/s, QDR InfiniBand switching to BladeCenter will provide an ideal platform for clients with high-performance needs," Alex Yost, VP of IBM BladeCenter, said in a statement.

Voltaire technology was used in IBM's Roadrunner. The supercomputer was ranked the world's fastest computer in the biannual Top500 list released last November. The computer reached a speed of 1.105 petaflops per second. A petaflop is a quadrillion scientific calculations a second.

The upcoming switch, which IBM plans to offer by the end of June, is expected to better meet the performance requirements of virtualization, large-scale data warehouses, and ERP applications. In addition, the higher bandwidth and I/O throughput is expected to simplify large-scale, high-performance computing deployments.

The Voltaire-IBM combined product is aimed at organizations in financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, government, and education.

IBM last October started offering the switch specifications for BladeCenter server chassis on a royalty-free basis. By making the technology available, IBM hoped to encourage switch vendors to build products for the system.

Blade servers are the fastest-growing segment of the server market. However, despite IBM's efforts around BladeCenter, blade deployments are expected to be limited over the next few years by a lack of standards and other factors, according to Gartner. Among the disadvantages of blade servers are proprietary technology and a lack of interoperability standards that tend to lock users to a vendor.

By 2012, blade servers will represent 20% of the market, up from 10% in 2007, Gartner said.

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