InfiniBand Makes Gains, Thanks to Linux

Ethernet has emerged over the last decade as the dominant fabric for networking communication, but it’s not the only one. InfiniBand, a technology that offers the promise of lower latency for high speed computing applications is making inroads according to analyst reports and the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA).

InfiniBand is the interconnect used on the world’s most powerful computer today, and has faster standard bandwidth connections than Ethernet, with even faster speeds to come. Yet, InfiniBand in many respects is still fighting an uphill battle against Ethernet. It’s a situation the IBTA is aiming to change.

“Ethernet just can’t scale efficiently — this is really becoming important with Intel Nehalem, as some supercomputer sites were waiting on Nehalem,” IBTA spokesperson Brian Sparks told “Lots of people deploying Nehalem in HPC clusters are using 40 Gbps with InfiniBand to connect and that speed has been available for almost a year now. “

40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE) is a standard that is currently under development, but has not yet been finalized.

Sparks added that InfiniBand has already shipped over 5 million ports at 10 Gbps or higher with 40 Gbps adopted pretty well over the past year. Most ports currently shipping are actually 20 Gbps or 40 Gbps at this point and Sparks sees 10 Gbps InfiniBand shipment on the decline from IBTA members.

Another thing that Sparks noted InfiniBand is able to do now is I/O (input/output) unification for fabric consolidation which is a hot topic thanks to efforts from companies like Cisco on the Ethernet side.

Read more about InfiniBand and its success in the Linux space at InternetNews.

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