iVivity Unveils 10-Gig HBA

Startup touts the ability to run third-party applications on its new adapter

April 1, 2006

3 Min Read
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On the eve of Storage Networking World, storage vendors have begun their familiar jostling for position, this time in the burgeoning 10-Gbit/s market.

Startup iVivity today stepped up to the plate with a new 10-Gbit/s HBA, touting its ability to run third-party applications in an attempt to lure OEM partners. (See IVivity Rolls 10-GigE HBA.)

A number of vendors, including Neterion and Chelsio, are already offering 10-Gbit/s HBAs, but Arun Taneja, president of analyst firm the Taneja Group, says that the ability to run multiple applications on the iDiSX 2000 adapter is something completely new. (See Chelsio Ships Copper 10-Gig NIC, 10-Gig IP SANs Hit Bleeding Edge, and Neterion Channels 10GigE .) "The current crop of HBAs are really designed with a single purpose, in the main: to provide a Fibre Channel or iSCSI interface to the outside world," he explains. "You can't run third-party applications."

Taneja says users could tap the new iDiSX 2000 HBA to run key storage applications such as replication, snapshots, mirroring, and even virtualization, freeing up valuable space on storage servers elsewhere.

Zulfiqar Qazilbash, iVivity's chief strategy officer, tells Byte and Switch that the HBA's key technology is the startup's own iDiSX chip, which contains an embedded Linux kernel. "It's a storage network processor and it can be used for a variety of applications," he says.Currently the HBA supports the iSCSI, TCPIP, and UDP protocols, as well as PCI-X, although Qazilbash says that PCI-E and Fibre Channel support are slated for later this year and early 2007, respectively. Users will get their first peek at the new HBA next week at SNW, where iVivity will run a CDP application on the adapter.

The vendor further claims it bolsters security by having the software agents on the HBA, rather than the server or the array. And Taneja notes that financial services companies prohibit third-party apps on critical servers precisely because of the perceived vulnerability. "Something like this would allow the [OEM] supplier to have their cake and eat it too," he says. "They are satisfying the customer's paranoia and supplying the application that the customer needs to run."

But the big challenge for iVivity will be getting customers for the iDiSX 2000. So far, according to Qazilbash, the firm, has clinched two OEM deals, one of which is with an "emerging storage vendor," the other with a video server firm.

Rival Neterion, however, has been shipping its own X Frame II HBA for over a year, and names Cray, HP, IBM, and SGI as partners that use the adapter in their own server infrastructures. (See Neterion Lines Up Partners, Neterion, IBM Ink Deal , and S2io Becomes Neterion.) Tracy Crowe, Neterion's director of market development, channels, and alliances, was tight-lipped on whether the vendor has any storage OEMs, but told Byte and Switch that the firm will provide an update on its storage partner strategy at SNW next week.

Like iVivity, Neterion also offers support for iSCSI, TCPIP, and UDP, although the startup is unlikely to emulate its rival and offer Fibre Channel support. "We're not a Fibre Channel company. We're not going down that road," says Crowe. "Our focus is Ethernet and technologies to better the Ethernet experience."The iDiSX 2000 is available now, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $2,800, depending on the amount of hardware and software customization needed.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Chelsio Communications Inc.

  • Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • iVivity Inc.

  • Neterion Inc.

  • SGI

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