Topspin Brings Boot Capability to Infiniband

Topspin's Boot over Infiniband offering enables users to deploy diskless servers in a stateless configuration, then use an InfiniBand connection to load up the apps, OSes and I/O technology.

Topspin Communications Inc. is looking to move Infiniband from simply being an interconnect technology to being an important tool in the growing server virtualization space.

The Mountain View, Calif., company—which currently has partnerships with such top-tier OEMs as IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Dell Inc.—on Monday unveiled its Boot over Infiniband offering that enables users to deploy diskless servers in a stateless configuration, then use an Infiniband connection to load up the applications, operating systems and I/O technology, all in the time it takes to reboot the system.

The boot capability is important for Infiniband, given its traction in the high-performance computing and clustering spaces, according to Topspin officials. It also will be important as blade servers grow to greater prominence in data centers.

Topspins Boot over Infiniband offering—which the company is displaying at the Server Blade Summit this week in San Jose, Calif.—includes a "remote-boot" version of its HCA (host channel adapter), a Topspin Server Switch and at least one of the companys Ethernet or Fibre Channel gateways, said Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and product management at Topspin.

When users need to provision a server, the HCA directs the server to the appropriate OS and application images and boots the server with those images over the network. Via the server switch, I/O and storage resources are brought to the server, Aaron said.

The offering enables IT administrators to boot and provision servers on the fly from a centrally managed console in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days, he said.

Topspins Boot over Infiniband currently is in trial testing and will be available at the end of March, Aaron said.