IBM Plans InfiniBand Chips to Link Servers for Higher Performance, Resource Sharing


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EAST FISHKILL, N.Y - 20 Jun 2000: -- IBM today announced it is developing a series of chips to help link multiple computer systems and peripherals like hard disk drives to work together as a single high-performance server.

The chips will be based on a technology called InfiniBand(TM) an emerging standard being developed by an independent industry body called the InfiniBand Trade Association. Led by IBM and Intel, the initiative is supported by major manufacturers of computers, peripheral equipment and networking gear. The InfiniBand standard is intended to make these products work more easily with one another to enhance performance, reliability and sharing of data -- features required to support performance-hungry applications like those that combine voice, data and video on the Internet.

IBM is sharing preliminary specifications on their InfiniBand-based chips with system developers to allow them to begin designing systems based on this initial offering. The association's final specification is targeted for release later this year; IBM expects its supporting series of chip products to become available beginning sometime next year.

"IBM has been a driving force in defining the InfiniBand technology; now we intend to help manufacturers put it into practice," said Bruce Beers, server business line vice president, IBM Microelectronics Division. "IBM is leveraging its extensive mainframe chip technology experience to bring high-bandwidth capability to the industry-standard space."

The three initial products under development by IBM are:

- Host Channel Adapter (HCA): to provide dual x4 InfiniBand attachments for current PCI-X based server systems, allowing system builders to take advantage of InfiniBand technology with existing chipsets;

- Target Channel Adapter (TCA): to provide a x4 InfiniBand attachment for current PCI-X based peripherals, allowing peripheral manufacturers to connect existing products to InfiniBand without major redesign;

- Switch: to provide simultaneous communication between up to 8 servers and peripherals using x4 InfiniBand technology.

"InfiniBand is the right technological advance, emerging at the right time and for all the right reasons," said industry analyst, Jonathan Eunice of Illuminata. "The InfiniBand Architecture is the industry's answer to the growing I/O problem."

The new specification will be capable of delivering a channel-based, switched-fabric technology that is quickly being adopted by the entire industry. IBM's technology prowess coupled with the InfiniBand architecture brings promise of greater performance, lower latency, easier and faster sharing of data, built-in security and quality of service, as well as improved usability. The new form factor is intended to make it far easier to add, remove and upgrade than today's shared-bus I/O cards.

Products based on InfiniBand Architecture are expected to be available starting in 2001. Customers can obtain more information by locating and contacting their local IBM sales office at: http://www.chips.ibm.com/support/howtobuy.html.

IBM Microelectronics is a key contributor to IBM's role as the world's premier information technology supplier. IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services. Its superior integrated solutions can be found in many of the world's best-known electronic brands. More information about IBM Microelectronics can be found at: http://www.chips.ibm.com.

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