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InfiniBand Vendors Embrace 10-GigE

Recognizing that if InfiniBand is to make it as a data center technology it must play better with other protocols, Voltaire will offer a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet line card for its Grid Director switches. (See Voltaire Readies Switches.)

Voltaire isn't the only vendor that sees value in combining Ethernet and InfiniBand. Ethernet switch leader Cisco moved into InfiniBand last year when it acquired Topspin, and InfiniBand chip maker Mellanox is working on an architecture that integrates 10-Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand. (See Cisco Takes On Topspin and Cisco Joins 20-Gig InfiniBand Party.)

Last year, Myricom, a high-speed InfiniBand competitor, also embraced Ethernet. Myricom began shipping Myri-10G, a network that adds 10-Gbit/s Ethernet functionality and interoperability to the vendor's Myrinet gear. (See Myricom Sees Ethernet Light.)

InfiniBand proponents say it is faster, lower in latency, and less expensive than 10-Gigabit Ethernet. InfiniBand is considered the better fit for applications that need faster movement between CPUs or between compute and storage systems. That includes applications that handle high-speed transactional data.

"We're trying to move the debate from Ethernet or InfiniBand to a functional debate as far as what applications can best take advantage," Voltaire CTO Yaron Haviv says. "We realize there is a place for Ethernet as a LAN aggregation technology. It's ubiquitous and spans most enterprises as a standard. We also think there's room for InfiniBand in the data center. We're trying to make those two environments communicate as efficiently as possible."

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