Tech giants back InfiniBand

HP conspicuous by its absence however...
Written by Stephen Shankland, Contributor

HP conspicuous by its absence however...

Three of the top four server sellers are rallying around InfiniBand, giving a shot in the arm to a high-speed networking technology that's suffered recent setbacks. IBM, Sun Microsystems and Dell Computer took to the campaign trail this week, announcing that they see an important, if scaled-back, role for the technology in their servers. Hewlett-Packard, however, is linking its InfiniBand adoption on widespread customer interest. IBM in the first quarter of 2003 will begin installing InfiniBand-connected groups of computers for housing databases and performing high-speed calculations. Dell agrees with that approach, while Sun is building InfiniBand into its entire product line. "We believe we're at the point in time where the technology is maturing," said Subodh Bapat, chief technology officer for Sun's lower-end servers. "We believe it will offer some compelling performance improvement for the next generation of data centre applications." InfiniBand, a technology that can transfer data at 10 gigabits per second with minimal delays, was once poised to sweep the industry with backing from Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Sun. In recent months, though, Intel and Microsoft have distanced themselves. Advocates no longer expect InfiniBand to replace the universally used PCI data pathway - its first mission - but rather to be used as a fabric to connect servers and storage systems that reside within data centres. One use will be to connect lower-end systems together so they can share the onerous computing chore of storing databases of information. Another is joining low-end servers into a supercomputer. Not all are so bullish. HP - one of the inventors of InfiniBand - was conspicuously absent from the joint announcement. The company said in a statement: "We're taking a wait-and-see approach. We don't believe that it's really lived up to the hype. We're in the camp more with Microsoft and Intel right now. If we start hearing some noise [from customers], we'll start looking at it." In addition, Bradicich said, faster versions of InfiniBand are on the drawing board. Stephen Shankland writes for News.com
Editorial standards