InfiniBand: QLogic snags SilverStorm

By Ann Silverthorn

—QLogic this week announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase SilverStorm Technologies, a networking hardware and software vendor that manufactures InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs). QLogic will pay approximately $60 million in cash for SilverStorm and will provide more details on the acquisition during its second-quarter fiscal 2007 earnings conference on October 24.

A privately held company, SilverStorm was founded in 2000 and is based in King of Prussia, PA, with offices in California, Oregon, Germany, Singapore, and China. In May 2005, it changed its name from InfiniCon to SilverStorm to reflect its interest in other technologies besides InfiniBand.

SilverStorm specializes in high-performance cluster computing interconnect solutions, including multi-protocol fabric directors and InfiniBand fabric edge switches and HCAs.

SilverStorm's line of HCAs can be installed in standard servers, blade servers, storage devices, and communications platforms. The SilverStorm 7000 PCI-X and 9000 PCI-Express HCAs create a high-performance channel between the host device and InfiniBand fabric. With its single-data rate (SDR) HCAs at 10Gbps and its double-data rate (DDR) HCAs at 20Gbps, the company claims up to 20 times the bandwidth and 10% of the internal latency of traditional Gigabit Ethernet server interfaces.

SilverStorm is on the steering committee of the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) and is a member of the OpenFabrics Alliance (formerly OpenIB).

This week's announcement marks the second InfiniBand-related play for QLogic this year. In February, the company announced it would acquire PathScale for approximately $109 million (see "QLogic acquires PathScale for InfiniBand"). PathScale's InfiniPath HTX InfiniBand HCAs are now offered by QLogic.

At the Intel Developer Forum in September, QLogic demonstrated interoperability between its InfiniPath InfiniBand adapters and Ethernet networks running the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) of Linux.

InfiniBand, which burst onto the storage scene in the early 2000s just before the technology and economic downturn, was a victim of unfortunate timing. Fibre Channel was getting its legs at that time and Ethernet was not about to roll over and die. InfiniBand didn't die either; rather, it found a niche in high-performance computing (HPC) environments. Where InfiniBand was once hailed as the ultimate high-speed interconnect to unite server and storage networks, it hasn't gained a substantial foothold in the storage market yet. However, if moves by storage vendors like QLogic continue to throw the spotlight on InfiniBand, it could eventually become a driving force in storage networking.

For more information on InfiniBand, see "Is InfiniBand poised for a comeback?"

This article was originally published on October 06, 2006