IBM and Topspin Unveil New InfiniBand Solution for IBM BladeCenter

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PITTSBURGH - 09 Nov 2004: IBM and Topspin Communications, a leader in high-performance grid and utility computing, today announced a jointly developed InfiniBand I/O solution for the leading blade, IBM eServer BladeCenter. The Topspin solution for BladeCenter will offer 80-gigabit connectivity to the chassis, remote direct memory access (RDMA), and an ability to consolidate clustering, LAN, and SAN traffic from the chassis over a single I/O fabric, increasing throughput and reducing costs.

InfiniBand, a standard-server interconnect and I/O technology, creates a unified high-performance fabric to share I/O interconnects among many servers, enabling clustered servers to access shared resources. With InfiniBand I/O, clustered industry-standard servers can achieve the greater performance, scalability and manageability found in the high-performance datacenter.

Increasingly, clients are creating high-performance environments by clustering BladeCenter systems, as seen in the Supercomputing Top500 list released at this conference. In less than two years, BladeCenter has made an impressive mark with 42 BladeCenter systems listed in the November 8 list. Two outstanding examples of supercomputers built on the Power-processor based BladeCenter systems include Seoul National University, one of the largest Linux clusters in Asia, and Spanish Ministry of Education and Science's "MareNostrum," now the most powerful supercomputer in Europe.

Similarly, in the first five quarters of shipping its InfiniBand-based server switching products to HPC and enterprise customers, Topspin has seen its volumes ramp to over 10,000 switch ports a quarter, demonstrating the rapid adoption of its technology.

"Adding InfiniBand's open interconnectivity to BladeCenter will further accelerate the incredible success BladeCenter now enjoys in the high-performance computing environment and commercial marketplaces," said Jeff Benck, vice president, IBM eServer BladeCenter. "With our new BladeCenter solution with Topspin, we're delivering a standard technology with unmatched bandwidth and latency performance, and powerful virtualization that also provides clients with new ways to lower their total cost of ownership."

The new BladeCenter options include the Topspin IB Switch Module and a Topspin IB HCA Expansion Card. With Topspin's external server switch portfolio and innovative VFrame(TM) server virtualization software suite, the integrated solution provides virtualization of the BladeCenter's I/O, and the ability to provision application and operating system images to server blades on demand. Customers may benefit by consolidating all of the I/O and storage requirements to their servers across a single Topspin multi-fabric interconnect. This allows for significant cost reduction from fewer adapters, cables, and Ethernet or Fibre Channel switch ports. Combined with BladeCenter's existing integration of multiple data center elements, clients can achieve significant simplification of their data center environment.

"This is a great milestone in our ongoing relationship with IBM," said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO, Topspin Communications. "InfiniBand has now become the widely recognized high-performance interconnect standard. Combining Topspin's InfiniBand-based interconnect and virtualization capabilities with IBM's fastest growing server line, BladeCenter, will certainly extend that trend. As an open-industry standard, InfiniBand is capable of expanding mainstream business computing by unleashing these capabilities."

The Topspin InfiniBand I/O solution for BladeCenter will be on display at the SC2004 conference from November 8 to 12 in the IBM booth, #909. The joint demo will also showcase interoperability between IBM Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator and Topspin's VFrame virtualization software provisioning applications, I/O and storage to blades on demand.

IBM has offered Topspin's InfiniBand solutions since April as IBM Server Proven program for use with IBM xSeries rack-based servers, such as the x336 and x346, IBM eServer 325/326, and the IBM eServer Cluster 1350. Today's new integrated solutions leverage the same Topspin hardware and software technologies already tested and shipping with other IBM servers, now integrated into BladeCenter options. Associated aspects to the solution are the Topspin 90, Topspin 120, Topspin 270, and Topspin 360 server switches, Topspin's Ethernet and Fibre Channel Gateway Modules, and Topspin's VFrame virtualization software, available through the Vendor Logo Hardware program and directly from Topspin.

The BladeCenter with the Topspin InfiniBand I/O solution will have general availability in December 2004.

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