Network Appliance Delivers InfiniBand based NAS Filer

Network Appliance has become the first major vendor to deliver enterprise data center solutions using the InfiniBand Architecture. Network Appliance is now shipping the InfiniBand-based solution from JNI Corporation and Mellanox Technologies with its new FAS900 series enterprise storage systems to provide the core interconnect technology for NetApp Clustered Failover high availability solutions.

The InfiniBand architecture provides superior performance compared with alternative technologies for cluster applications. Using an InfiniBand host channel adapter (HCA), Network Appliance says it has been able to significantly improve throughput and reduce latency between the clustered nodes. In addition to 1X bi-directional data link speeds of 2.5Gb/second, the InfiniBand solution provides a cost-effective, open standards-based platform for enhanced cluster services and high availability failover capabilities.

“InfiniBand features low latency, low CPU overhead, and high data
throughput, making it the ideal technology for cluster interconnect,” said Mark Santora, senior vice president of marketing at Network Appliance. “Just as important, it uses an open standard that promises to play an important role in the data center of the future. Greater than 40 percent of Network Appliance’s high-end enterprise storage solutions employ clustering. By working closely with JNI and Mellanox, Network Appliance can benefit from future developments made by the entire industry supporting InfiniBand.”

“Incorporation of InfiniBand Architecture into storage appliances represents an important step in validating the technology and establishing its market presence,” said James Opfer, chief analyst, Gartner Dataquest. “Gartner expects InfiniBand to emerge successfully to play a significant role in enterprise storage deployment.”

The Network Appliance FAS900 series uses InfiniBand’s built-in support for RDMA technology to eliminate the CPU overhead of communications between clustered nodes, and uses the dual 2.5Gb/second (1X) links of the JNI InfiniStar7 IBP-1×02 HCA Module for reliable connections of more than 400 MB/second sustained throughput between nodes. The combination of InfiniBand-enabled RDMA and high-speed data transfer provides fast and reliable failover. At the heart of the IBP-1×02 is Mellanox Technologies InfiniBridge7 MT21108 HCA device.

“JNI, Mellanox and Network Appliance have worked extensively together to prepare for the deployment of InfiniBand technology into mission-critical environments,” said Shaun Walsh, Vice President and General Manager, IO Solutions, JNI Corporation. “Network Appliance is the first OEM for JNI’s family of InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters and is a critical step in the development of this market.”

“The FAS900 series, with InfiniBridge, demonstrates our ability to meet the demands of industry leaders such as Network Appliance, as well as the success of our OEM relationship with JNI, which we announced last year,” said Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “Meeting the stringent performance and quality demands of Network Appliance and JNI proved a demanding challenge, requiring close collaboration among our engineering teams. We are pleased we’ve been able to meet this challenge and deliver a production worthy InfiniBand clustering solution, marking a significant milestone for Mellanox and the InfiniBand market.”

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