Industry Interview - Asaf Somekh, Voltaire Page 2
[ESF]Realistically, how long will it be before we see InfiniBand implemented in production environments?
[Asaf Somekh] Q2 2003.
[ESF] Where do you think InfiniBand fits with other technologies such as iSCSI, Fibre Channel and so on?
[Asaf Somekh] InfiniBand can and should coexist with these technologies. Products like our nVigor family of routers will allow this to happen. Only in the second phase of the adoption of InfiniBand, you will see environments where InfiniBand replaces these technologies.
[ESF]You have recently participated in a series of road shows run by the InfiniBand Trade Association. How did you find peoples understanding and approach to InfiniBand technology?
[Asaf Somekh] In many cases people were surprised to see where the technology is. Most thought that it was still a - white-board-hype - technology, but seeing the list of companies with actual products coming to market had its impact. In general, there's great receptiveness to InfiniBand, although it is a new technology, simply due to the fact that InfiniBand enables IT managers to run the data centers more efficiently.
[ESF]Both Microsoft and Intel have recently been seen to back away from InfiniBand as a technology. How do you interpret these moves and what does it mean to the InfiniBand industry?
[Asaf Somekh] Intel is still very committed to making the InfiniBand market happen through software initiatives (dozens of software engineers are working on InfiniBand) and marketing initiatives. The recent Intel Developer's Forum (IDF), in September had a dedicated InfiniBand track and InfiniBand was the most visible technology at the show. Their decision to stop the production of their silicon was due to the fact that their 4X silicon was over a year behind the IBM and Mellanox silicons. Intel's decision had no practical impact on the companies developing InfiniBand systems because they did not rely on the Intel silicon as it was too late for their plans.
Microsoft was planning its support for InfiniBand only in one of the later versions of .Net. With .Net availability slipping this caused difficulties with the adoption of InfiniBand in windows environments. The latest announcement from Microsoft did say they are pushing back InfiniBand, but at the same time they also said they would certify InfiniBand solutions from 3rd parties for W2K and .Net.
[ESF] With the newest versions of PCI-X offering InfiniBand-like performance, is there not a risk that InfiniBand will become a niche technology rather than a mainstream one?
[Asaf Somekh] PCI-Express is designated for on-board communication and not for communication between systems, which is what InfiniBand is for.
[ESF]Do you think the success of InfiniBand may end up having more to do with the state of the economy than the viability and advantages of the technology?
[Asaf Somekh] The state of the economy has a lot of impact.
[ESF] On a broader note, some analysts have branded the storage industry as simply 'hype'. What would you say that that?
[Asaf Somekh] Storage needs keep doubling with little impact by the economy -- I wouldn't call it a hype.
[ESF]Finally, over the next few years, what do you see as being the main challenges facing the storage industry
[Asaf Somekh] Solutions for a distributed environment are still far from being optimal.
[ESF] Thanks for your time Asaf.
[Asaf Somekh] Thank you.