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Sun Circles Topspin

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced today that it has entered into a technology development and software licensing agreement with InfiniBand startup Topspin Communications Inc., paving the way for the launch of its InfiniBand servers next year (see Sun Picks Topspin's InfiniBand).

Topspin will provide Sun with Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet I/O cards that connect SANs and LANs to 10-Gbit/s InfiniBand-based servers. Under the agreement, Topspin will also help develop InfiniBand server software components for Sun's Solaris operating system.

"While some of our competitors are taking a 'wait-and-see' approach as InfiniBand evolves, Sun is developing InfiniBand technology today," says Neil Knox, executive VP of volume systems products at Sun.

The news puts to rest speculation that Sun might be skipping 4x (10-Gbit/s) InfiniBand in favor of focusing on its own development of 12x (30-Gbit/s) IB silicon (see Sun Sticks With InfiniBand).

Sun's relationship with Topspin -- which has been almost a year in the works -- is a positive sign for the InfiniBand market. While it's not clear how broadly InfiniBand will be adopted in the data center, analysts say that with Sun's support, the high-performance computing market has a solid supplier it can rely upon. Over time, they say, the technology may filter down into the broader market.

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