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InfiniBand Port Counters Reset: Market Reconfigured

Cluster administrators know that cluster performance software and human troubleshooters monitor InfiniBand port counters for information about traffic on different ports and links.  Occasionally the port counters are reset when a network is reconfigured and a fresh view is needed. Similarly, market research vendors monitor manufacturer quarterly earnings announcements to measure the performance of the overall InfiniBand market as well as the switch, HCA and controller segments.

In 2009 the market research counters are being reset for every category of IT infrastructure as the global economy is reconfigured and a fresh view is needed. The Q1CY09 InfiniBand Market Share Report from IT Brand Pulse was just published and provides the latest view of revenue generated and ports shipped by the InfiniBand market. The report is a counter for the InfiniBand industry's first post-bailout quarter and represents a new baseline to measure against as the reconfigured market moves forward. According to the IT Brand Pulse report, manufacturers generated combined revenues of over $40M US and shipped over 180,000 ports in Q1CY09.

The reconfigured market still consists of Mellanox supplying the vast majority of merchant silicon and host channel adapters. But QLogic is now producing high quality QDR switch ASICs for their own switches and I expect that some time in 2009 the company will begin shipping QDR host channel adapters with their own silicon.  This is great news for the industry. Continued investment in ASIC development by two major chip vendors reflects an expectation of strong customer demand for InfiniBand technology in the future.

In the switch segment, the reconfigured InfiniBand market will move forward without Cisco.  However, the exclusive 2-horse race between the market leader Voltaire and Cisco has expanded into a 4-horse contest between Voltaire, QLogic, Mellanox and Sun Microsystems (soon to be Oracle and manufacturing switches for its blade servers).

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