VARs Use Voltaire VMA to Battle Technology 'Arms Race'

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Solution providers find Voltaire's new high-performance switches offer a competitive advantage in the technology 'arms race.'

Originally developed for use in financial services, Voltaire's high-performance switches and InfiniBand technology can help VARs bring increased networking speed and power to customers looking for an edge over their competition.

Voltaire's Grid Director is a  high-bandwidth, low-latency switch based on the InfiniBand standard. It can be used to create high-performance computing clusters from industry-standard hardware, says Patrick Guay, senior vice president of marketing at Voltaire.

The company also manufactures Fibre Channel and Ethernet switches, and recently announced Voltaire Messaging Accelerator (VMA), which improves the performance of any application that needs high packets-per-second rates, low latency, low CPU utilization and increased scalability, Guay says. 

"Voltaire technology and the VMA has a wide-array of uses including medical imaging systems, radar and other defense systems, as well as for market data applications in the financial services industry," Guay says. Voltaire's solutions are also more readily available to VARs working with major vendors, he adds.

"We go to market through major OEMs like IBM, Hewlett Packard and Sun, so we now have a generally available software that any VAR can use to improve the performance of customers' networks," Guay says.

Logicalis is one Hewlett-Packard VAR who's been able to do just that.  Though Logicalis as a company is considered an "IT generalist," Ed Hynes, Account Manager at Logicalis, says that using HP solutions and Voltaire's InifiniBand standard as well as prior generations of the VMA have helped the company thrive in financial services.

"Our customers view themselves as being in an IT arms race; they actually use that term a lot," says Hynes.  He says that in the financial market data and hedge fund space where Logicalis plays, that customer will go to incredible lengths to get a competitive advantage by having VARs develop unique cocktails of technology. 

Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner, says financial services firms place a premium on the shortest amount of time it takes to execute a trade.  He says the financial upside is huge if one firm can receive, analyze and act on financial data ahead of its competitors.  That's the beauty of the Voltaire switches and InfiniBand technology.

"The highest bandwidth, lowest latency and fastest time to completion is key for these firms.  If they can get trade information done even just ten seconds faster than their competitors, it make an enormous difference," Skorupa says.

"Voltaire technology is on all of our customers' lists," says Hynes, adding that the VMA and InfiniBand technology has a number of applications besides use in the financial services vertical, and that Logicalis plans to go after those opportunities as well.

"We have engineers who are experts on the InfiniBand technology, and we will take that and the VMA to market in other verticals.  There's broad applicability here for any customer dealing with live, streaming data, multicast data or anyone whose competetive advantage can be measured in milliseconds of latency," he says, whether that's in the financial services industry or in healthcare or defense.

Besides offering VMA software and Voltaire switching hardware as part of larger networking solutions, Guay says there's huge potential for VARs to reap integration and customization services revenue as well.

"As much as we want these solutions to be 'out of the box,' we understand we're dealing with some pretty complex technology.  So, we're hoping VARs can make inroads with hardware, software and gain services revenue, too," he says. 

Voltaire's VMA is currently available and is compatible with SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time from Novell, which works with Voltaire Messaging Accelerator to reduce latency bottlenecks on both the operating system level and in the data center, according to Novell. 
Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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