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HP marries Cisco's Infiniband switches with clusters and blades

And clusters made of blades

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HP has added more Cisco networking gear options to its pre-packaged cluster product line.

First off, HP's customers can now pick up Cisco's double data rate (DDR) InfiniBand-based Server Fabric Switches (SFS). Many of you will know this Cisco kit as the hardware once sold by start-up Topspin, which Cisco swallowed in 2005. The switches should provide a nice low-latency option.

Secondly, HP's c-Class blade servers now support Cisco's InfiniBand host driver software. Three cheers for lower latency and high bandwidth once again.

"The Cisco InfiniBand HPC drivers work with the HP 4X DDR IB Mezzanine Host Channel Adapters (HCAs) within BladeSystem c-Class blade servers," the companies said. "The c-Class systems are then connected with 20 Gbps per line rate InfiniBand uplinks to SFS 7000 series InfiniBand fixed and modular switching chassis, as part of larger InfiniBand HPC clusters. These clusters enable high performance and scalability for message-passing distributed-parallel applications with all the advantages of HP BladeSystem."

HP has long supported the old Topspin gear with its clusters. So, the meat of this week's announcement seems to come from HP tying Cisco's hardware to its pre-packaged Unified Cluster Portfolio (UCP) and to its relatively new c-Class blade servers.

The UCP systems are aimed at corporate customers and researchers who want high performance computing (HPC) muscle but don't want to deal with crafting their own clusters.

"The HP 4X DDR IB Mezzanine interface card, now bundled with Cisco InfiniBand drivers, enables HP BladeSystem c-Class servers to use Cisco Linux-based Commercial IB fabrics, Cisco Linux-based Open Fabrics Enterprise Edition IB fabrics and Cisco Windows-based IB fabrics (Windows driver availability expected this fall)," the companies added. "These drivers work with the Cisco InfiniBand Fabric Manager to deliver high scalability, high performance and high reliability."

Have at it, kids. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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