Cisco and HP Target HPC

Arthur Cole

Here's a bit of news that should make top-tier users happy, especially those that are using high-powered server clustering: HP and Cisco are joining forces to link Cisco InfiniBand solutions to HP's high-performance computing (HPC) line.


The deal calls for HP to offer Cisco's DDR fabric systems with the Unified Cluster Portfolio by extending support to InfiniBand host driver software to the BladeSystem c-Class server.


A typical configuration will tie the InfiniBand drivers to the DDR-ready HP Mezzanine 4X host channel adapter in the BladeSystem, with 20 Gbps uplinks to the SFS 7000 InfiniBand chassis. Groups of blades can than be quickly clustered for work with distributed applications aimed at massive number crunching.


It also gives HP users another way to support Linux deployments, considering Cisco's InfiniBand drivers support the Linux-based Commercial and Open Fabrics IB fabrics.


HP and Cisco are no doubt aware that InfiniBand is rapidly becoming the networking means of choice for HPC environments. IDC, for one, predicts the market for InfiniBand adapters will jump from $62.3 million last year to $224.7 million in 2011, with switch port sales jumping from $94.9 million to $612.2 million in the same period.


But unlike a lot of HPC solutions, don't expect InfiniBand to trickle down to the lower echelons. Lower-cost Ethernet and Fibre Channel solutions are likely to dominate down below.

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