As more and more vendors tout 10-Gbit/s alternatives to InfiniBand, stealth-mode startup Woven Systems has been quietly racking up funding and building its own high-speed gear to link servers and storage. (See NetEffect Nails New Funding and Future SANs Stir Debate.)
Woven recently closed the second of two $5-million tranches of funding, led by Goldman Sachs and Palomar Ventures, for the development of a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch aimed at enterprise server consolidation and storage networking. "What we're trying to do is combine the best features of InfinBand and Fibre Channel in an Ethernet fabric," explains Harry Quackenboss, Woven's CEO. "We're well underway with the development of the product."
Woven is not the only 10-Gbit/s specialist raking in the VC cash at the moment. Last week, NetEffect, a startup specializing in 10-Gbit/s Ethernet adapters based on iWarp -- a set of protocols designed to increase Ethernet's performance in high-performance computing (HPC) environments -- scored $25 million in Series B funding. (See NetEffect Nails New Funding.)
There's other iWarp activity, too. Chelsio, which recently received $12 million in funding, and Neterion, which has partnered with IBM, claim to be in preproduction as well, and Chelsio has tentatively put a timeframe of the first quarter 2007 for official release of its product. Broadcom, which purchased iWarp vendor Siliquent a year ago, is said to be readying a product for release by the end of 2006, but the vendor will not comment on the rumor. (See Broadcom Takes 10-Gig Shortcut, LSI Backs Chelsio, and IBM Selects Neterion.)
But thanks to its availability and speed, InfiniBand is seen as a good fit for short-range data center applications, within storage clusters, and between NAS devices and servers. (See Will Mellanox Make IPO Move?) The technology, however, has traditionally been synonymous with HPC, and Quackenboss feels that enterprises are looking for an alternative. "I think that InfiniBand has a pretty strong presence in HPC, but, beyond a few pilots, I don't see broad adoption in enterprises," he says.