Infiniband in '08

Arthur Cole

Infiniband proponents may be facing a tough future with the rise of 10 GbE networking, but for the moment at least, they're not showing any signs of slowing down.

 

With server clustering likely to be a hot market along with virtualization and consolidation, there seems to be a broad expectation that all types of high-band interconnectivity have a bright future.

 

In fact, with some networking vendors laying the groundwork for converged or integrated fabrics in the data center, there's no reason to believe that many enterprises won't soon be offering multiple types of connectivity to suit various workloads. Chelsio, for one, is drawing interest in plans to convert its adapter cards to ASICs, which would offer RDMA-based dual Infiniband/Fibre Channel capability for server motherboards.

 

iSCSI providers are also keen on staying in the Infiniband loop. FalconStor Software recently turned to Voltaire for 20G Infiniband service for a newly installed IPStor system at financial services firm Xasax Corp. By providing a unified server and storage backbone, the companies claim a fivefold increase in storage performance.

 

We could also start to see Infiniband over the long haul. Robert Kleinschmidt, managing director of PANDUIT Asia, says there is a growing call for services that connect isolated pockets of Infiniband into high-speed unified fabrics. With demand for ever-faster backup and recovery, Infiniband over the WAN might prove a winner.


 

Probably the biggest obstacle facing Infiniband is its reputation as a high-cost solution best suited to high data-load environments. But with costs coming down, and 10 GbE not exactly a poor man's Ferrari either, Infiniband will likely find adherents for any number of uses.



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