Feeds

Mellanox rides networking upgrade wave

QDR InfiniBand, 10 GE taking off

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The quad data rate InfiniBand and 10 Gigabit Ethernet upgrade cycles within big data centers are well under way as the global economy continues to thaw and companies like Mellanox are benefiting from a strengthening upgrade cycle.

Mellanox, which makes InfiniBand silicon and switches as well as InfiniBand and Ethernet adapters, saw revenues jump by 60.5 per cent in the first quarter, to $36.2m. And even though research, development, sales, and marketing costs all rose sharply, revenues climbed a lot faster than costs, so Mellanox was able to more than double net earnings in the quarter to $5.2m.

Mellanox ended the quarter with $217.4m in cash and short-term investments, plenty of cash to continue to do the development necessary to compete in the cut-throat networking space. That's also enough money for the company to jump into the Ethernet switching market, should it decide that is a good idea. But thus far, Mellanox seems content to make InfiniBand chips (which it sells to Voltaire and uses in its own switching products), make InfiniBand-Ethernet gateways, and make ConnectX adapters that support InfiniBand and Ethernet protocols.

The cheapest way to enter the 10 GE switch market might be to acquire Voltaire, which is within Mellanox' reach financially given that Voltaire has a current market capitalization of $124m and had about $44.6m in cash and equivalents at the end of the December quarter. With Voltaire not profitable in both 2008 and 2009 (on an annual basis), there may never be a better time to buy Voltaire. And if Mellanox can't see that, maybe the private equity firm, Garnett & Helfrich Capital, behind Blade Network Technologies can see it and will make a move.

In a separate announcement, Mellanox said that its 10 GE and 40 GE adapters for servers will support the new RDMA over Converged Ethernet protocol that the InfiniBand Trade Association announced earlier this week. The RoCE protocol basically uses a tweaked version of the InfiniBand drivers from the OpenFabrics Alliance's, called the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) collectively, to allow InfiniBand's Remote Direct Memory Access protocol - the secret sauce that gives InfiniBand such low latency - to run on a server but communicate through Ethernet adapters that support lossless data transmission.

This is yet another key feature that InfiniBand had all to itself for many years, giving it its high-performance niche. While RoCE will never offer the same performance of native InfiniBand, if it gets close, Mellanox may find itself wishing it had jumped into the 10 GE switching market when it had the cash and the chance. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?