Sun preps InfiniBand servers

Sun Microsystems Inc. is preparing to launch a new line of server products using InfiniBand Trade Association's InfiniBand, an open-source architecture that regulates the flow of data within computer systems.

InfiniBand promises to magnify bandwidth and increase the scalability of computer systems.

Sun has formed a partnership with Topspin Communications Inc. to provide Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet input/output modules for Sun's next-generation server modules.

The first InfiniBand products will ship next year, said John Davis, director of volume systems products at Sun. "InfiniBand technology is key to Sun's strategy," he said. "Our focus is reducing total cost of ownership while improving performance."

While Davis declined to discuss Sun's specific product strategy, in general the company plans to use the 10 gigabits/sec InfiniBand technology to develop new servers.

"We've already seen InfiniBand technology get some inroads in the federal government," said Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and business development at Topspin. "Some of the large federal government laboratories are building large clusters" with the technology.

The opportunity for Sun is to address government's need for high-capacity, low-latency systems built on open standards, Aaron said. "Historically they've had to do that with proprietary interconnects," he said.

Sun's choice of his company to provide part of the solution is "a tremendous validation," he said. "It's validation of the technology, it's validation of the company."

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