Is Mellanox Oracle’s Networking B*tch?

image I was reading the recent QLogic news covered by SiliconANGLE today titled– QLogic Grows InfiniBand Reach, Teams with NNS. Our partner has the detailed analysis of the QLogic news and the events at the International Supercomputer Conference (ISC’11) in Germany.  Link to ISC’11 event is here.

However, I had a different angle on the QLogic news after seeing the action at HP Discover, ISC’11, and the analysis by David Floyer.  I instantly thought about Oracle and their relationship with Mellanox.

Oracle doesn’t need to buy Brocade or partner with Cisco -  they have Mellanox.    Mellanox is quietly becoming Oracle’s networking bitch.  Is Mellanox selling out to Oracle and selling out on their core installed base?

Oracle’s 10% ownership in Mellanox and influence as a customer appears to be guiding the company’s strategy; perhaps to the detriment of other customers. Specifically, Mellanox is taking an integrated/converged Infiniband/Ethernet approach which works well in a general purpose Oracle environment.

If this continues to develop where Mellanox goes deeper with Oracle, the Mellanox traditional supercomputer Infiniband customers will probably not be as well served by this approach as they are looking for best-in-class Infiniband latency.

This strategy is risky for Mellanox because it potentially opens the door for competitors such as QLogic.

Mellanox newest FDR InfiniBand technology (56Gb/sec) announced at ISC’11 has higher latency than previous generation QLogic QDR InfiniBand technology. When side by side in a market bake-off QLogic won.

Ever since the Oracle money injection, Mellanox seem to have lost their way in HPC InfiniBand – trying to please their Oracle masters has led to compromises on Infiniband – such as going after low latency Ethernet instead of sticking to their knitting with low latency InfiniBand.

Going to be tough for Mellanox to compete with Cisco/HP in traditional networking switch marketplace. Is Oracle master plan to buy Mellanox at 1 cent on the $ to jump-start networking capability for converged infrastructure?

John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.


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  1. I was actually at ISC’11, so had the chance to look on things in more details and not just read on them from the other side of the world.  
    The Mellanox FDR switch latency as been published is only slightly higher than the QDR switch but still much less than the QLogic QDR switch. And it is running in FDR speed…
    Second, as I have learned from the InfiniBand session at ISC’11, FDR InfiniBand is now more efficient fabric as the link level encoding was changed from 8/10 bits to 64/66 bits. Any person with little technical background will tell you that this change will cause a small latency increase, so the increase in the FDR switches makes sense. I bet that once QLogic will release FDR switches (god knows when) their latency will be higher as well.
    and last, it seems that Mellanox have reduced dramatically their latency from the FDR adapters, so overall latency in the fabric has decreased. Seems that they have good focus on HPC – not only the first to release FDR InfiniBand, but to decrease the latency and other HPC goodies.

  2. I do not appreciate bloggers that use bad language. If you suffer from limited vocabulary, don’t blog.

  3. Pat: first I didn’t actually use the word but even if I did the word has new meaning in today’s modern culture.  Sorry you were offended.

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