What's up with InfiniBand?

You may wonder what servers have to do with storage - InfiniBand provides the answer. The server interconnect technology also functions as a high-speed connection to storage devices and other peripherals.

Last week, the influence of storage on InfiniBand became weaker as two companies - Brocade Communications and Vieo - stepped back from native InfiniBand in favor of IB gateway configurations.

Brocade had announced last Spring that it would put an InfiniBand blade to its 128-port Fibre Channel switch. Last week, the company acknowledged that it has pulled out of the InfiniBand market and would not add an InfiniBand blade to the Silkworm 12000. Instead it has opted to make the connection between servers and storage with another vendor's gateway product.

"We want to access storage by moving outside the server cluster in the form of a gateway," says Steve Beer, director of product marketing for Brocade. "It's what the market is dictating."

Brocade wasn't alone in this space; Vieo in the past several months has tried to reposition itself as the vendor of a Layer 2 systems management appliance that - oh, just by the way - uses InfiniBand internally to route packets. Vieo, to its credit, will continue to support the customers who use its InfiniBand management platform.

Also on the InfiniBand front, Paceline announced that it had sold InfiniBand routing products to Sandia National Laboratories for use in server clusters.

Dell, Sun and IBM have not yet announced further support for InfiniBand. Further, in another storage angle, Network Appliance is using InfiniBand to cluster the processors in its newest file servers, the FAS900.

The FAS900 uses a target channel adapter from JNI and Mellanox 1x silicon.

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