Topspin Device to Manage Data Center Infrastructure

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2002-11-18

A Silicon Valley startup last week introduced technology aimed at helping data centers better manage their computing resources.

Topspin Communications Inc. rolled out its Topspin 360 Switched Computing System, which links a data centers servers, storage systems and networking devices, according to officials with the Mountain View, Calif., company.

Topspins technology is a high-bandwidth, switched, multiterabit interconnect fabric that enables users to dynamically create virtual computers from disparate systems as the need arises, said company officials. The rack-mounted 360 Switched Computing System, which measures 4U, or 7 inches high, was unveiled at two conferences, Oracle Corp.s OracleWorld in San Francisco and SAP AGs Tech Ed in New Orleans. It will be available in the first quarter next year.

The Topspin 360 system, which can attach the server, storage and network elements via Fibre Channel, Ethernet or InfiniBand, enables a data center to scale its infrastructure to meet the demands of the applications being run, officials said.

Enterprises can also consolidate servers because the Topspin technology allows them to manage server power.

The system consists of an interconnect capability that includes topology transparency to allow for the use of Fibre Channel, Ethernet or InfiniBand, as well as a feature that manages the various application and optimization services. It also includes industry-standard system elements, such as servers from companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.; storage from vendors such as EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc.; and corporate switches from suppliers such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp.

Enterprises are increasingly using computing devices such as blade servers that are too small to hold the necessary ports for various interconnect technologies, Topspin said. The 360 system gives users the option of using interconnect tools and blade servers. John Enck, an analyst with Gartner Inc., said the most interesting part of Topspins technology is that it gives data centers flexibility in choosing an interconnect technology.

"Theres a lot of confusion" in enterprises about what I/O technology to use when connecting the infrastructure because of a lack of a default standard, said Enck, in Loveland, Colo.

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