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Voltaire Intros 10 GbE Switching in Grid Director

Voltaire has announced that it will now offer 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switching capabilities in its Grid Director multi-service switches. With 10 GbE switching, customers can take advantage of the high bandwidth, low latency characteristics of InfiniBand while at the same time integrate into existing LAN/WAN network infrastructures with no performance penalties. The integrated multi-fabric switch is designed to provide new efficiencies and cost savings for customers.

"Voltaire Grid Director switches offer customers a 'no compromise' data center," said Patrick Guay, senior vice president of marketing, Voltaire. "Rather than debate about which technology to use, Voltaire has taken the approach of developing solutions which maximize application performance regardless of the physical connection. IT can now use InfiniBand -- the best backplane technology on the market -- within the server rack and Ethernet for LAN connectivity, without sacrificing any performance and using a uniform set of management tools and protocols. This frees IT to focus on meeting the performance, scalability and reliability requirements of their applications rather than worrying about the underlying technology."

Similar to the way in which server virtualization software partitions physical servers into logical entities which improve efficiency, Voltaire switches allow users to construct multiple, logical networks which have the ability to span Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel. This is an industry first that also improves the effectiveness and ultimately the performance and manageability of applications. Using Voltaire's recently announced GridVision Enterprise service oriented infrastructure management software, virtual data centers can be formed on demand to connect any kind of physical or virtual network, storage or server resources.

Voltaire solutions are deployed in many large data centers in industries including financial services, manufacturing, government and media/entertainment.

"This solution blurs the line between InfiniBand and Ethernet," said Arun Taneja, analyst, The Taneja Group. "While InfiniBand continues to grow in the data center, Ethernet remains the pervasive technology for generic networking. With its Grid Director switches, Voltaire is enabling the creation of an extremely cost effective IT infrastructure that lets InfiniBand and Ethernet do what each does best and yet maintain transparency from the application perspective."

Voltaire's 10 GigE switching services are provided by a new line board designed for Voltaire's 96- and 288-port Grid Director switches. Leveraging a new custom switching/routing ASIC with InfiniBand and 10 GbE ports, each line board switches InfiniBand and Ethernet traffic at a rate of 10 million packets per second per port and latencies of less than 1 microsecond. Voltaire's design that embeds InfiniBand and 10 GbE core on a single chip is designed to maximize system performance. The ASIC also enables transparent layer 2, 3, and 4+ switching, virtualization and TCP/UDP offload. The solution uses industry standard protocols, does not require custom software or drivers and integrates into existing environments.

"Routing InfiniBand and Ethernet and providing layer 2-4 functionality is inherently complex and typically slow and expensive if done with CPUs," said Yaron Haviv, CTO, Voltaire. "Voltaire has always been a leader in developing innovative technology for customers who demand the best performance. We've invested in this technology to further extend our performance leadership."

Each 24 port line board supports 22 4X 10 Gb/second or 20 Gb/second InfiniBand ports and two 10 Gb/second Ethernet ports. Using a single Grid Director 288 port switch, more than 240 servers can now be connected to a high-speed InfiniBand backbone, with up to 24 aggregated 10 GbE ports connected to the network and multiple Fibre Channel ports connected to external storage. The switch can be dynamically provisioned to provide multiple virtual LAN and SAN networks spanning different interfaces. Voltaire claims that creating the same density and functionality with today's 10 GbE-only switches requires a complex and expensive configuration consisting of more than ten of the industry's largest 10 GbE director switches as well as additional Fibre Channel director switches.

"Voltaire's new multi-service switch enables us to incorporate 10 Gigabit Ethernet in our InfiniBand cluster fabric," said Glenn Newell, IT manager, Synopsys, a world leader in semiconductor design software. "This allows us to move data to and from multiple sources and locations outside of our fabric at high speeds. As a result, we can run more jobs in less time."

The 10 GbE/InfiniBand line board for Voltaire Grid Director switches will be available in Q2 2007.

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