Tuesday, December 12, 2006

ASI goes quietly away

I reported back in August that the Advanced Switching Interconnect, a spinoff of PCI Express technology for comms systems, was effectively dead. No one from the ASI SIG or its primary backer, Intel Corp., ever fessed up to it and the ASI SIG Web page stayed live—until today.

It's officially a dead Web site now, though there is still material about ASI to be had on Intel's Web site—for awhile anyway. Will the technology be reformulated by Intel or anyone else, perhaps under a new name such as PCIe Embedded? Could be more shoes to fall.

If anyone wants to come clean about what's happening, I am all ears. --rbm


Michael said...

ASI was defined as a strange mix of memory read/write semantics (PCI) and network semantics. It has no added value over "simple" PCI. Neither it adds any value over existing network technologies. The weird ability to tunel memory access over the network does not seem to be a useful feature. And - lastly - implementation of all this stuff is way more complex and expensive than expected. Bottom line - compex, expensive and useless technology. No wander it is dead.

Mike said...

Guess I have to disagree. ASI had some solid technology and was in many respects no more complex than PCIe. However, its demise was not technology based but political.

- Intel was its chief proponent but was schizoid within its business units about adoption and usage.

- Intel tried to make it the second coming for communications but failed to back it up with any real products once again exiting much of the ecosystem before it could gain any traction.

- Intel tried to make it the perfect choice for blades but obviously the Ethernet and InfiniBand proponents think otherwise.

- ASI-SIG marketing was pitiful. Its core membership was weak in their ability or willingness to execute the technology. So, after a number of years, millions invested, and many jobs lost along the way, one by one the members exited the market.

In many respects, ASI like other technologies suffered from a lack of credible vision and ecosystem investment. Without both, any technology will fail. It is sad that so many people paid the price along the way. The political and business realities are simply often under appreciated when translating any technology or initiative to reality. Just take a look at what is going on within the industry today to see why so many other technologies are in trouble or likely to be just niche solutions. Also look to see what technologies are co-opting features from some of these niche offerings to fill in the gaps and show they can still meet customer needs.