Microsoft cancels InfiniBand development

Microsoft, which had said it would support the faster I/O interconnect, InfiniBand, stepped away from the technology this week and halted plans to build InfiniBand capability into its upcoming .Net Server.

Instead, the company plans to focus more attention on Gigabit Ethernet, said a Microsoft spokesperson. The spokesperson added that the vendor had consulted its customers who were more interested in Ethernet in the current economic conditions.

The announcement comes on the heels of Intel's decision to stop InfiniBand development and HP's intentions to support InfiniBand as a technology that is bridged or routed to rather than native in servers and storage devices.

"Microsoft notified the InfiniBand Trade Association last Tuesday that it would be discontinuing its development of native InfiniBand support," said the spokesperson. "That decision was based on the current economic climate where customers are looking for more evolutionary technology approaches rather than revolutionary approaches such as InfiniBand."

Microsoft had intended to add InfiniBand support to .Net server, which is expected to ship at the end of this year.

"Gigabit Ethernet technologies, while not as performant today as InfiniBand, are now able to address the demands a higher range of server capabilities with no additional software or management expense," the spokesperson added. "There are a number of types of applications (databases, high performance computing) that effectively utilize the capabilities of InfiniBand but these applications work best in a completely optimized environment that's best provided by third party [companies]."

Microsoft will continue to work with software and hardware vendors to integrate Windows products into their InfiniBand implementations.

Dell, one company that plans to integrate InfiniBand into its brick-based servers as a server interconnect, could not be reached for comment. Dell was working with Microsoft on Fibre Channel and Ethernet-based data center hardware and software components.

Other companies such as Mellanox and JNI indicated that their InfiniBand plans would remain unaltered.

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