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World's Fastest Computers Go for Gigabit Ethernet

Despite recent hype about the growing popularity of InfiniBand, the interconnect is struggling to break Gigabit Ethernets dominance of the world’s fastest computers.

InfiniBand accounts for just 120 systems on the latest biannual list of the Top 500 supercomputers released today, compared to 121 in November 2007.

This time last year, InfiniBand appeared to be launching an assault on the high-performance computing (HPC) space, accounting for 127 of the world’s fastest systems, more than treble the number listed in June 2006.

In contrast, Gigabit Ethernet accounts for 285 of the sites on the current Top 500 list, up from 272 six months ago and 207 this time last year.

“It’s pretty clear that InfiniBand is not going to break Gigabit Ethernet’s dominance,” says Bryan Banister, storage manager at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), which has one of the largest SANs in academia. “Ethernet is really still there, it’s low latency now, and there is the emergence of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).”

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