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Getting Off the InfiniBandwagon

1:00 AM -- Despite plenty of hype in recent months, the last few days have not been great for InfiniBand. The technology may be the fastest growing interconnect on the most recent Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, but reality is starting to bite. (See InfiniBand Take 2.)

Last week, for example, a survey by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) 's End User Council cited InfiniBand as a relatively immature technology. (See Users Blast Vendors in SNIA Survey, Mellanox Exceeds IPO Hopes, and Interop: Mixed Messages on InfiniBand.)

At an event in New York yesterday, one of the top technical minds at financial giant JP Morgan voiced his concerns about InfiniBand, which is deployed within the firm's grid infrastructure. "To me, the difficult thing is with programming InfiniBand -- working through bits and bytes, it's not pleasant," said John O'Hara, distinguished engineer at JP Morgan.

According to the exec, the skills needed to build applications on top of InfiniBand can prove to be a hassle for CIOs and IT managers. "Unless you want to go into the realms of academic programming using Message Passing Interface [MPI] and things from the power computing arena, you're really stuck. You have to write your own stuff or use IP emulation," he said.

Help may be on hand from an open source middleware standard called Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP). At the moment, AMQP is limited to Ethernet, although this will soon change, according to O'Hara. "There's active investigation starting on the next iteration of the protocol to have it work on InfiniBand," said the exec, adding that this would remove the cumbersome process of IP emulation.

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