His group within Prudential runs 5,000 to 7,000 Intel-based systems, 600 to 700 Unix servers and six mainframes. Canning said he was looking for a single fabric to connect these resources and run them less expensively. "Theres very little change. Its kind of like a natural next step," Canning said. "Theres not a lot of risk here because it doesnt really have a lot of moving parts. The only moving parts are the InfiniBand and RDMA protocol.""I think they have to get over the hurdle of [users] thinking that a lot of bigger companies have backed away," the administrator said. Theres also the question of whether enterprises should wait for something else to come along, such as RDMA running on 10-gigabit Ethernet, he said. But Bradicich said that new technology coming down the pike is the nature of the industry, and that users have to decide whether to gain benefits from InfiniBand now or wait 18 months to two years for 10-gigabit Ethernet. And, he said, as Ethernet ramps up to 10 gigabits, InfiniBand will continue to mature. Already the specification is ready for it to increase to 30 gigabits, he said.
One administrator who wanted to remain anonymous said he supports InfiniBand for its high performance and low cost, but said the technologys supporters have to find a way to change the perception that OEMs are lukewarm in their support of the architecture. InfiniBand wasnt helped when Intel and Microsoft Corp. said they were backing away from in-house InfiniBand development.