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InfiniBand at VMworld!

September 2nd, 2011

VMworld 2011 took place this week in sunny Las Vegas, and with over 20,000 attendees, this show has quickly developed into one of the largest enterprise IT events in the world. Virtualization continues to be one of the hottest topics in the industry, providing a great opportunity for InfiniBand vendors to market the wide-array of benefits that InfiniBand is enabling in virtualized environments. There were several in the IBTA community spreading the InfiniBand message, but here were a few of note.

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On the networking side, Mellanox Technologies showed the latest generation of InfiniBand technology, FDR 56Gb/s. With FDR adapters, switches and cables available today, IT managers can immediately deploy this next generation technology into their data center and get instant performance improvements, whether it be leading vMotion performance, the ability to support more virtual machines per server at higher bandwidth per virtual machine, or higher capital and lower operating expenses by consolidating the networking, management and storage I/O into a one-wire infrastructure.

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Fusion-io, a Flash-based storage manufacturer that targets heavy data acceleration needs from such applications as database, virtualization, Memchached and VDI, also made a big splash at VMworld. Their booth featured an excellent demonstration of how low-latency, high-speed InfiniBand networks help enable Fusion-io to show 800 virtual desktops being accessed and displayed over 17 monitors. InfiniBand enabled them to stream bandwidth-intensive HD movies (over 2,000) from just eight servers.

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Pure Storage, a newcomer in the storage arena, announced their 40Gb/s InfiniBand-based enterprise storage array that targets applications such as database, VDI, etc. With InfiniBand they are able to reduce their latency by over 800 percent while increasing performance by 10X.

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Isilon was recently acquired by EMC, and in the EMC booth, a rack of Isilon storage systems was displayed, scaling out by running 40Gb/s InfiniBand on the back-end. These storage systems excel in VDI implementations and are ripe for customers implementing a cloud solution where performance, reliability and storage resiliency are vital.

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Also exhibiting at VMworld was Xsigo Systems. Xsigo showed their latest Virtual I/O Director which now includes 40Gb/s InfiniBand. The previous generation used 20Gb/s InfiniBand. With the upgraded bandwidth capabilities, Xsigo can now offer their customers with 12-30X acceleration of I/O intensive tasks such as vMotion, queries, backup, etc all while providing dynamic bandwidth allocation per VM or job. In addition, by consolidating the network over a single wire, Xsigo is able to provide customers with 85 percent less hardware cost per virtual machine.

The items mentioned above are just a small slice of the excitement that was at VMworld. I’m glad to have seen so many InfiniBand solutions displayed. For more information on InfiniBand in the enterprise, watch for an upcoming webinar series being produced by the IBTA.

Brian Sparks

IBTA Marketing Working Group Co-Chair