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QLogic Positions Itself As Next InfiniBand Citadel

Today, with a certain amount of sangfroid, QLogic announced what can arguably be called a clean sweep via OEM relationships with HP, IBM, and SGI. The tier one systems vendors will build in the QLogic 7300 Series 40Gb/sec QDR InfiniBand host channel adapters and 12000 Series QDR switches and directors. Additionally, I have learned that QLogic has formed a collaborative relationship with Dell that will enable Dell users to deploy the 7300 adapter and 12000 switches as they build out their IB infrastructures.

I've spent time speaking with QLogic representatives, on my time and my nickel, and I understand full well what they have accomplished and that they plan to be an exceptionally strong presence in the InfiniBand connectivity space. Competitors such as Voltaire and Mellanox are correct to be concerned about QLogic gaining so much traction over a short period of time. Voltaire may have seen these relatively recent steps by QLogic as an augury and an inspiration to enter into the GigE switch space.

I recently spoke with Jesse Parker, vice president and general manager of the Network Solutions Group at Qlogic and discussed a number of items with him. We discussed the company's strategic steps in IB over the past three years. These steps have included the acquisition of PathScale and SilverStorm, bringing with them support for multiple cores on a die and unique ASIC capabilities. These are important steps for QLogic to have taken in order to support entering and competing in the IB space. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, owning your own intellectual property is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Also, I quizzed Parker about a development and test center that I'd heard was in the works.

Parker confirmed that QLogic has built the NetTrack development center. The center provides "extensive interoperability testing and support along with performance profiling and application tuning for the IB environment." The NetTrack center is being heavily leveraged by QLogic's ISV partners. Parker also commented that ISV and customer feedback is "highly positive" regarding the company's decision to offer six distinct models of IB switches, from an entry level 18 port version to a top-of-the-range 864 port model (competitors scale up to 324 ports). The modular and flexible approach to building an IB switching infrastructure is clearly working.

In my opinion, QLogic is making all the right moves to be an IB stronghold in this growing market. As we move through 2010, I will keep track the company's progress and keep you informed.  Also, I will be tracking Voltaire and Mellanox so we gain an accurate picture of the all the contenders and how they stack up in this growing market.