InfiniBand Sporting a Tux

Recognizing a need to support open source technologies, a consortium of
InfiniBand companies today announced the formation of OpenIB Alliance. Its
first task will be to develop a common Linux implementation for InfiniBand configurations.

InfiniBand is an open-standard clustering, communication, storage and
embedded interconnect with transmission rates of now 30 gigabits
per second
. Instead of sending data in parallel, InfiniBand sends data
in serial and can handle multiple channels of data at a time in a
multiplexing signal.

The technology is mainly used in scientific and technical
high-performance applications. Computing clusters using InfiniBand reach
from small eight-node clusters to thousands of nodes. However, several
companies are spreading it to the enterprise market for clusters and other
uses. Supporters point out that the development of a Linux software stack is
critical to the adoption of the remote direct memory access (RDMA)
configurations.

“Once the OpenIB Alliance software stack is available, customers will be
empowered to build large-scale Linux grids with heightened performance and
reduced expenses,” Patrick Rogers, vice president of marketing at Network
Appliance said in a statement.

In addition to Network Appliance, several technology vendors are
championing the efforts, including: Dell; Engenio Information Technologies
(formerly LSI Logic Storage Systems); IBM; InfiniCon; Intel; Mellanox
Technologies; Sun Microsystems; Topspin Communications; VERITAS and
Voltaire. Government facilities like Sandia National Laboratories and
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are also participating in the
development and testing.

IBM has said it plans to make InfiniBand “a base technology
for all IBM eServer systems and storage, and the underlying fabric for
future initiatives around on-demand computing.” Big Blue says it sees the
technology as “a single, unifying I/O fabric for the data center.”

In its statement, the alliance said it will publish its software stack
delivery schedule between July and October of this year, with future
software enhancements expected on an ongoing basis. The group is also
welcoming contributions and is reportedly looking at extending its
development to other operating environments.

The new group said the software stacks are complementary to the
InfiniBand Trade Association’s (IBTA) InfiniBand architecture
specifications.

“InfiniBand architecture is gaining momentum in enterprise deployments,
and with this comes the opportunity to ensure that fabrics feature the
extensive benefits envisioned by the architects of the technology,” Jim
Pappas, director of initiative marketing for Intel’s Enterprise Platform
Group, said in a statement.

Organizers said the sub-group was formed outside the IBTA to prevent
conflicts with the charter organization.

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