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Sun Heats Up InfiniBand

Major vendors are lining up one by one behind InfiniBand, making for gains in high performance computing (HPC) and eventually, some hope, a mainstream interconnect technology.

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) today added InfiniBand startups Topspin Communications Inc., InfiniCon Systems Inc., and Voltaire Inc.

to its high performance and technical computing (HPTC) alliance program. Last week IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) said it would resell Topspin InfiniBand switches across its eServer and TotalStorage platforms ( see IBM Strikes InfiniBand Deal).

Sun’s support helps validate that there is a market for InfiniBand,” says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst at Yankee Group. “We continue to see traction by InfiniBand-based systems in the high-performance market. And there will be some opportunities in the commercial space in the next two years.”

Sun is the volume leader among HPTC vendors, according to IDC, and sees the alliance program as a chance to advance grid computing. It’s still questionable if system vendors will ever take InfiniBand seriously as an open interconnect technology along with Ethernet and Fibre Channel, but InfiniBand might be halfway there with IBM and Sun in its corner.

“We still have to hear from more server vendors,” Gruener says. “HP has to weigh in, and Dell
has to weigh in.”

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