Intel jumps off InfiniBand wagon

An Intel spokesman claimed on Friday that the company has cancelled its plans to sell chips for InfiniBand products.

An Intel spokesman claimed on Friday that the company has cancelled its plans to sell chips for InfiniBand products.

InfiniBand, is a high-speed networking technology that promises to widen the data pipeline between servers, storage equipment and other networked equipment, replacing existing 1Gbps (bit-per-second) PCI-X and Gigabit Ethernet technologies with a switch fabric I/O that will, initially, offer data rates of 2.5Gbps to 10Gbps.

Intel had planned to offer silicon chips for use in InfiniBand host control adaptors (HCAs) that plug into existing PCI and PCI-X slots, but it has now pulled the plug on those efforts.

Intel spokesman Daven Oswalt said, "We still strongly support InfiniBand and will continue to work with the InfiniBand Trade Association and do what it takes to aid successful deployment of InfiniBand on the Intel architecture."

Intel believes the "ecosystem" around InfiniBand has matured to a point where its products are no longer required for the technology to move forward, Oswalt said.

IBM and Mellanox Technologies, a startup in California, already offer components for InfiniBand equipment. More than 20 other vendors showed InfiniBand products at the recent Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, including Adaptec, Infinicon Systems and Bandercom.

"Intel is certainly one of the key players in bringing the specification into existence, but a lot of the intellectual property and knowledge actually came from other participants in the InfiniBand Trade Association," including IBM and Hewlett-Packard, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

For that reason, Intel's decision to kill its InfiniBand product plans, though something of a setback, should not be a major blow to the technology.

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