IBM Mothballs QLogic InfiniBand Switches, Power Systems Drives
November 15, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
For many years, IBM didn’t have its own network and storage switching business, and it OEMed or resold products from others, including gear from Cisco Systems, Brocade Communications, Voltaire (which was eaten by Mellanox Technologies two years ago), Juniper, and Blade Network Technologies. Since that time, Cisco has jumped into the server biz, IBM bought BNT, and Intel bought the InfiniBand biz from QLogic (among many other deals that did not directly affect Big Blue).
Now, IBM is paring back on its catalog a bit, and it looks like QLogic is being shown the door on Power Systems machinery. Last week, in announcement letter 912-222, IBM said that it would stop selling three of QLogic’s (now Intel’s) 20Gb/sec (DDR) InfiniBand switches as of December 28. This includes the 24-port 9024CU, the 48-port 9040, and 144-port 9120 switches. And on February 8 next year, IBM is cutting the 40 Gb/sec (QDR) InfiniBand switches with the QLogic brand out of the catalog, too. This includes the 36-port 12200, the 72-port 12800-040, and the 324-port 12800-180. IBM needs to sell InfiniBand switches (they are part of its HPC clusters as well as its PureScale database clusters), and with QLogic and Mellanox being the only two suppliers in the market, IBM must be leaning towards Mellanox. There’s no indication that Big Blue is doing this, but it would be interesting to see IBM buying SwitchX-2 merchant silicon from Mellanox and craft its own switches. By the way, IBM is still selling Intel/QLogic InfiniBand products with its System x and iDataPlex servers.
In the same announcement letter, IBM said it was going to stop selling its feature 3677 139.5 GB, feature 3678 283.7 GB, and feature 3658 428 GB disk drives. This disks spin at 15K RPM, and are being replaced by three other drives, including different 139 GB and 283 GB drives known as features 1888 and 1879, respectively, and which both spin at 15K RPM. Interestingly, IBM is replacing the 428 GB disk that spins at 15K RPM with a 571 GB drive that rotates at only 10K RPM, which is known as feature 1916.