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TopSpin adds Boot over InfiniBand to switches

TopSpin Communications has added the ability to boot servers remotely by using InfiniBand to its latest switches.

The idea is InfiniBand becomes more than just an interconnect technology and instead turns into a vital part of the move toward virtual servers. Clusters of the future will need discless blade servers to be used in utility computing setups.

Topspin's server switch can reboot a blade server with an operating system image stored on disc along with applications, storage and I/O resources, making the "stateless" server setup more effective and cheaper than existing networks.

Either an Ethernet or Fibre Channel gateway from TopSpin links to the storage and tracks where the images are. When the blade server needs repurposing it is rebooted using the switch. The remote booting takes a minute or so.

"Boot capabilities are simply the next natural evolution for InfiniBand," said Steve Duplessie, founder of the Enterprise Storage Group. "InfiniBand is the de facto choice for high performance - and now large-scale clusters - for all the major systems players, so a boot ability was imperative. InfiniBand is what is going to make server virtualisation and the whole blade movement meaningful."

TopSpin's vice president of marketing and product management, Stu Aaron, said, "With features like Boot over InfiniBand, we are giving our customers the ability to build large server clusters, and seamlessly transition those clusters into a grid for server virtualisation." TopSpin recently announced a partnership with Dell.

The product is in test at the moment and an announcement is expected in April.

Chris Mellor writes for Techworld.com

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