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Topspin Lobs Virtual Computing Software

Looking to add an intelligence layer to its InfiniBand switches, Topspin Communications Wednesday introduced software designed to boost the utility computing platforms of customers and system vendors.

The VFrame server virtualization software suite will provide policies to provision virtual servers on the fly for end users, OEMs and software partners, according to Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and product management.

For example, the package allows users to deploy new applications more quickly, re-purpose servers instantly from one function to another, and respond rapidly to server or network failures.

The VFrame software suite is composed of Frame Embedded System Logic, which is system software running on the server switch to receive, interpret, and enforce policies; VFrame APIs to allow partners and customers to create management and provisioning tools; and VFrame Director, a software package that centralizes policy intelligence.

Aaron said the new suite will provide greater infrastructure choice for Topspin OEM partners like such as IBM, HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems. . He said they would be able to offer a platform-agnostic virtualization suite for customers concerned about relying on one vendor too much.

While those OEMs already offer utility computing infrastructure, Aaron argued that VFrame provides more choice for those vendors' customers and should not be viewed as competitive.

"We're one of the infrastructure offerings that make up their breadth of offerings," Aaron explained. "Part of the value of VFrame is that it allows our infrastructure, which they're reselling or OEMing, to work with their software management tools that make up their virtualization offerings. It's kind of the glue that brings that together."

Dell customers, for example, can use Dell PowerEdge servers with Topspin software without a hitch because both companies share a similar view about open computing -- so much so that Dell has made a small investment in the Mountain View, Calif. partner.

Terms of the investment were not made public, but Dell will also offer Topspin switches as an option in high-performance computing cluster (HPCC) configurations and Oracle 10G Database platforms later this year.

Topspin has put so much stock in VFrame that it had created a developer program to get the suite out into the market full bore. The VFrame Developers Program, geared to foster openness, includes inaugural members Opsware, Oracle , Platform Computing, Qlusters, and VMware.

Primarily known as a provider of InfiniBand switches, Topspin has been broadening its focus as a more prodigious computing infrastructure provider of late, while rivals Voltaire and InfiniCon seem to stay the InfiniBand switch course.

VFrame is the fourth building block in Topspin's server virtualization infrastructure. It adds intelligence that converts policy into actions to the company's chief building block server switches, which connect servers and blades into a fabric or grid to support clustered and utility computing environments.

Another building block is Topspin's Topology Transparency software, which enables the high performance server fabric to be connected with existing LANs and SANs with no management or infrastructure changes, so long as they are coupled with Topspin's Ethernet and Fibre Channel Gateways.

Lastly, virtualization and boot services allow blade servers to be deployed and let customers provision any combination of application, operating system, storage, and I/O resources to a server in the time it takes to reboot.

VFarme is available now. Topspin has already landed Burlington Coat Factory as a customer, which uses VFrame software in conjunction with Server Switches.