InfiniBand Rallies

The message from the storage front is: Get your InfiniBand story ready

November 14, 2007

2 Min Read
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InfiniBand is featured in news from two IT events this week. Announcements issuing from both the Supercomputing 07 (SC07) and Oracle OpenWorld events in Reno, Nev., and San Francisco, respectively, herald InfiniBand as not just a neat high-performance computing (HPC) solution for lab work, but as a key element of high-end enterprise data centers, including networks for Oracle and other enterprise apps.

At outdoor outfitter Cabelas, for instance, InfiniBand has replaced Ethernet as the data center fabric of choice, with dramatic results. "We determined that we needed a solution that could accommodate 30,000 transactions per minute going forward, and the InfiniBand solution we've deployed delivers 70,000 transactions per minute in our in-house tests, at half the cost of other technologies," said Luc Suryo, senior UNIX engineer at Cabelas, in a prepared statement.

Suryo includes 10-Gbit/s Ethernet in that assertion. He says the group at Cabelas tested 10-Gbit/s Ethernet products and found them not only costlier than InfiniBand at present, but also not quite up to the InfiniBand performance.

"Ten-gig would have cost us six times more than we spent on InfiniBand," Suryo told Byte and Switch today.

Suryo and his team aren't alone, apparently. InfiniBand suppliers, perceiving a lull before widespread adoption of 10-Gbit/s and other Ethernet-based networks, are rushing to fill high-end requirements with InfiniBand wares that are relatively more mature."There is a lot of activity in the industry right now around FCoE and converged Ethernet fabrics, but these solutions are still a few years away from being production-ready," said Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group in a prepared statement from Voltaire during that vendor's announcement of its SR4G High Performance Storage Router earlier this month.

Voltaire, along with Cisco and QLogic, touts InfiniBand not only as a faster way to link storage with clustered hosts, but as a unified fabric to interconnect Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs, NAS based on Ethernet, and WAN links to disaster recovery sites.

There isn't really anything new in these assertions for InfiniBand. The crowd of supporting suppliers and their customers has been beating the data center fabric drum for years. What is new is the implementation of switches that put some reality into the vision.

And while the InfiniBand rally is still a high-end, enterprise concern, it just may start trickling down a bit. Watch this space.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

  • QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC)

  • Taneja Group

  • Voltaire Inc.

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