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Dell Joins InfiniBand

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) climbed aboard the InfiniBandwagon today, and now all four major server vendors have pledged their support for the interconnect technology.

Dell today said it would make InfiniBand switches and Host Connectivity Adapters (HCAs) from Topspin Communications Inc. available on its high-performance computer (HPC) clusters. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) also announced InfiniBand deals in the past five weeks.

On January 13, IBM announced a five-year agreement to resell Topspin InfiniBand switches across its eServer and TotalStorage platforms (see IBM Strikes InfiniBand Deal). One week later, Sun added Topspin and fellow startups InfiniCon Systems Inc. and Voltaire Inc. to its high performance and technical computing (HPTC) alliance program (see Sun Heats Up InfiniBand). HP then said last week that it would include TopSpin InfiniBand switches and HCAs with Integrity and HP 9000 servers running HP-UX (see HP Enhances Servers and Storage).

Dell will offer the InfiniBand connections on bundled 24- and 64-node HPC cluster configurations running Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) Linux later this quarter. The vendor will add Topspin switches to configurations certified to run Oracle Corp.'s (Nasdaq: ORCL) 10g database later in the year.

HPC and Oracle 10g have been driving forces behind InfiniBands resurrection after it was left for dead two years ago. Although it remains a long way from gaining widespread adoption in the data center, InfiniBand’s high bandwidth and low-latency characteristics make it a popular choice for high-performance computing. Oracle 10g, a high-performance transaction application, is the first commercial application written to take advantage of InfiniBand.

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