Intel Acquires QLogic's InfiniBand Franchise

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-01-23 Print this article Print

Obtaining InfiniBand intellectual property for $125 million bolsters Intel's strategic move toward exascale computing.

Intel bolstered its networking industry standing on Jan. 23 by acquiring the InfiniBand intellectual property-and bringing on board the people who run it-from networking processor and software maker QLogic.

The deal, expected to close by the end of the current quarter, set back Intel by $125 million. QLogic, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., also makes Fibre Channel switches, routers, adapters and ASICs.

InfiniBand is a low-latency, high-bandwidth system interconnect standard that delivers high-speed data rates over short distances, such as within a single data center or connecting two adjacent data centers. It is specifically designed to combine the computing power of numerous machines into one supercomputer.

InfiniBand is available in several enterprise products from companies such as Oracle (for its high-speed Exadata and Exalogic servers), IBM (in its System p servers), EMC Isilon (high-end storage) and others.

"Consistent with what we've said in the past, we are firmly committed to high-performance computing, and it's becoming a bigger part of our server portfolio in terms of revenue," Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager for Intel's data center and connected systems group, told eWEEK.

Skaugen said the acquisition will provide scalable HPC fabric networking as well as support the company's vision of innovating on fabric architectures to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by 2018. An ExaFLOP/s is a quintillion computer operations per second, a hundred times more than today's fastest supercomputers.

"We have a conviction that we want to reach an exascale performance by 2018-within 20 megawatts. Technically speaking, people know that this requires a deeper level of [data center systems] fabric and integration over time to accomplish that," Skaugen said.

Exascale computing refers to computing capabilities beyond the currently existing petascale. If achieved, exascale computing would represent a thousandfold increase over that scale. Supercomputing analysts have projected that the IT industry should be able to implement this by 2018.

The exascale initiative has been endorsed by two U.S. agencies: the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The IT would be used in various computation-intensive research areas, such as basic research, engineering, earth science, biology, materials science, energy issues and national security.

The U.S. federal government allocated $126 million for implementation of exascale computing in 2012.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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