IBM has signed a five-year agreement to resell an InfiniBand switch as a high-speed I/O interconnect for its servers and storage.
IBM said it will integrate Topspin Communications' switch for use as a high-performance computing and database-clustering technology using its eServer pSeries, zSeries, iSeries and xSeries systems and TotalStorage product line.
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Topspin sells a line of 4X InfiniBand switches with 10Gbit/sec. throughput and has plans for a 12X InfiniBand line with 30Gbit/sec. throughput.
The hype around InfiniBand died more than a year ago, and many mainstream suppliers - including Intel, Microsoft and IBM - dropped plans to develop their own InfiniBand products, preferring to allow start-ups invest in the then-unproven technology. However, each company also said it would back the technology for its products.
Tony Prigmore, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, predicted that InfiniBand will make headway as a core infrastructure technology by the end of the year.
"It definitely will start as a server-based technology, which will have low latency advantages for applications. After that, you'll hear people say, 'If I have it in the server infrastructure, I need to have it in my network fabric, and if I have it on one side of the fabric, I'll need to have it on this side'."
Brendan Coffey, program director of eServer Technologies at IBM, said the InfiniBand initiative is twofold: The company is seeking a convergence technology to deploy across all servers and storage platforms, giving it an alternative to Ethernet and Fibre Channel, and IBM wants to deploy what it considers a soon to be "leading" interconnect technology.
"It meets the requirements of customers looking more and more for open systems," Coffey said. "It provides a low enough latency that clustered databases don't have to take a performance hit. Having a technology like InfiniBand ... means everything happens faster."
Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld