Sunday, May 3, 2009

Voltaire Leverages InfiniBand to Reinvent Ethernet

Voltaire, which supplies high-performance InfiniBand fabrics for supercomputers, unveiled a 10 Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 core switching strategy based on Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) technology.

Voltaire's CEE leverages many of the characteristics inherent in InfiniBand to create a more scalable, lower latency, and virtualized 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric, with lower costs, power consumption and simplified management.

Voltaire said its new 10 Gigabit Ethernet architecture will be a natural extension to its family of 20 and 40 Gb/s InfiniBand switching platforms and software.

At the center of Voltaire's scale-out Ethernet architecture are new high-density Layer 2 core switches based on CEE standards that deliver a high-performance, low-latency, low power and virtualized data center fabric. Instead of using many hierarchical switching tiers, the Voltaire approach uses fewer switches and allows greater scalability while guaranteeing higher performance, simplified management and lower costs. For a customer building a 1000 node data center, this approach delivers 10X lower latency and 4X faster core performance for half the price, using 3X less power than alternative solutions.

"The current multi-tiered approach to data center Ethernet networking is expensive and outdated, lacks innovation and encourages vendor lock-in," said Ronnie Kenneth, chairman and chief executive officer, Voltaire. "With Voltaire's unique scale-out approach to Ethernet, we're simplifying and flattening the network to improve data center networking economics by orders of magnitude. Together with our server OEM partners, we're bringing new value to the customer that can translate into millions of dollars in savings for a new data center build-out."

Key characteristics of Voltaire's scale-out Ethernet fabric include:

  • Linearly Scalable -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric maintains its high performance, low costs and ease of management even when deployed in very large setups consisting of thousands of nodes.

  • Efficient -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric's optimized design uses high-density, low latency, energy-efficient and low cost Layer 2 non-blocking switches.

  • Converged -- One fabric can run LAN, IPC, and storage (including FCoE) traffic simultaneously with guaranteed service attributes and dynamic congestion management.

  • Virtualized and Service Oriented -- Voltaire's virtualization-aware scale-out Ethernet fabric provides application- and service-driven fabric monitoring and SLA enforcement.

  • Open and Standard -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric supports industry-standard servers, third party switches, management and virtualization solutions.

The detailed architecture is outlined in a new whitepaper available today, titled, "Scaling-Out Ethernet for the Data Center.".