linuxdlsazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.


Much like many an interesting company in the technology space, Topspin Communications proved too compelling to stand alone for long. In 2005, Cisco acquired the InfiniBand switching specialist, in the hope that the company would give Cisco a stronger foothold in the grid computing market, and add to its sizable data center offerings. Industry insiders have also suspected that Topspin technology will play a part in Cisco’s telepresence initiative.

Bought for $250 million, Topspin is one of only a handful of companies that made InfiniBand switch fabric architecture into a specialty. The technology makes it possible to link servers together in a way that’s been touted by Intel and IBM, and led Topspin to ink distribution and partnership deals with Sun Microsystems, Dell, and NEC, among others.

It’s worth watching to see if Cisco will fold the InfiniBand prowess and other Topspin expertise into its recently announced telepresence product, which involves three large-screen TVs, a high speed network, and a huge pricetag of $300,000. The initiative would have to be bolstered by some major network power, and what could be better for that than a technology that harnesses numerous components of an architecture like blades, grid computing, and clustered applications?

Beyond the Cisco telepresence push, InfiniBand is making more of a mark in the supercomputing arena. According to interconnect product vendor Mellanox, InfiniBand is the fastest-growing cluster interconnect, and is in 82 of the supercomputers on the Top500.org list in November. Considering that it was only in 40 systems when the June 2006 list came out, that makes for a pretty zesty growth rate. Can Topspin whirl Cisco’s pricey and futuristic teleconference effort, and push InfiniBand into even more supercomputers? Stay tuned.

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