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Mellanox Enhances Virtualization Return-on-Investment with Release of InfiniBand Drivers for VMware vSphere 4

Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end connectivity solutions for data center servers and storage systems, today announced the immediate availability of InfiniBand driver support for VMware vSphere™ 4, providing IT end-users the compelling choice of deploying field-proven InfiniBand-based unified and virtualized I/O in cloud environments. Compatible with Mellanox’s industry-leading ConnectX and InfiniHost® III line of adapter cards, the InfiniBand software drivers are based on OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) version 1.4.1, enabling broad interoperability with other operating systems and the ecosystem of OEM supplied servers, switches, gateways and storage systems.

Mellanox server and storage adapter cards enable customers to deploy the most efficient and proven unified fabric technology that seamlessly connects any server to any SAN storage and LAN environments. By supporting VMware vSphere, Mellanox extends the value of its adapter card products into customers’ next-generation cloud computing and virtualized data centers.

The InfiniBand driver provides additional feature enhancements to VMware vSphere by leveraging InfiniBand’s built-in reliability and performance capabilities to enable the highest number of VMs per core available over any standard network today. Features like VMware VMotion™ and VMware High Availability (HA) gain further performance improvements resulting in increased data center efficiency.

“Virtualization is a key technology lowering data center total cost of ownership while enabling new cost-effective cloud computing services,” said Sujal Das, sr. director of product management at Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox ConnectX and InfiniHost III adapter cards leverage the advanced data center virtualization and high availability features of VMware vSphere™ 4. Running VMware vSphere 4 over higher bandwidth, lower latency and extremely reliable networking, optimizes the overall performance of the data center infrastructure and enables new cost-effective system architectures for the next generation of flexible, reliable IT services.”

“When we designed our VMware vSphere-based cloud appliance, large bandwidth, low latency reliability and quick access to storage were of top priorities, and for these reasons InfiniBand became our fabric of choice,” said Ismael Chang Ghalimi, CEO of Intalio. “Furthermore, InfiniBand also enables a highly secure environment since each VM can reside over a different InfiniBand Virtual LAN, providing strict isolation between VM running in the cloud. It has allowed Intalio to deliver a cutting-edge appliance to our customers that meets their growing demand for an efficient cloud computing infrastructure.”

Mellanox leading-edge I/O virtualization features include support for hardware assisted direct VM access, VM to VM switching, advanced memory management, filtering, QoS and receive side scaling features that improve overall server utilization, especially in multi-core CPU environments. Both LAN and Fibre Channel SAN traffic can be consolidated over the same InfiniBand adapter, while applications utilizing virtual NICs and HBAs within VMs can continue to run transparently.

The VMware implementation over Mellanox InfiniBand includes Virtual Intelligent Queuing (Virtual-IQ) technology, giving VMware vSphere users the flexibility for virtual consolidation of existing Ethernet and Fibre Channel (FC) links over Mellanox ConnectX InfiniBand adapters. A server running VMware vSphere typically generates five categories of traffic (VM-VM traffic, LAN traffic, SAN traffic, VMware VMotion Network, and Console Management). Virtual-IQ technology segregates all these traffic types across virtual NICs and virtual HBAs while guaranteeing programmable sustained bandwidth in both transmit and receive directions.

Virtual-IQ allows for consolidation of switch ports and cabling by using a 40Gb/s InfiniBand infrastructure while maintaining the existing Ethernet and FC-based VMware configurations and user experience. This technology enables IO consolidation by keeping the infrastructure update completely transparent to the VMware platform, enabling a 40Gb/s InfiniBand adapter to appear as a flexible number of virtual Ethernet and FC adapters. Virtual-IQ enables environments running VMware vSphere 4 to deliver the flexibility of available 40Gb/s bandwidth divided across the multiple traffic types.

Solution Availability

Available today, InfiniBand drivers for VMware vSphere 4 can be downloaded through Mellanox’s website. Technical support is provided directly by Mellanox. VMware’s support policy for configurations involving 3rd-party products is defined at http://www.vmware.com/support/policies/ThirdParty.html.

Published Monday, March 01, 2010 6:11 PM by David Marshall
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