InfiniBand switch vendors Topspin Communications and Voltaire today are expected to announce switches that expand their product lines to support bigger clustered systems. The companies say the moves will breathe new life into the high-speed I\/O switching fabric technology that failed to take off as initially expected.InfiniBand\u00a0switch vendors\u00a0Topspin Communications\u00a0and\u00a0Voltaire\u00a0today are expected to announce switches that expand their product lines to support bigger clustered systems. The companies say the moves will breathe new life into the high-speed I\/O switching fabric technology that failed to take off as initially expected.Voltaire, which offered the industry's largest InfiniBand switch with 96 ports, says it will unveil a model that will support up to 288 10G bit\/sec InfiniBand connections or 96 30G bit\/sec links. The 14U ISR 9288 is slated to be available in the third quarter and will be priced at about $700 per port, a drop from the $1,000 per port its 96 port ISR 9600 now goes for.As for Topspin, it plans to announce the Topspin 270, which will support up to 96 10G bit\/sec InfiniBand connections or up to 32 20G bit\/sec connections in a 6U chassis. The switch, which Topspin says is in trials, will be available by the end of next month. It will be priced starting at about $300 per port. A fully loaded switch with fault tolerance will cost around $1,000 per port, says Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and business development at Topspin.Both companies aim to relieve the headache of having to manage a mass of cables as customers roll out increasingly large InfiniBand clusters and find they have to deploy multiple switches.Aaron says Topspin is aiming for the "sweet spot" of clustered deployments with the Topspin 270, pointing to a recent IDC survey that found that 82% of all high-performance computing clusters are 96 nodes or fewer.Arun Jain, vice president of marketing at Voltaire, says Voltaire's customers are asking for even larger switches."InfiniBand had for all practical purposes died, but it's now showing signs of revival," says Arun Taneja of Taneja Group, noting that in recent months all the major systems vendors have inked deals with Topspin to incorporate InfiniBand features in their servers."With companies coming out with larger switches, it means customers are using InfiniBand to build larger and larger clusters, and that's a good sign," he says.Matt Leininger, computer scientist and principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., says the lab likes InfiniBand because it offers the same type of open, commodity features as Ethernet, but delivers the high bandwidth, low latency and low CPU overhead capabilities that clusters need - and Ethernet can't provide.Today, Sandia runs a 128-node InfiniBand cluster using a 96-port Voltaire switch and a 32-port Infinicon switch. It plans to bring in Voltaire's ISR 9288 to reduce the number of switches and support the cluster as it grows."We want to have all the nodes on a single switch," Leininger says. "It just makes it much easier to manage. You have much lower failure rates [because you aren't dealing with device cables], and you don't have as many cables."