Friday, July 06, 2007

Infiniband surges in supers

The news from the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden last week looked pretty rosy for Infiniband. In its core application area of high-end technical computing clusters, Infiniband is still strongly ascendant.

The June 2007 version of the Top 500 list reports Infiniband was used in 127 of the world's most powerful systems, up from 78 systems six months ago. Gbit Ethernet, the leader at 207 systems, down from 211 six months back, is slipping because it is perceived as running out of gas.

Sun provided some extra shine on the Infiniband rise, rolling out its Project Magnum, the world's first 3,456-port Infiniband switch. It creates a five-stage Infiniband fabric aimed at the world's biggest computing sites. Designed by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, it uses one-sixth the space, weight and cabling of previous IB switches of its class.

This is all cool stuff, but of course the big issue with Infiniband is whether it can break out of the nerdy HPC ghetto and gain significant traction in corporate data centers where it battles tooth and nail with Ethernet and Fibre Channel.

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