Intel agrees to buy Qlogic InfiniBand assets for $125M

One more step ahead in Intel's dream to achieve exascale computing.

Intel on Monday announced that it had agreed to buy parts of Qlogic's InfiniBand business as the chip maker looks to provide storage and server bandwidth that will allow systems to achieve exaflop computing.

In a separate statement, Qlogic said Intel was acquiring its InfiniBand assets in a cash transaction worth US$125 million. The purchase is expected to close this quarter after closing conditions are met.

InfiniBand is networking technology that provides a high-bandwidth link between servers or storage systems. The acquisition will help expand Intel's networking portfolio and provide technology to push the internal bandwidth inside systems as processor performance increases and server performance scales.

The chip maker has been releasing new processors and equipment needed to expand supercomputing speeds. Intel hopes that systems can achieve exaflop supercomputing performance, which it says is about 100 times as fast as today's fastest supercomputers, by 2018.

"The technology and expertise from Qlogic provide important assets to provide the scalable system fabric needed to execute on this vision," said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's Data Center and Connected System Group, in a statement.

Qlogic offers InfiniBand adapters, switches, software and other products. The sale of the InfiniBand assets will help Qlogic focus on converged networking, Ethernet and storage area networking (SAN) products, the company said in a statement.

Intel has been building its networking portfolio as it tries to expand its offerings for the data center. Intel in July signed an agreement to acquire networking chip company Fulcrum, which made 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switch products.

It makes sense for Intel to acquire Qlogic's InfiniBand assets, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research.

InfiniBand ties the network and computers together, and Intel will be able to extend its offerings for high-performance and cluster computing customers.

"I don't think [InfiniBand] is a huge growth market, but it's here to stay," Kerravala said.

The acquisition also lets Intel go down the converged path as Qlogic's offerings could be used at chip or the rack level.

Intel said a "significant number" of Qlogic's InfiniBand employees will accept offers and join Intel.

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