InfiniBand in the Internet Data Center- Underlying infrastructure of InfiniBand architecture

The Internet Data Center is central to the success of Internet-based companies, whether the business focus is an E-portal, E-Commerce, or Business-to-Business. There are huge productivity gains that can be recognized by moving customer and supplier transactions on-line. As a result, the Internet Data Center has become critical to the profitability of traditional brick and mortar companies. In order to keep up with the unprecedented growth in the Internet, companies have been driven to develop the infrastructure of the Internet Data Center in a rather organic and ad hoc fashion (which has unfortunately resulted in inefficiencies and at times chaos). InfiniBand has been developed specifically to address the needs of the modern Internet Data Center and will radically change the nature of systems being deployed in the buildout of the Internet infrastructure and greatly improve RAS (Reliability, Availability, and Scalability).

The InfiniBand Architecture, defined by the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA), is the result of an industry collaboration among most of the major companies in the server, storage, and networking markets. The steering committee includes Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. The sponsoring companies comprise of 3Com, Adaptec, Agilent, Brocade, Cisco, EMC, Hitachi, Lucent, NEC, Nortel, Siemens-Fujitsu. At the most basic level, InfiniBand replaces the PCI bus and provides the next generation of I/O connectivity to PC and server platforms. InfiniBand is, however, a revolutionary, rather than an evolutionary change to the traditional PC bus based architecture, as InfiniBand defines a switch based serial I/O fabric. This means that links can come out of the box, enabling flexible network connections that can scale and provide fault tolerance. Infiniband represents a major architectural shift for the compute server platform with far reaching implications for basic server architecture and system level deployment.

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