NetApp to Offer Infiniband Connectivity

Network Appliance will ship InfiniBand connectivity for the clustering feature of its latest high-end Filer.

Network Appliance Inc. on Monday will announce that it is shipping InfiniBand connectivity for the clustering feature of its latest high-end Filer, officials of Network Appliance partner JNI Corp. said on Friday.

Network Appliance, of Sunnyvale, Calif., did not discuss the feature in its FAS 900 series launch earlier this week. The new HCA (host channel adapter), which is the InfiniBand equal to a Fibre Channel host bus adapter, comes from JNI, which in turns uses a processor from Mellanox Technologies Ltd.

"Its a generic HCA. What we provided was whats known as the verbs layer between the chip and [NetApps] OnTap operating system," said Shaun Walsh, general manager of San Diego-based JNIs I/O Solutions Group. "The verbs are the core link between the chip instructions and OS. Verbs are the equivalent of the device driver."

InfiniBand gives NetApp less than 10 microseconds of latency between clustered Filers, Walsh said. He declined to comment on the future direction of Network Appliance/JNI product development, but said that he "would continue to see clustering-based applications being the first wave of a number of design wins that we have in progress."

Network Appliance officials were not immediately available for comment.

"Its not proprietary, so there will be an expectation that youre free from the issue of having a vendor that youre locked into," said James Opfer, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in San Jose, Calif. Clustering for applications like databases will be a key driver, he said.