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Report Hedges High-Speed Bets

Alternative high-speed links can and will displace Fibre Channel in the near future, according to the latest Byte and Switch Insider, this sites paid subscription research service.

The report, “High-Speed Interconnects: Race to the Data Center,” says exploding data growth could force data center managers to upgrade their networks with Fibre Channel alternatives as early as next year.

While Fibre Channel vendors argue over whether to move to 8- or 10-Gbit/s from today's FC high of 4-Gbit/s, InfiniBand is already at 10-Gbit/s and moving quickly to 20-Gbit/s via Double Data Rate (DDR). Ethernet as a storage connection is emerging at 10 Gbit/s.

The surprise here is InfiniBand. Left for dead by storage networkers a couple of years ago, the connectivity option has found a niche for high-performance transaction processing (see InfiniBand of Brothers). It's favored as an internal linkage by suppliers of rackmount and blade servers, including Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ).

InfiniBand also found a new market in April 2005, when NAS vendor Isilon Systems started offering switches from Topspin (now ) and Mellanox Technologies Ltd. as a back-end connection between nodes for its clustered systems.

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