Mellanox, Voltaire Roll Out InfiniBand Switches

Mellanox and Voltaire are launching competing 40 Gb/s InifiniBand switches and management software at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany. Both Mellanox and Voltaire are pushing the scalability capabilities of their switches, as well as the fact that both play to the growing demand for more energy-efficient data center technologies. Mellanox is launching the IS5000 family of switches; Voltaire the Grid Director 4700.

Mellanox Technologies and Voltaire are using the International Supercomputing Conference to announce the releases of their latest InfiniBand switches and management software.

The competing InfiniBand vendors are both announcing June 22 the general availability of switches with up to 648 ports and management offerings designed to make it easier for IT administrators to implement and manage their InfiniBand environments.

Mellanox is rolling out its IS5000 40 gigabits-per-second InfiniBand family of switch systems and its FabricIT management suite, which let IT managers in both HPC (high-performance computing) environments and data centers to scale using switch blocks from 36 to 648 ports per enclosure.

The switches can come in several different chassis sizes to better fit the user's need, Bill Lee, senior product marketing manager, said in an interview.

The Mellanox switches come with features aimed at making it easier for users to scale their environments, including adaptive routing capabilities, end-to-end congestion management and subnet partitioning. In addition, the IS5000 switches offer integrated connectivity to Ethernet LANs and Fibre Channel SANs (storage-area networks). Across 648 ports, the IS5000 switches provide between 2.9 terabits per second to 51.8 Tb/s of bandwidth.

The management software touches on everything from the chassis to the fabric, and can also manage unified I/O environments.

The switches also fit into the growing demand for greater energy efficiency, including low power per port and power management capabilities. In addition, "I/O bandwidth has a great deal of effect on CPU efficiencies," Lee said. At 40 Gb/s, the CPU runs at 92 percent efficiency, he said.

FabricIT also improves data center performance and efficiency through such features as performance monitoring, performance tuning, granular Quality of Service capabilities and dynamic, real-time managing of the networking to meet application demands.

For its part, Voltaire is rolling out the Grid Director 4700, a 40 Gb/s InfiniBand switch, as well as its Unified Fabric Manager software.

The Grid Director 4700 offers 324 ports of 40 Gb/s connectivity, and users can double that to 648 ports using the company's double-density fabric board, which officials say are the foundation of Voltaire's HyperScale architecture. The stackable architecture is designed to let IT administrators build larger configurations.

Combining the new switches with the HyperScale architecture enables a user to build a 1,296-node supercomputer with a fabric that offers 40 percent lower latency than competing technologies, with 50 percent fewer switch ports, 40 percent less cabling and 33 percent less power and rack space, according to Voltaire officials.

The officials also are pushing the Voltaire offering for green data centers, saying the switch offers a 6.5-watt-per-port power consumption capability.

Voltaire officials are demonstrating the Grid Director 4700 as well as the company's recently announced Vantage 8500 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch at the supercomputing show, which runs June 23-26 in Hamburg, Germany.