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Storage firms gain influence over InfiniBand

Storage companies EMC and Brocade Communications Systems join a committee working on InfiniBand, a next-generation connection technology to join server CPUs, network cards, storage systems and other components.

Storage companies EMC and Brocade Communications Systems have joined a committee working on InfiniBand, a next-generation connection technology to join server CPUs, network cards, storage systems and other components.

Brocade and EMC have become "sponsoring members" of the InfiniBand Trade Alliance, second in rank to the steering committee but still a cut above the 209 ordinary members.

Most InfiniBand founding members are server manufacturers, the companies who felt the limitations of today's communication technologies most acutely. Many existing sponsoring members are networking companies, the next industry segment to jump aboard. The new arrivals indicate the growing importance of InfiniBand to storage companies as well.

Brocade makes high-speed switches to join storage devices and servers on storage area networks (SANs), special-purpose networks devoted to storage. EMC makes the high-end storage systems that often reside on those SANs or that connect directly to servers.

In addition, Agilent Technologies joined as a sponsoring member, the trade association said. Agilent, a spinoff of Hewlett-Packard, is one of several companies making the chips that power InfiniBand components. One type of product it's making joins InfiniBand networks to storage area networks.

InfiniBand, while arriving more slowly than hoped, is expected to remake high-end computing systems as companies split apart computing functions--processors, storage, networking--that once were housed inside a single box.

The seven steering committee members are IBM, Intel, Dell, Compaq, HP, Sun and Microsoft. The new sponsoring members join 3Com, Adaptec, Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies, Hitachi, Fujitsu-Siemens and NEC.