Even though it remains a high-end solution, grid technology is making gains in the enterprise because it looks like it can deliver the ultimate goal of many IT execs: complete silo breakdown and enterprise-wide resource distribution.
While grids have been slow to gather steam, a number of high-profile installations are showcasing the architecture's potential. And an increasing number of commercial solutions are finding their way to market.
Voltaire is one vendor that has staked a claim in the grid future. The latest addition to the company's line-up is the Grid Director ISR 2012, a director-class switching platform that provides 288 ports of 20 Gbps Infiniband. Its goal is to alleviate the I/O bottlenecks caused by the increased data load of multiple server, storage and networking devices that grids engender.
Some of the specs that Voltaire has released certainly are impressive: latency as low as 1.2 microseconds, BER of 1E-16 and optical cable lengths as long as 100 meters, a crucial tool for datacenters commanding more and more real estate. And with 20 Gbps service, application performance is improved without increased power consumption.
With technologies like 10 GbE and Fibre Channel still working their way down the enterprise food chain, it's unlikely that grids will make see a significant presence for quite a while. But now that vendor solutions are starting to trickle in, we could be seeing the start of a burgeoning market.