Intel was not allowed to bury Omni-Path and created a company to develop it

Intel was not allowed to bury Omni-Path and created a company to develop it
As you may remember, a little more than a year ago, Intel management decided to abandon the development of a fundamentally new interconnect — the Omni-Path bus. Development of the second generation of the OPA200 bus with a 200 Gbit/s bandwidth was stopped. Intel has surrendered to the market with its massive interest in Ethernet and InfiniBand. But the company's core employees did not give up and managed to separate the technology and related assets into a separate independent company. The Omni-Path bus will live!

According to sources, a new company Cornelis Networks came out of the shadows yesterday. Cornelis Networks was created by three leading Intel developers who worked on the Omni-Path bus as part of the microprocessor giant. The head of Cornelis Networks was Phil Murphy, one of the architects of the new bus and former CEO of the interface development company, which was absorbed in 2000 by QLogic. Later, QLogic sold the InfiniBand bus development Department to Intel, which transferred Murphy to the latter. In other words, this is a citizen with ambitions and company management skills, so it is not surprising that he was the head of Cornelis Networks.

The initial investment in Cornelis Networks was made by the specialized venture Fund Downing Ventures, a division of the London — based investment firm Downing LLP. The amount of funding was $20 million. Other startup investors included Chestnut Street Ventures and Intel Capital. The latter also received a stake in Cornelis Networks in exchange for the transferred rights, developments, and assets that relate to the Omni-Path bus.

On the one hand, Intel got rid of the notorious "suitcase without a handle", which is inconvenient to carry and a pity to throw away. On the other hand, according to Murphy, Intel management could not or did not see the potential of Omni-Path, which, in his opinion, it will regret. However, the technology has not been pushed back and will continue to develop through the efforts of an independent company. This, in particular, will allow developers to attract Intel's competitor, AMD. Although there is a danger that the position of NVIDIA, which bought Mellanox and got its hands on InfiniBand (and now ARM), can ruin the life of a start-up company and those who want to create products with Omni-Path.

The current InfiniBand interface allows you to organize inter-network exchange at the level of 200 Gbit/s on a single port, which Intel did not achieve with Omni-Path. But the young team, which includes 40 Intel developers, will try to resist the efforts of NVIDIA and the camp of InfiniBand supporters. And the chances of success are definitely there, since the development baggage of Omni-Path is very large, and the start of Cornelis Networks started from a good position.
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