Q

InSpeed technology

Vixel's InSpeed technology. Compaq recently announced that it will be using this technology in its future high-end products. Do see HDS benefiting from InSpeed integration?

For those of you unfamiliar with what Inspeed is, it is crossbar switch-based architecture that uses proprietary loop port logic for device connectivity. It can be implemented all the way down to a single ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) that can provide a "storage switch on a chip". Used internally in storage arrays, this technology may increase connectivity and throughput to Fibre-based disks.

Hitachi has been using similar crossbar switching technology inside the storage arrays since the inception of the Lightning product architecture. Inspeed has some cool capabilities that may be of use for other vendors to catch up. I think it may be advantageous for other storage vendors to follow suit with switch-based architecture, as the scalability of that design is usually better than existing bus-based designs. You will find that similar technology is also being used in server designs in order to scale multi-processor based servers using non-blocking crossbar switches internally. Such designs can be seen in AlphaServers from HP/Compaq and Starfire/StarCat servers from Sun. Using scalable switching servers with InfiniBand or similar I/O methods connected to a switched fabric storage network, which in turn is connected to scalable crossbar switch-based storage, produces a very capable "stack" for data access and processing.

If you read my tip on where I think the industry is heading (Part I, Part II, Part III), you will see that I agree that this is where I think the computer industry, in general, is headed.

Chris

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This was first published in July 2002

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