Voltaire Unveils InfiniBand Switch with Ethernet Gateway

Voltaire officials are looking to address the growing demand from IT administrators for a converged fabric in the data center with the introduction of the Grid Director 4036E. The 40 Gbps InfiniBand switch features an Ethernet gateway and is aimed at high-performance enterprise data center environments that demand low latency in their networking fabrics.

Voltaire is rolling out a 40 Gigabit-per-second InfiniBand switch that offers a built-in Ethernet gateway, the latest offering designed to address the growing demand for converged network fabrics.

The Grid Director 4036E offers 34 40 Gbps InfiniBand ports and two 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports that can bridge network traffic in less than 2 nanoseconds, according to Voltaire officials. The 1U (1.75-inch) box is aimed at enterprise-level, highly transactional businesses that demand low latency.

Some of those target environments include financial services, high-performance storage, databases and HPC (high-performance computing).

The Grid Director 4036E includes an InfiniBand switch, an embedded subnet manager, and a built-in hardware-based Ethernet gateway.

"This is part of our strategy of [offering customers] performance and choice," Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing at Voltaire, said in an interview.

The device is scheduled for release later in the first quarter, with pricing around $1,000 per port, according to Voltaire.

Offering such technologies as the Grid Director 4036E will be key for networking vendors going forward as businesses increasingly look to use InfiniBand and Ethernet in the same data center, according to Somekh.

For a survey published earlier in January, Voltaire interviewed more than 120 CIOs and IT executives and found that 45 percent said they planned to implement both InfiniBand with Ethernet as part of future data center enhancements or construction.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would rely solely on Ethernet.

Bandwidth was the most important characteristic for data center fabrics, according to 31 percent of the respondents. Another 22 percent said low latency, and 17 percent said scalability.

Regarding their top networking priorities, 34 percent said performance, 27 percent cited cost reductions and 16 percent said improved service levels.