Sun Embraces InfiniBand Technology


Sun Microsystems recently announced its intention to leverage InfiniBand technology in the build out of next-generation data center infrastructure. The company will incorporate the open interface standard into future server, software and storage products. Customers can benefit from the new high-speed technology's ability to integrate with their existing environments while providing improved application performance, scalability, resource utilization and management capabilities.

"Sun will provide a complete platform for the next-generation data center - anchored by Solaris, with significant enhancements in I/O architecture, systems and network protocol interfaces using remote direct memory access, and N1 for management," said Neil Knox, executive vice president of Sun's Volume Systems Products. "Future InfiniBand-equipped blade servers will be just one of Sun's many stepping stones to virtualized computing where previously siloed resources behave and are managed as a single, powerful system."

InfiniBand is a high-speed switch fabric architecture that offers features for I/O interconnects, including a mechanism to share I/O components among many servers. The new architecture is designed to create a more efficient way to connect storage, communications networks and server clusters together, while delivering an I/O infrastructure that will increase efficiency, reliability and scalability. With link speeds from 2.5 Gbps to 30 Gbps, InfiniBand is designed to integrate with Ethernet and Fibre Channel infrastructure. InfiniBand's high-bandwidth, low-latency fabric can offer significant improvement to application performance.

Sun plans to leverage InfiniBand technology in future server platforms, application environments, switches and storage. Future InfiniBand-based platforms are expected to include Sun's next-generation horizontally scalable blade servers expected in 2004 and future vertically scalable enterprise servers. Sun expects applications (such as databases, directories, application servers, J2EE(TM) environments, ERP and CRM) running on these systems to show significantly improved performance. Sun also plans to integrate InfiniBand into storage virtualization and aggregation products and controllers.

"Infiniband's standard low latency and high bandwidth capabilities create new opportunities in the software architecture of the data center," said John Fowler, chief technology officer of Sun Software. "The Solaris Operating Environment will transparently deliver those advantages to existing applications as well as provide interfaces for development of new applications. Sun plans to use InfiniBand to enhance our Sun ONE products for high-performance continuously available web services."


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