The dark storage network horse: InfiniBand

Its growth rate just got increased

IDC has increased the growth rate for InfiniBand in the 2007-2011 period due to accelerated InfiniBand take up.

An InfiniBand fabric has servers or storage devices connected to it by host channel adapters (HCA) and intervening InfiniBand switches. The current bandwidth is 20Gbit/s with 40Gbit/s just beginning – Mellanox has started shipping 40Gbit/s product – far beyond 10Gbit/s Ethernet or 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel.

IDC reckons that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for InfiniBand HCA shipments from 2007 to 2011 should be 51.5 percent, up from its previous 29.3 percent, with shipments reaching 991,878 in 2011 and HCA revenues reaching $279.7 million.

InfiniBand switch revenue CAGR should be 47.2 percent, reaching $656.3 million, over the same period.

InfiniBand adoption has risen due to its popularity in high-performance computing (HPC) environments encouraging adoption in corporate data centres for HPC-like applications. Stephen Josselyn, IDC’s research director, for Global Enterprise Server Solutions, said: “We have increased our forecast view incrementally based on the increased adoption of InfiniBand in enterprise datacenters and further penetration into the TOP500 supercomputing sites.”

Enterprise InfiniBand-using applications include Monte Carlo analysis, oil and gas exploration, vehicle modeling, semiconductor design, utility computing, and clustered databases such as Oracle 10g RAC and IBM DB2.

InfiniBand supporters point to InfiniBand being available here and now whereas Fibre Channel is stuck at a pedestrian 8Gbit/sec and 10GigE also being slower than InfiniBand, as well as not being lossless or having predictable data delivery times.

Because of this InfiniBand is a better bet as a converged network medium for server-to-server clustering and server-to-storage communications, particularly in a virtual blade server world, than 10gigE with Fibre Channel running over it (FCoE).


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