InfiniBand – A Mellanox-invented high-speed, channel-based, lossless networking technology used in high-performance computing scenarios. It has high throughput and low latency and is an alternative to Ethernet. With InfiniBand, data can be transferred directly to and from a storage device on a system to userspace on another system, without the overhead of a system call needing CPU processing. InfiniBand adapters handle the networking protocols. It is different with Ethernet where the host CPU has to process the networking protocols. InfiniBand data tranfers don’t require host CPU involvement.
While Ethernet uses a shared medium concept InfiniBand is based on a switched fabric network architecture. Each receiving and transmitting device has a dedicated path to any other such device. This prevents network collisions and helps create predictable performance.
InfiniBand standard are looked after by the InfiniBand Trade Association and it has overseen a steady set of speed increases, termed xDR for <letter> Data Rate, as a table indicates;
As of Oct 2023 the XDR standard is being finalised and GDR is a roadmap item.