Sun Microsystems has bought itself some negotiating muscle, picking up the rights to Dolphin's Infiniband technology. Dolphin provides the SCI (Scalable Coherent Interface) interconnects for Sun's Enterprise clusters, Fujitsu's RM600s and Data General's cc-Numa servers, and helped define the SCI spec in its early days.
Sun gains Dolphin's R&D lab in Oslo and it looks like a straightforward investment for IP rights deal.
While Sun is a member of the Infiniband steering committee, along with Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, Microsoft and of course Intel, it's probably made the least noise about the fact.
Naturally most of the noise has come from the box shifters who see a chance to build high throughput, high performance, high margin systems. With parallel buses running out of puff, and in any case, hitting a ceiling in SMP boxes with more than four CPUs, the Dells don't really have much of crack at the back end servers which at minimum requires this kind of throughput.
For the folks who are already there - like Sun Compaq, HP and IBM - the pull is massive I/O switching over optical links, and much of that has yet to be thrashed out. It's here that HP, with its telco background, has been garnering most of the limelight, to Sun's chagrin. The blurb is short on figures, but hints that Dolphin gains a foot up into the telco business through the deal. ®