Earlier this year, Boston-based Yankee Group issued a report, "To InfiniBand and Beyond: A Market Overview." The report painted a cautiously optimistic picture of the outlook for InfiniBand adoption over the balance of the year. The caveats which the report's author, Jamie Gruener, included were centered around the weakness of the economy and the question of whether vendors would deliver on their product timetable.
Now, several months later, Gruener and Yankee Group have revised their estimates of the market's prospects sharply downward.
Where the Yankee Group had originally forecast that the InfiniBand server market would grow to $1.7 billion by 2005, and the InfiniBand storage market would reach $450 million it now foresees growth to $851.3 million and $351 million respectively.
As the updated report explains, since that time, a number of big vendors have backed away from InfiniBand and from offering products. In particular Intel scuttled plans for specialized InfiniBand silicon and Microsoft canceled plans to offer InfiniBand support in its next server operating system, Windows .NET Server.
Gruener figures the next 6-12 months will be a crucial "make or break" time for InfiniBand if it is to ever achieve market momentum. At present there are also about 20 significant startups in the InfiniBand space. Many may be force to consolidate. That could further weaken progress since smaller companies are often the source of a market's innovations.
"There is a lot of FUD in the market right now," said Gruener. He adds, "we still hear a lot of vendors talking under cover and until they move forward there will be a challenge for InfiniBand in the short term," he said.
"Keep in mind that new technology often takes a long time to come to fruition and there is a lot of promise in InfiniBand," he added.
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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.