InfiniBand Switches Enable Clusters, Grid Options

Voltaire says its ISR 9288 switch, with as many as 288 10G-bps ports in a single chassis, will be the most dense InfiniBand switch available.

Voltaire Inc. and Topspin Communications Inc. are each readying InfiniBand switches designed not only to enable large-scale server clusters but also to provide the ability to tie those clusters into grid computing environments.

At the ClusterWorld Expo this week in San Jose, Calif., Voltaire will unveil its ISR 9288 switch, which, with as many as 288 10G-bps ports in a single chassis, will be the most dense InfiniBand switch available, according to Voltaire.

The ISR 9288, due next quarter, will eclipse the largest existing switch, which is the companys 96-port ISR 9600, said officials in Bedford, Mass. The ISR 9288s 14U (24.5-inch) chassis can house 288 4x (10G-bps) or 96 12x (30G-bps) router blades. The blades can link server clusters and offer connectivity into storage networks via Fibre Channel and TCP/IP networks.

Embedded in the switch is the companys VoltaireVision InfiniBand fabric management software, which offers management, provisioning and diagnostics capabilities.

Although the low-latency, high-bandwidth InfiniBand interconnect is most often used for high-performance computing applications, Voltaire officials said the switch will offer features that will be more broadly attractive to enterprises. Officials said the first big step in that direction will happen this spring when Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif., releases its namesake database software tuned for InfiniBand.

Also at the show, Topspin will demonstrate its Topspin 270, an InfiniBand switch that offers 96 ports of 10G-bps throughput. High-availability features in the 270 switch are sought not only by customers but also by OEM partners such as IBM, Dell Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and RLX Technologies Inc., Topspin officials said.

The Topspin 270 complements the companys other InfiniBand switch, the 24-port 120, as well as its 90 switch and 360 I/O chassis, which connect InfiniBand clusters to I/O and storage resources.

The Topspin 270 chassis can hold as many as 96 4x or 24 12x routers, said Topspin officials in Mountain View, Calif.

Among the high-availability features is a passive, intelligent midplane, which separates the electronics and cabling on the switch. This allows administrators to deal with change and failure scenarios without having to take down the switch, officials said.

The Topspin 270 will be available at the end of next month.

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