High-Performance Move: Intel To Buy QLogic InfiniBand Business

Intel aims to improve its high-performance computing, high-speed networking business with its planned acquisition of QLogic's InfiniBand business.

Intel and QLogic Monday unveiled the pending deal, under which Intel would gain product lines, other assets and a "significant" number of people related to the InfiniBand business from QLogic.

Storage networking vendor QLogic reported the deal to be worth $125 million in cash.

Intel plans to use the InfiniBand technology as part of its networking and high-performance computing technologies. InfiniBand combines server-to-server and server-to-storage data traffic into a single connection and can replace technologies such as server clustering, Fibre Channel or iSCSI, and IP networking.

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The move comes as Intel is looking to make its mark in the high-performance computing industry. The company in November introduced a series of motherboards and chassis targeting this part of the market. It also fits with Intel's recent decision to develop fabric architectures that will help achieve ExaFLOP-per-second performance by 2018, an Intel spokesperson told CRN. ExaFLOP/s is 1 quintillion computer operations per second, or about 100 times the performance of today's fastest supercomputers, according to Intel.

Intel currently offers InfiniBand technology via partnerships with third-party providers including QLogic and Mellanox, the spokesperson said. Those third-party relationships should continue even after Intel closes the QLogic InfiniBand business acquisition, which is expected this quarter, the spokesperson said.

Intel declined to discuss how many QLogic personnel it would hire as a result of the acquisition.

For QLogic, the sale of its InfiniBand business to Intel provides an opportunity to better focus on its storage networking business, including Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and converged networking adapters, switches, routers and ASICs.

“The sale of these InfiniBand assets will benefit our shareholders by enabling us to provide better focus and greater investment in growth opportunities for the data center with our converged networking, enterprise Ethernet, and storage area networking products,” said Simon Biddiscombe, president and CEO of QLogic, in a statement.

A QLogic spokesperson declined to discuss whether the company's InfiniBand business was profitable but did say it was growing. However, the spokesperson said, the company had to maintain separate teams for its InfiniBand and other technologies, which was not the best use of company resources.