InfiniBand Goes Prime Time at OracleWorld

Claiming the interconnect technology "is ready for the data center," Sun and Topspin will show the benefits of using InfiniBand in clusters of low-end systems running Oracle 10G.

Sun Microsystems Inc. and Topspin Communications Inc. are at OracleWorld 2003 this week demonstrating the benefits of using the InfiniBand interconnect technology in clusters of low-end systems running Oracle Corp.s new Oracle Database 10G software.

At the same time, Topspin, of Mountain View, Calif., also is rolling out an InfiniBand clustering offering optimized for Oracle database and application server products.

Sun and Topspin first announced a partnership in March in which the two companies would jointly develop and license InfiniBand technology. This is one of the results of that partnership, said Subodh Bapat, chief technology officer of Volume System Products Group for Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif.

"This is a proof point that InfiniBand is real, its here and its showing up in products today," Bapat said. "This will show that InfiniBand is ready for the data center."

The InfiniBand offering the two companies are demonstrating this week at the San Francisco show is designed to run Oracles 10G database platform and Red Hat Inc.s Linux operating system on a cluster of Sun Fire V65x servers. The V65x is a 2U (3.5-inch) system that can run one or two 2.8GHz or 3.06GHz Xeon chips from Intel Corp. and comes with up to 12GB of memory, six 36GB or 73GB hard drives, and up to six PCI-X slots.

Also included the configuration are Sun Fire V60x, a 1U (1.75-inch-high) one- to two-way system that runs the 2.8GHz Xeons, Suns StorEdge 3510 Fibre Channel storage array and Topspins Switched Computing System, which links data center resources via InfiniBand.

The servers, introduced in May, are part of Suns larger push into the low end. At that time, Sun officials joined with their counterparts at Oracle in outlining their vision of future data centers that run multiple smaller systems tied together via high-speed interconnects such as InfiniBand.

Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and business development at Topspin, said businesses using InfiniBand clusters for Oracle database applications will see a four-times improvement over Gigabit Ethernet.

InfiniBand, which once was seen as a replacement for other interconnects, including Gigabit Ethernet, has seen the most traction in high-performance technical computing environments. However, both Aaron and Bapat said it is beginning to create a presence in data centers.

"It is prime time, ready for the enterprise," Aaron said.

Topspins Oracle 10G-optimized offering includes a 12-port Topspin 90 InfiniBand switch, a gateway for InfiniBand-to-Gigabit Ethernet or InfiniBand-to-Fibre Channel connectivity, six server adapters, and drivers that were co-developed with Oracle.

Aaron said users will see an improvement in performance and a reduction in costs.

"Its the complete kit," he said.

In an unrelated move, Voltaire Inc. at the show also is demonstrating an InfiniBand offering optimized for Oracles Database 10G. The Bedford, Mass., companys offering includes its ISR 6000 InfiniBand switch router, intelligent IP routers for connectivity to IP networks, InfiniBand-to-Fibre Channel routers and its HCA 400, a dual-port, 4x host channel adapter card that enables businesses PCI-X-based servers to access the InfiniBand fabric.