Infiniband 1.0 Coming in Early Fall

The first version of the Infiniband I/O technology, expected to replace PCI bus devices that direct information traffic in today’s servers, will be released to the computer industry in the end of September or the beginning of October, according to Dr. Tom Bradicich, co-chairman of the Infiniband Trade Association.

"The industry has been waiting for this; there’s a lot of excitement for it to come out," said Bradicich, who also serves as IBM Corp.’s director of Netfinity architecture and technology. He said an Infiniband Trade Association Developers Conference will follow the public release of the 1.0 specification early in the fourth quarter.

Bradicich said a beta version had been released to the 165 member companies of the ITA, which returned more than 300 comments to the steering committee regarding the product. The steering committee consists of representatives from IBM, Intel Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. He also announced the creation of a compatibility/interoperability work group to ensure the compliance of Infiniband products. Compatibility with varying vendor implementations has been the primary issue concerning Infiniband critics.

Bradicich said the cost objective for the initial Infiniband release is to match the entry-level cost of a PCI bus. Costs will vary according to scale needs with this highly scalable product.

Infiniband was born last August out of interest in providing higher levels of enterprise capability for the Intel server, where I/O systems have developed bottlenecks. The concept abandons the PCI bus system in favor of a switched-fabric channel system

For more information, visit www.infinibandta.org.