RealTime IT News

Mellanox Jumps Out with InfiniBand Product Family

YOKNEAM, Israel - Internet hardware company Mellanox introduced its line of InfiniBand compatible products. The product line, InfiniBridge, is the first commercially available device supporting both 2.5Gb/s (1X) and 10Gb/s (4X) links compatible with the new technology specification, the company said.

InfiniBand is a point-to-point high speed switch fabric interconnect architecture with built-in fault tolerance and scalability.

The product line is aimed squarely at the Internet Data Center market with its needs for reliability, performance and scalability. Mellanox projects a global demand for 100,000 InfiniBand servers in the next year, rising steeply to 3.5 million servers in 2004.

"Mellanox and Intel are so far the only companies with silicon InfiniBand products ready now," said chief executive Eyal Waldman. "All the others, including giant server developers such as IBM and HP, are a quarter or two away from being ready."

The first offering of the InfiniBridge product line is the MT21108, which combines host channel adapter functionality with an integrated eight-port switch, and an InfiniBand to PCI Target Channel Adapter bridge.

The adapter bridge is an important product, Waldman said, because it allows interoperability between the current PCI based standard and the InfiniBand technology. The vendor and customer will be able to continue to use their legacy systems without the investment required of switching over to Infiniband entirely, the company said.

Mellanox has run the adapter bridging technology on Linux, Windows NT and Windows 2000 systems.

The failure of PCI to scale up with performance gains in microprocessors and memory has shown that after 12 years, the PCI has reached the end of its high-end usefulness, Waldman said. Out of this rethinking of the technology, the InfiniBand specification was devised which allowed an opening in the industry for fast-moving small developers.

"This is the time for companies like ours to make a difference," Waldman said. He said he is no stranger to technology changeovers, having worked with Intel at the time PCI development was underway in 1989.

Mellanox is poised to serve its market niche, even if growth rates exceed projections, according to Waldman.

"The company has built an infrastructure in the United States and in Israel, and we have the backing of our investors," he said.

Mellanox was formed in 1999 and worked on the predecessor to InfiniBand until the technology was officially launched that August, at which time they switched over to Infiniband development.

The company has corporate and venture backing from Intel Capital, Raza Venture Management, Sequoia Capital and U.S. Venture Partners, among others. Mellanox has more than 140 employees spread over its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. Design, engineering, and quality and reliability operations are located in Yokneam, Israel.