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 Wikibon.org 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?

About John Furrier

Founder and CEO of SiliconAngle.com.