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Intel Developers Forum: Intel launches Infiniband agents

Intel has announced the availability of Device Test Agents (DTAs) for Infiniband-enabled computing systems.

The DTA implementation specification allows companies designing Infiniband-ready systems to test their products in real-world environments, according to Jim Papas, the director of initiative marketing for Intel's enterprise platforms group.

Infiniband is a next-generation, switched fabric I/O technology that accelerates data throughput between network devices.

Using Infiniband DTAs, network system vendors can track the performance of their Infiniband-ready server or storage device as it relates to other Infiniband-ready devices. Using the DTA implementation specification, every company that plans to build Infiniband-ready computing systems could implement their own hardware-specific DTAs for testing alongside mixed-vendor Infiniband devices, Papas said.

Availability of Infiniband DTAs sets in motion the next phase of Infiniband's maturity as an enterprise I/O solution, Papas added.

"Until now, the Infiniband community has been testing mostly at the physical and electrical layer. But that's at the hardware layer only, not at the application layer where the performance of a network really begins to matter to IT," Papas said.

Vendors will begin to send Infiniband pilot systems into market later this year, with full availability of Infiniband-enabled devices slated for early 2003, Papas continued.

Many Infiniband vendors are demonstrating data-intensive applications running across Infiniband networks at IDF.

Business intelligence software company SAS is demonstrating its Enterprise Miner data mining software running across an Infiniband connected network.

IBM will also use IDF to demonstrate its DB2 database environment running on top of an Infiniband network.

The performance of the DB2 network increases equally with the amount of additional processing power added to the DB2 network, Papas claimed. Non-Infiniband networks generally scale to only about 70% of the actual added processing power due to throughput limitations, Papas said.

DTAs are a product of the Infiniband trade association's compliance interoperability working group, of which Intel is a leading member.

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