RealTime IT News

Sun, Topspin Pushing InfiniBand Forward

Sun Microsystems and Topspin Communications have signed a joint development and software licensing agreement for the development of InfiniBand-based servers.

Sun is currently developing InfiniBand-based servers which are expected to hit the market sometime in 2004. Topspin is already shipping InfiniBand-based products and has more than a dozen customers already.

"InfiniBand is the only cost-effective 10 Gigabit per second, low latency, interconnect standard on the market today," said Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and business development for Topspin Communications.

"It's a big deal for us. We are getting behind Sun's concrete plans for embedding InfiniBand technology in their servers," Aaron added.

"We're focused on reducing the total cost of ownership of the network infrastructure, and increasing performance, at the same time," said John Davis, director of blade servers and volume systems products for Sun Microsystems.

Neither Davis, nor Aaron would disclose the financial details of their agreements, or would commit to specific times for when products from their joint development will come to market.

Aaron said Sun's deal with Sun is non-exclusive, and it expects to develop relationships with other server hardware manufacturers supporting the InfiniBand-based standard.

"In the next quarter, we expect more companies will be endorsing the InfiniBand standard," Aaron said. Davis added in December 2002, Dell , IBM and Sun all came out in support of the InfiniBand standard, but Sun claims to be in the lead in bringing server products based on the standard by an unspecified date in 2004.

Aaron said Topspin will be rolling out several new products over the next few months, but said he wasn't able to give details about the company's product development. He said Topspin is currently shipping switches, gateways and host channel adapters to a variety of enterprise customers. He said the financial services industry is buying its products, along with some government and educational institutions involved in high-performance computing and also enterprises utilizing distributed applications.

"Sun has selected Topspin to provide both the Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet I/O modules for Sun's next-generation InfiniBand-based server platforms that help deliver improved application scalability,performance and resource utilization," the company said in a press release.

While Sun is coming out in strong support of the InfiniBand standard, other server manufacturers have yet to commit to specific product development targets.

As part of the deal, Topspin will also assist in developing InfiniBand server software components for Sun's Solaris operating system environment. These software components are also expected to be embedded in Sun's next generation volume server products.