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University of Washington

In what could become one of the earliest real-world deployments of InfiniBand, the University of Washington is looking to use the technology as a high-speed fabric to stream multimedia data from its storage infrastructure.

But the slowdown in InfiniBand development has pushed back the university's timeline by a few months, and UW has been waiting for IB vendors to finish the 4x (10 Gbit/s) versions of their products before it can fully implement the technology.

Nate McQueen, systems architect in UW's Advanced Systems Technology Streaming Group, says InfiniBand's combination of low latency and high bandwidth makes it a perfect fit for the gigantic streaming media repository the school has developed, called DigitalWell.

"We're seeing if we can leverage some benefits of InfiniBand's throughput for pulling videos from storage with some of the Fibre Channel-to-InfiniBand bridge technologies," he says.

Currently, UW is using a Gigabit Ethernet switch to connect roughly 1.5 petabytes (that's 1,500 Tbytes!) of data, which is stored mostly in Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK) tape libraries (see the diagram below).

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