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Suppliers Push Unified Fabrics Based on InfiniBand

A growing roster of suppliers aims to reduce data center complexity by converting protocols across data management and storage networks. And some are touting InfiniBand as a key element in the strategy to achieve a "unified fabric."

Voltaire, for instance, today unveiled a device called the SR4G High Performance Storage Router that links SANs and InfiniBand networks. The rackmount unit comes with four 1-, 2-, or 4-Gbit/s autosensing Fibre Channel interfaces. It converts these to run on two InfiniBand ports by adding iSCSI extensions for the RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) protocol. Storage traffic then runs to hosts on a 20-Gbit/s InfiniBand network based on Voltaire switches.

Voltaire says the SR4G will ship in January 2008 for a list price of $33,000. Some OEMs are testing it and it's in several user beta sites as well, Voltaire claims.

"We have been in the process of certifying the product with two large storage vendors," says Asaf Somekh, Voltaire's vice president of strategic alliances. No names, but the exec says he's confident that some of Voltaire's server OEMs, which include HP, IBM, and Sun, will deploy the ISR.

Voltaire claims that by replacing multiple HBAs in enterprise servers with a single InfiniBand HCA and the SR4G, IT pros can reduce hardware costs and streamline I/O across server/storage networks.

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