Infiniband is a standard for information exchange between processors and I/O devices on server boards. A consortium of industry companies, including IBM, Sun, Dell, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft developed Infiniband to replace the PCI (peripheral component interconnect) and PCI-X (PCI-extended) technology found in most of today's servers.
Founding members Intel and Microsoft have scaled back their plans to develop products with the technology. However, analysts have said that the absence of such industry heavyweights does not mean that Infiniband is doomed.
"Infiniband is of greatest benefit to data centre-level servers," said Subodh Bapat, chief technology officer for volume systems products at Sun. Networking, storage, and clustering products will also reap the benefits of the new technology, he added.
IBM will roll out Infiniband in its eServer products throughout next year, initially focusing on a few models for high-performance computing and database clustering applications, said Tom Bradich, chief technology officer for IBM's xSeries servers. The company will also offer midrange and high-end Unix servers with Infiniband technology.
Sun's next-generation data centre servers will feature the technology, and the company plans to build support for the technology into the kernel layer of its flagship Solaris operating system, Bapat said.
Blade servers from Sun are also targets for Infiniband, and Sun's higher-end mainframe class servers that require shared I/O devices will take advantage of the technology.
Dell's PowerEdge servers will come with Infiniband technology in both blade and conventional forms, also for the high-performance and clustering environments, said Dell director of server architecture Jimmy Pike.