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Infiniband receives push for embedded apps

Posted: 23 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:infiniband? interconnect fabric? embedded systems? mellanox technologies? sbs technologies?

A trio of companies has launched an effort to make Infiniband the preeminent interconnect fabric of embedded systems. Mellanox Technologies Inc., SBS Technologies Inc. and Sky Computers Inc. have announced that they intend to give Infiniband the same prominence in embedded applications that it has already received in the corporate information technology arena.

"The value of Infiniband to the IT environment has been very clear," said Mark Pacelle, VP of marketing for Sky Computers. "But the value to the embedded community has been much less clear. We want to change that."

In a joint announcement at the Bus and Board 2003 Conference, the three companies said they will lead a newly-established embedded Infiniband subgroup within the Infiniband Trade Association. They will also create a special interest group for embedded Infiniband within the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA).

Engineers from the three companies said Infiniband makes sense for the embedded space for all the same reasons it appeals to data centers. The technology, which made its name as a unifying fabric for linking server clusters, storage, and networks, offers high bandwidth, scalability, and low CPU overhead, they said.

"In a lot of embedded applications, 70 percent to 80 percent of the CPU's computing power is burdened by TCP/IP," said Dana Krelle, VP of marketing for Mellanox Technologies. "Infiniband brings that figure down to about 5 percent and it's ten times faster."

Executives from the three companies said that the time is right for the embedded space to move to Infiniband. The technology is seen as a replacement for existing buses, such as VME and CompactPCI, which are now bumping up against performance limitations. With its 2.5Gbps bandwidth and low latency, Infiniband incorporates more performance advantages than competing bus technologies, such as Gigabit Ethernet, Rapid I/O and StarGen, they said.

"We've reached the point where this technology is deployable," said Clarence Peckham, president of the Commercial and Government Group at SBS Technologies. "The chips are ready."

SBS Technologies and Sky Computers will serve as the co-chairs for the Infiniband Trade Association's new embedded Infiniband subgroup. The Infiniband Trade Association counts more than 100 members, including such computing giants as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Sun Microsystems.

Within VITA, the new embedded Infiniband special interest group also plans to collaborate on the implementation of Infiniband specifications that are important to the embedded community.

In addition, the vendors said they plan to work with the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) in the coming months.

"The Infiniband Trade Association for the last few years has focused on the IT environment because it was a big market," said Pacelle of Sky Computers. "Now it's time to broaden that focus."

- Charles J. Murray

EE Times

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