LAS VEGAS—High performance computing is where InfiniBand will make its initial mark, and Voltaire Inc. officials want to make sure that mark is made with their products.
At the N+I show here, Voltaire unveiled a starter kit to enable users and resellers to quickly deploy InfiniBand clusters in high performance computing environments.
The Bedford, Mass., company also demonstrated its high-end 96-port InfiniBand switch, the ISR 9600, and said that it has appointed Peter Waxman—a former executive at InfiniBand startup Paceline Systems—as vice president of sales, a job that will entail increasing the companys exposure among HPC users.
“Of all the InfiniBand trains, the HPC train has been running first,” said Arun Jain, vice president of marketing for Voltaire.
Voltaires news came as the InfiniBand Trade Association highlighted recent advances in the technology, including IBMs DB2 clustering capabilities using InfiniCon Systems InfiniBand connectivity. The association also announced that Agilent Technologies Inc., which late last year bought InfiniBand silicon maker RedSwitch, joined the groups steering committing, alongside such companies as IBM, Intel Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
It will take another year or so before InfiniBand, the high-speed, low-latency interconnect, begins making significant inroads into the data center, Jain said, although Voltaire recently has been working with a Wall Street financial firm in setting up an InfiniBand-enabled database system. He declined to name the company.
Voltaires ISR 9600 high-end switch includes up to 96 4x (10 gigabits per second) ports in a single 7U chassis. In two months, it also will feature Ethernet connectivity, Jain said. However, the HPC starter kit is designed for the low-end and includes the ISR 6000—a 12-port switch—four host channel adapters with Linux drivers, 4x cables and management software.
The starter kit is available now, started at $13,995.
“Our goal is to have [customers] try and test the smaller [ISR 6000] switch, and then buy the larger [ISR 9600] switch,” said Jain, whose company in March rolled out what it said was a complete InfiniBand offering for the high performance computing arena.
InfiniBand has been kicking around for a few years, but it hadnt taken off as quickly as early supporters had predicted. The channel-based, switched fabric architecture ran into resistance as a new technology in difficult economic times. Also, such connectivity technologies such as PCI-X and 10 Gigabit Ethernet can fit in with current systems, and storage connectivity technologies such as Fibre Channel and iSCSI also have seen performance and speed improvements.
However, with the recent introduction of 4x silicon, and the promise of 12x (30 Gbps) silicon by the end of the quarter, InfiniBand is making up for lost time, Jain said.
The technology also was given a much-needed boost in December when IBM, Dell Computer Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. all promised to roll out InfiniBand-enabled products.
Now enterprises as well as HPC users are taking notice, Voltaires Jain said.
“Twelve months ago, people were asking me, What is InfiniBand? Why do we need it?” he said. “Now they ask, What products do have, and when can we get them?”
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