31 July 2002 The chances of Infiniband developing into a mainstream network connection technology were all but killed off when software giant Microsoft confirmed it would not support the technology. Infiniband had been hotly tipped to become a universal feature of servers, particularly for fast data transfer across storage networks.
Infiniband was developed to replace the current peripheral component interconnect (PCI) architecture that connects computers to a network and peripheral devices. Proponents of Infiniband claim it can deliver data transfer speeds of around six gigabytes per second, which is about 50 times faster than a PCI connection.
Microsoft’s decision follows chip manufacturer Intel’s move in May 2002 to drop support for Infiniband. Microsoft had planned to build Infiniband capability into the next version of its .Net Server to deliver web services – the new programming approach to discover and delivery software modules as service over the Internet.
Without the support of Microsoft or Intel, suppliers of Infiniband technology – such as Banderacom, Crossroads Systems, Infinicon and Mellanox Technologies – will find it difficult to sell their products. Analysts cite other examples of technologies, such as the Universal Serial Bus (USB), that failed to take off on Windows until Microsoft supported it.
Microsoft said it was dropping Infiniband due to a lack of demand from customers. It added that users were more interested in development of Gigabit Ethernet technologies, such as the Internet small computer system interface (iSCSI) protocol, a storage-networking standard that transports data over IP networks.