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Intel Developers Forum: Infiniband group takes to the road

Representatives for the Infiniband Trade Association (ITA) said the organisation will hit the road during the second quarter of 2002 with a series of "roadshows" targeted at preparing IT organisations for deploying Infiniband I/O technology as it begins to arrive.

News of the ITA's IT road show was announced at the Intel Developers Forum as a wide range of Infiniband vendors begin to deliver demonstrations of the switched I/O technology here at the Intel Developer's Forum (IDF).

Infiniband is a next-generation, switched fabric I/O technology that speeds data throughput between servers, storage, and other network devices. It will become available in devices as an I/O option later this year.

The ITA's IT roadshows are scheduled to tour through Boston, New York, Washington, and other major technology hubs, including Seattle and Dallas, according to the ITA. During the IT roadshows, chief information officer's and others involved with the procurement of new technologies will be treated to in-depth tutorials as to how to most affectivity roll out an Infiniband network.

Intel, which is a leading member of the ITA and makes HBAs (host bus adapters) and other Infiniband interconnect technology, believes enterprise companies will be attracted to Infiniband as an I/O technology when Infiniband-enabled products begin to arrive from server, storage, and switch vendors.

Much of the incentive to adopt Infiniband springs from the technology's ability to support multiple data protocols while delivering throughput that offers headroom far in excess of current I/O products, according to Allyson Klein, the marketing program manager at Intel's enterprise platforms group.

"Infiniband supports multiple data types over the same wire instead of having to use prioritized lines," said Klein, who listed four such data types: SCSI RDMA Protocol (SRP), direct access file system (DAF), sockets direct protocol (SDP), and remote network device interface specification (RNDIS).

Infiniband will also deliver a cost advantage to customers by way of increased throughput and compute performance, with current throughput speeds of 2.5Gbps, 10Gbps, and headroom within the Infiniband specification for speeds as fast as 30Gbps, said Klein.

Companies with existing investments in SCSI, Fibre Channel, or Ethernet-based networks will be able to add Infiniband without having to sacrifice their legacy I/O systems through the use of Infiniband-to-IP, -SCSI, or -Fibre bridges, said Klein.

"Infiniband isn't a work-and-replace architecture," said Klein. "It works alongside all other protocols."

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