Voltaire Pumps Up iSCSI

InfiniBand switch start-up Voltaire has become the first to pair iSCSI and InfiniBand, creating what one analyst calls “an iSCSI solution on steroids.”

Voltaire says its storage connectivity solution provides high-performance conductivity to Fibre Channel and IP storage area networks, along with management and virtualization capabilities that are embedded in Voltaire’s InfiniBand-to-FC routers to leverage the broad management and protocol standardization of iSCSI.

Replacing the TCP/IP transport with InfiniBand eliminates the performance bottlenecks associated with iSCSI, according to Voltaire. The company claims
its solution “provides the highest performance with very little CPU overhead.”

“Voltaire’s innovative use of the iSCSI protocol with InfiniBand will enable them to leapfrog their competition in terms of ease of management and high-speed throughput for high-end computing environments,” says Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at the Taneja Group. “Not only are they enabling connectivity between InfiniBand and shared storage on Fibre Channel, they have also created an iSCSI solution on steroids. Many customers looking to standardize on iSCSI were concerned that there would not be high-end solutions available. Now they have an option.”

Voltaire says its solution eliminates the over-provisioning of storage networks with shared and efficient connectivity, and reduces overall TCO for server/storage connectivity by minimizing the number of required protocols and management tools. The result is a “comprehensive, easy to deploy solution” that supports Fibre Channel SANs, IP SANs, and NAS connectivity, with an upgrade path to RDMA over Ethernet in the future.

“As our InfiniBand solutions gain traction in the data center, there is a growing demand to leverage InfiniBand for storage connectivity,” states
Voltaire Chairman and CEO Ronnie Kenneth. “After a thorough evaluation of customers’ feedback, we believe that the promise of seamless and high-performance storage connectivity is best served by an iSCSI-based solution. By leveraging the rich iSCSI-based management infrastructure, the Voltaire solution provides superior performance and manageability without reinventing the wheel.”

FC connectivity is implemented through intelligent InfiniBand-to-Fibre Channel routers. These routers aggregate the connectivity of InfiniBand server clusters and SANs, eliminating I/O bottlenecks while improving storage manageability and reducing costs, according to Voltaire. The routers are integrated with Voltaire’s family of modular switch router chassis. The Voltaire InfiniBand switch routers provide multi-protocol routing at the heart of the data center for clustering and storage networking. QLogic’s advanced chipsets power the FC blades.

“We are delighted to be working with Voltaire to provide our advanced chipsets to help enable this pioneering technology,” says Rob Davis, QLogic’s VP of Advanced Technology.

The Voltaire storage solution will be available in the third quarter. The company is also demonstrating its intelligent storage networking solution at the ClusterWorld Conference and Exhibition in San Jose this week, in conjunction with StoreAge Networking Technologies, Voltaire’s storage management partner for the solution. The demonstration includes end-to-end storage connectivity with out-of-band virtualization.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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