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IBTA Updates InfiniBand Architecture Specification Volume 2

The InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) has launched release 1.3 of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification Volume 2, which defines the InfiniBand input/output architecture for interconnecting servers, communications infrastructure equipment, storage, and embedded systems. The new release enhances interoperability between devices and cables, and introduces improved data transfer speeds of 56 and 168 Gbps, according to IBTA.

InfiniBand architecture is intended to carry multiple traffic types, such as clustering, communications, storage, and management traffic, over a single connection. The updated specification provides a low-latency, high-bandwidth interconnect solution with low processing overhead, according to IBTA. "IBTA's new InfiniBand Architecture Specification delivers substantial performance gains while preserving device, switch, and cable interoperability," said Bill Magro, co-chair of the IBTA Technical Working Group, in a prepared statement.

Key features of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification Volume 2, Release 1.3 include:

  • Improved testing methods for quad data rate (QDR) and fourteen data rate (FDR) speeds;
  • Improved speed for faster data transfer and higher performance;
  • Support for speeds from single data rate (SDR) 10 Gbps to FDR 56 Gbps;
  • Increased efficiency and robustness; and
  • Support for actively managed passive and active copper and optical cables.

According to IBTA, this specification also "lays the groundwork for enhanced data rate (EDR) to emerge in 2013-2014."

"With the majority of the world's fastest computer systems currently utilizing InfiniBand, this new specification will play an important role in advancing computing capabilities at the high end and into the enterprise data center," said Mike Matchett, senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group, in a prepared statement.

According to IBTA, more than 75 representatives from more than two dozen technology companies within the IBTA Electro-Mechanical Working Group (EWG) contributed to the new specification, and more than 25 hardware vendors have built cables for the new specification.

The full specification is available at

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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