The InfiniBandTM Architecture (IBA) is envisioned to be the default communication fabric for future system area networks (SAN). However, the released IBA specification outlines only higher level functionalities, leaving it open for exploring various design alternatives. In this paper we investigate four co-related techniques to provide high and predictable performance in IBA. These are: (i) using the shortest path first (SPF) algorithm for deterministic packet routing; (ii) developing a multipath routing mechanism for minimizing congestion; (iii) developing a selective packet dropping scheme to handle deadlock and congestion; and (iv) providing multicasting support for customized applications. These designs are evaluated using an integrated workload on a versatile IBA simulation testbed. Simulation results indicate that the SPF routing, multipath routing, packet dropping, and multicasting schemes are quite effective in delivering high and assured performance in clusters. One of the major contributions of this research is the IBA simulation testbed, which is an essential tool to evaluate various design tradeoffs.