server vendors like IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Dell
Computer have reaffirmed their support for InfiniBanda
specification for the transmission of data between (server)
processors and I/O devices. HP however, is linking its
InfiniBand adoption on widespread customer interest.
In the first quarter of 2003, IBM will begin installing
InfiniBand-connected groups of computers for housing
databases and performing high-speed calculations. Dell
has a similar approach, while Sun is building InfiniBand
into its entire product line. The technology is expected
to significantly improve performance for next-generation
data center applications.
InfiniBand, a technology that can transfer data at 10
Gbps with minimal delays, was once poised to sweep the
industry with backing from IBM, HP, Compaq Computer,
Dell, Sun, Intel, and Microsoft. In recent months however,
Intel and Microsoft distanced themselves from this I/O
specification. Analysts no longer expect InfiniBand
to replace the universally used PCI data pathway, but
rather to be used as a fabric to connect servers and
storage systems that reside within data centers. One
use will be to connect low-end systems together so they
can share the tedious computing chore of storing databases
of information. Another is consolidating low-end servers
into a supercomputer.
Not all are so bullish though. HP, one of the inventors
of InfiniBand, was conspicuously absent from the joint
announcement. Many of the InfiniBand applications these
companies are contemplating don't require major changes.
InfiniBand support can be added by plugging a card into
a server's PCI slot.