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InfiniBand Gets Second Looks

PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World -- It seems InfiniBand is being re-evaluated by the storage market.

The proposed sale of Topspin Communications Inc. to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has thrown the interconnect technology into the spotlight after several years on the sidelines (see Cisco Takes On Topspin).

But Cisco's not the only vendor that's taken a fresh view of InfiniBand's possibilities. Topspin announced a deal earlier this month with Isilon Systems to use Topspin servers, based on ASICs from Mellanox Technologies Ltd., to link nodes in its clustered NAS gear (see Isilon Embraces InfiniBand).

Both Isilon and Mellanox say the sale of Topspin to Cisco not only won't affect their partnership with Topspin, it boosts their approach. "We view this acquisition as an important validation of a key element of the next-generation data center," says Sujal Patel, Isilon's CTO.

Another NAS vendor, Exanet Inc., plans to use InfiniBand in place of Ethernet in an upgrade of its gear. Clive Surfleet, chief strategy officer at Exanet, says the startup already has a patent on using InfiniBand with low-port-count switch ASICs to achieve faster links between clustered file system nodes. Exanet plans to add this, along with 64-bit processors, to its NAS gear by this fall.

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