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Voltaire Relieves InfiniBand-to-Ethernet Pain

Says the Grid Director represents the highest bandwidth connectivity to Ethernet-based storage

IT Strategy on Ulitzer

Voltaire Tuesday whisked the covers off the first 40 Gb/s InfiniBand switch with an integrated low-latency hardware-based Ethernet gateway so traffic can move seamlessly to and from Ethernet-based networks.

The compact 1U dingus is called the Grid Director 4036E and is meant to give the company a leg up in the great financial houses where a microsecond advantage in high-frequency trading can mean millions of dollars.

See, the 4036E can accelerate market data feeds that typically run multicast traffic over 1 or 10 GigE by seamlessly mapping it to hardware-based InfiniBand multicast. And, when used with its Messaging Acceleration (VMA) software, even more latency can be pared.

Voltaire, which claims it's a game changer for traders, is also targeting the widget's sub-microsecond latency at high-performance storage and scale-out databases, say on four- to eight-node clusters.

It brags that the thing represents the highest bandwidth connectivity to Ethernet-based storage and the lowest latency for message/transaction forwarding.

The financial guys are early adopters; Voltaire is now looking at moving into the enterprise. It expects the device to increase its addressable target market by a factor of two or three.

Due out by the end of the quarter, the 4036E has 34 fully non-blocking 40 Gb/s InfiniBand ports good for 2.72 Tb/s, claims less than 100ns port-to-port latency and includes two 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports bridging traffic in under two microseconds.

The company says the magic takes the pain out of bridging from InfiniBand to Ethernet ensuring that I/O bottlenecks are removed and applications operate at maximum efficiency.

According to marketing VP Asaf Somekh, "Bridging different network protocols requires more than just converting and moving data packets. Voltaire's fourth-generation gateway silicon efficiently maps advanced features, such as accelerated multicast traffic, creating a truly seamless user experience while using standard protocols."

Not to mention that it's supposed to lower costs by saving on switches, NICs, power, cables and space. Because of its size it's considered ideal for collocation environments where real estate is at a premium.

It'll run $1,000 a port. The VMA software, which can reportedly produce a 30% performance improvement, should cost a few hundred dollars per server. Oh, yeah, and it's fully redundant.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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