IBM mainframe adds Gigabit Ethernet, InfiniBand links

New Gigabit Ethernet hardware for LAN connectivity and new InfiniBand coupling links will be available May 30

Ten weeks after unveiling the System z10 mainframe, IBM this week announced that new Gigabit Ethernet hardware for LAN connectivity and new InfiniBand coupling links will be available May 30.

Mainframe LAN connectivity is being provided with the OSA-Express3, which includes a new microprocessor and PCI adapter "designed for high-speed communication in the enterprise backbone or between campuses, to connect server farms, or to consolidate file servers onto z10 EC (enterprise class)," IBM says in an announcement to customers.

OSA-Express3 improves access to intranets and the Internet with latency reductions of up to 45 percent compared with the predecessor OSA-Express2, IBM says. Throughput will generally be either triple or quadruple that of the OSA-Express2.

"OSA-Express3 and the operating systems share a common storage area for memory-to-memory communication, reducing system overhead and improving performance," IBM says.

There are three new cards in the OSA-Express3 line: the 10 Gigabit Ethernet LR (long reach); the Gigabit Ethernet SX (short wavelength); and the Gigabit Ethernet LX (long wavelength). Port density is doubled, with the 10 Gigabit Ethernet LR having two ports per feature, and the Gigabit Ethernet SX and LX cards each having four ports per feature.

This gives customers a maximum of 96 ports, IBM said.

IBM's announcement also discusses new InfiniBand coupling links that allow separation of 150 meters with high-bandwidth fiber optic cables containing 12 pairs of fiber. This means there are 12 "lanes," with 12 fibers for sending traffic and another 12 fibers for receiving traffic. Each lane can deliver data at rates up to 5Gbps, while letting data center managers consolidate multiple ISC-3 links into fewer cables. New hardware to support the InfiniBand links will also be available May 30.

Pricing was not detailed in the announcement.

In conjunction with announcing new InfiniBand links and OSA-Express3, IBM said it is bolstering its services to help data center managers avoid the pitfalls of improper planning.

The service enhancements include "improving the design of linkages between servers, storage, switches, and WDM fabric connections, and offering additional pre-installation connectivity planning support," IBM says.

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