Intel Invests in Server Communication Technology

BOSTON (08/22/2000) - Intel Capital, a division of Intel Corp. Tuesday made an undisclosed investment in Banderacom, a developer of InfiniBand-based semiconductors as part of the company's first round of financing. The news comes on the same day that Intel announced its first three InfiniBand-based products.

A spokesperson from Banderacom declined to reveal the amount invested in the company by Intel, but added that the total investment Banderacom received in its first financing round was US$9 million.

Among the other investors in Banderacom's first round of financing were Austin Ventures, Jato Tech Ventures and Crossroads Systems. Earlier this year, Intel invested $14 million in Ancor Communications Inc., a switch supplier who also develops switches based on the InfiniBand architecture.

InfiniBand technology is a new channel-based, switched fabric I/O (input/output) specification. Supporters of the standard aim for it to become the new communication standard, replacing a multitude of bus technologies used to help hardware interconnect and communicate with networks, storage and clustering systems. Using a unified fabric for storage, networking and clustering systems, InfiniBand increases bandwidth, and ensures better interoperability and reliability when different hardware components communicate with each other.

More than 160 networking, server and storage manufacturers have joined together to develop InfiniBand architecture, said Eric Johnson, president of Banderacom, in a statement. Working with Intel and other customers gives Banderacom the opportunity to offer early-to-market products, he added.

Intel will build InfiniBand technology products aligned with Intel's architecture platforms, said Tom Macdonald, director of Intel's fabric components division, in a statement. He added that Banderacom's focus on InfiniBand-based devices that connect storage, LAN (local area network) and peripheral devices to servers will give Internet hardware vendors a range of options when building a hardware infrastructure based on InfiniBand technology.

Intel Tuesday also announced its first three InfiniBand products that the company expects to deliver to server makers next year -- an InfiniBand host channel adapter, an InfiniBand switch and an InfiniBand target channel adapter.

[See "IDF - Intel Reveals First Products For New I/O Spec," Aug. 8.]"Intel is pretty excited about the InfiniBand architecture and is investing a great deal to promote the technology," said Gordon Haff, research director for Intel architectures at market analysis company Aberdeen Group Inc., based in Boston, Massachusetts, in a phone interview Tuesday. He added that Intel was attracted to InfiniBand's advantage as a "server interconnect technology."

InfiniBand architecture has an I/O subsystem that is separate from the processors, making its advantages similar to that of SANS (storage area networks) or NAS (network assisted storage) systems, according to Haff. "As networks move towards the Internet environment, InfiniBand will ensure that the deployment of thousands of servers isn't tied to PCI (peripheral component interconnect) slots," he said.

Haff estimates InfiniBand will be seen on a wide scale over the next 12 to 18 months.

Among the corporations supporting the development of InfiniBand are Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. They, together with Intel and Banderacom, are all members of the InfiniBand Trade Association, an umbrella organization that is working to develop the InfiniBand specification.

Formerly known as formerly INH Semiconductor Inc., Banderacom, based in Austin, Texas can be reached at +1-512-302-0002, or via the Internet at The InfiniBand Trade Association is on the Web at

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More about Aberdeen GroupAncorAustin VenturesBanderacomCompaqCompaqCrossroads SystemsDell ComputerHewlett-Packard AustraliaIBM AustraliaInfiniBand Trade AssociationIntelIntel CapitalMicrosoftSun Microsystems

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