InfiniBand: Hot or Not?

Poll respondents say YES. Weird or what?

October 3, 2001

2 Min Read
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The latest online survey conducted by Byte and Switch has turned up some surprising results on InfiniBands chances of success as a key technology for storage area networks.

Ever the skeptics, we’d have predicted that most respondents, like us, believe InfiniBand has about as much chance of success as a free energy converter. (In other words, not very much.) Not so, you say. Almost 60 percent of the 259 respondents to our poll believe InfiniBand will prove to be an important technology for SANs.

But it looks as though Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), one of the fathers of InfiniBand, needs to work on improving its message, as plenty of respondents (42 percent) still think InfiniBand will be the successor to the PCI bus. Intel has other ideas. It is currently working on a separate protocol -- 3GIO, codenamed Arapahoe -- for the next-generation PCI bus (see 'Wrap-A-Ho? Wazzat?').

Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents believe InfiniBand will find widespread use in server clusters, which is where Intel is currently positioning it. Just under a third of readers who took part in the poll believe it will replace Fibre Channel in storage networks -- hardly a vote of confidence for the FC community.

InfiniBand seems to pose less of a threat to Ethernet: Only 17 percent of respondents believe it will replace the networking standard within data centers. More readers (23 percent) think it won’t actually make it beyond marketing hype.Respondents vary on the timeframe for InfiniBand deployment. Exactly half do not expect to see InfiniBand products widely used until 2003, while 35 percent say 2004 will be the year it emerges significantly.

That’s a fairly long time for all the startups out there to stay afloat. Still, respondents indicate their chances are solid, so long as too many more newbies don't jump on the bandwagon.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said there are about the right number of startups in this field today; 38 percent expect a shakeout; and 14 percent said there aren’t enough. (This last group might take a look at how much funding has already flooded into this sector -- see Venture Capital Survey.)

P.S. Don't forget to check out our latest poll: Disaster Recovery: Is your company protected?

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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