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Newest IBTA Compliance & Interoperability Testing Includes EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand Methodology

February 25th, 2014

2014 has already proved to be a busy year for the IBTA. The organization is currently in the midst of compiling results from the recent Plugfest 24, which took place this past October at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory.

IBTA SC13 Demonstration

IBTA SC13 Demonstration

While exhibiting at SC13 in November, we had the opportunity to showcase the IBTA’s newest EDR 100Gb/s compliance and interoperability testing capabilities that were implemented during October’s biannual Plugfest event. Due to the popularity of the demo at the conference, we wanted to share some details and results here on our blog.

The IBTA’s sophisticated test set-up leveraged Anritsu generators and Tektronix scopes to test EDR active cables.  The Anritsu generators were used to generate a spec compliant 25Gb/s input signal to one lane of an active optical cable along with 25Gb/s signals to the other 7 lanes which were being used as “aggressor” lanes.  Tektronix provided a scope capable of testing the 25Gb/s per lane output of the EDR active cables. The details are provided in the Anritsu Method of Implementation (MOI) which is available here:  http://infinibandta.org/content/pages.php?pg=technology_methods_of_implementation.

The significance of this testing, is that we were able to not only achieve 25Gb/s speed per lane (100Gb/s total over 4 lanes), but we were also able to analyze data at that speed. The IBTA currently has both copper and active optical cables running at 100Gb/s that are also compliant with the latest InfiniBand specifications.

3M Company, Advanced Photonics, Inc, Amphenol, FCI, Finisar, Foxconn, Fujikura Ltd., Hitachi Cable America, Lorom Industrial, Mellanox, Molex, Samtec, Sumitomo, TE Connectivity and Volex attended PlugFest 24 and tested a total of 189 cables for both compliance and interoperability.

Intel, Mellanox and NetApp also tested a total of 17 devices including InfiniBand to Ethernet Gateways, Host Channel Adapters (HCAs), Switches and SRP Targets. These end points and switches provided the foundation for running approximately 1000 interoperability tests using the Open MPI test benchmark and the interconnects provided by the cable vendors listed above.

Anritsu InfiniBand ATD EDR Test Solution

Anritsu InfiniBand ATD EDR Test Solution

Agilent, Anritsu, Tektronix and Wilder Technologies all provided the latest generation of Test equipment needed to test 100Gb/s InfiniBand EDR cables. The IBTA PlugFest provides a great opportunity for all these companies to work together to improve InfiniBand and to ensure that the products are both robust and interoperable.

IBTA’s Plugfest events take place twice per year, during which the IBTA tests compliance with the InfiniBand architecture specification and interoperability with other InfiniBand products. The IBTA Plugfest 24 Integrators’ List has been released and features vendor devices and cables that successfully passed all required Integrators’ List compliance tests and interoperability procedures during Plugfest 24.

The IBTA Integrators’ List contains a list of compliant and interoperable products and is available here: http://infinibandta.org/content/pages.php?pg=integrators_list_overview.

For more information on the upcoming IBTA Plugfest being held in April 2014 check out the Plugfest website.

FDR InfiniBand Continues Rapid Growth on TOP500 Year-Over-Year

November 22nd, 2013

The newest TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers was released at SC13 this week, and showed the continued adoption of Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) InfiniBand – the fastest growing interconnect technology on the list! FDR, the latest generation of InfiniBand technology, now connects 80 systems on the TOP500, growing almost 2X year-over-year from 45 systems in November 2012. Overall, InfiniBand technology connects 207 systems, accounting for over 40 percent of the TOP500 list.

InfiniBand technology overall connects 48 percent of the Petascale-capable systems on the list. Petascale-capable systems generally favor the InfiniBand interconnect due to its computing efficiency, low application latency and high speeds. More relevant highlights from the November TOP500 list include:

  • InfiniBand is the most used interconnect in the TOP100, connecting 48 percent of the systems, and in the TOP200, connecting 48.5 percent of the systems.

  • InfiniBand-connected systems deliver 2X the performance of Ethernet systems, while the total performance supported by InfiniBand systems continues to grow.

  • With a peak efficiency of 97 percent and an average efficiency of 86 percent, InfiniBand continues to be the most efficient of interconnects on the TOP500.

The TOP500 list continues to show that InfiniBand technology is the interconnect of choice for HPC and data centers wanting the highest performance, with FDR InfiniBand adoption as a large part of this solution. The graph below demonstrates this further:

TOP500 Results, November 2013

Image source: Mellanox Technologies

Delivering bandwidth up to 56Gb/s with application latencies less than one microsecond, InfiniBand enables the highest server efficiency and is ideal to carry multiple traffic types (clustering, communications, storage, management) over a single connection. As a mature and field-proven technology, InfiniBand is used in thousands of data centers, high-performance compute clusters and embedded environments that scale from two nodes up to clusters with thousands of nodes.

The TOP500 list is published twice per year and recognizes and ranks the world’s fastest supercomputers. The list was announced November 18 at the SC13 conference in Denver, Colorado.

Interested in learning more about the TOP500, or how InfiniBand performed? Check out the TOP500 website: www.top500.org.

bill_lee_square

Bill Lee, chair of Marketing Working Group (MWG) at IBTA

Visit the IBTA and OFA at SC13!

November 13th, 2013

Attending SC13? The IBTA will be teaming up once again with the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) to participate in a number of conference activities. The organizations will be exhibiting together at booth #4132 – stop by for access to:

  • Hands-on computing cluster demonstrations
  • IBTA cable compliance demonstration
  • IBTA & OFA member company exhibition map and SC13 news
  • Current and prospective member information
  • Information regarding OFA’s 2014 User Day and Developer Workshop

IBTA and OFA will also lead the discussion on the future of I/O architectures for improved application performance and efficiency during several technical sessions:

  • RDMA: Scaling the I/O Architecture for Future Applications,” an IBTA-moderated session, will discuss what new approaches to I/O architecture could be used to meet Exascale requirements. The session will be moderated by IBTA’s Bill Boas and will feature a discussion between top users of RDMA. The panel session will take place on Wednesday, November 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in room 301/302/303.

  • Accelerating Improvements in HPC Application I/O Performance and Efficiency,” an OFA Emerging Technologies exhibit, will present to attendees ideas on how incorporating a new framework of I/O APIs may increase performance and efficiency for applications. This Emerging Technologies exhibit will take place at booth #3547. The OFA will also be giving a short talk on this subject in the Emerging Technologies theatre at booth #3947 on Tuesday, November 19 at 2:50 p.m.

  • OFA member company representatives will further develop ideas discussed in its Emerging Technologies exhibit during the Birds of a Feather (BoF) session entitled, “Discussing an I/O Framework to Accelerate Improvements in Application I/O Performance.” Moderators Paul Grun of Cray and Sean Hefty of Intel will lead the discussion on how developers and end-users can enhance and further encourage the growth of open source I/O software.

Bill Lee

Chair, Marketing Working Group (MWG)

InfiniBand Trade Association

Emulex Joins the InfiniBand Trade Association

October 30th, 2013

Emulex is proud to be a new member of the IBTA.  The IBTA has a great history of furthering the InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) specifications, developing an active solution ecosystem and building market momentum around technologies with strong value propositions.  We are excited to be a voting member on the Organization’s Steering Committee and look forward tocontributing to relevant technical and marketing working groups, as well as participating in IBTA-sponsored Plugfests and other interoperability activities.

Why the IBTA?

Through our experience in building high performance, large-scale, mission critical networks we understand the benefits of RDMA.  Since its original implementation as part of InfiniBand back in 1999, RDMA has a well-proven track record of delivering better application performance, reduced CPU overhead and increased bandwidth efficiency in demanding computing environments.

Due to increased adoption of technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics, virtualization and mobile computing, more and more commercial IT infrastructures are starting to run into the same challenges that supercomputing was forced to confront around performance bottlenecks, resource utilization and moving large data sets.  In other words, data centers supporting the Fortune 2000, vertical applications for media and entertainment or life sciences, telecommunications and cloud service providers are starting to look a lot more like the data centers at research institutions or systems on the TOP500 .  Thus, with the advent of RoCE, we see an opportunity to bring the benefits of RDMA that have been well-proven in high performance computing (HPC) markets to the mainstream commercial markets.

RoCE is a key enabling technology for converging data center infrastructure and enabling application centric I/O across a broad spectrum of requirements.  From supercomputing to share drives, RDMA deliveries broad based benefits for fundamentally more efficient network communications.  Emulex has a data center vision to connect, monitor and manage on a single unified fabric.  We are looking forward to supporting the IBTA, contributing to the advancement of RoCE and helping to bring RDMA to mainstream markets.

Jon Affled

Jon Affeld, senior director, marketing alliances at Emulex

IBTA Updates Integrators’ List Following PF23 Compliance & Interoperability Testing

September 25th, 2013

We’re proud to announce the availability of the IBTA April 2013 Combined Cable and Device Integrators’ List – a compilation of results from the IBTA Plugfest 23, during which we conducted the first-ever Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) 100Gb/s InfiniBand standard compliance testing.

IBTA’s updated Integrators’ List and our newest Plugfest testing is a testament to the IBTA’s commitment to advancing InfiniBand technology and ensuring its interoperability, as all cables and devices on the list successfully passed the required compliance tests and interoperability procedures. Vendors listed may now access the IBTA Integrators’ List promotional materials and a special marketing program for their products.

Plugfest 23 was a huge success, attracting top manufacturers and would not have been possible without donated testing equipment from the following vendors: Agilent Technologies, Anritsu, Molex, Tektronix and Wilder Technologies. We are thrilled with the level of participation and the caliber of technology manufacturers who came out and supported the IBTA.

The updated Integrators’ List is a tool used by the IBTA to assure vendors’ customers and end-users that manufacturers have made the mark of compliance and interoperability. It is also a method for furthering the InfiniBand specification. The integrator’s list is published every spring and fall following the bi-annual Plugfest and serves to assist IT professionals, including data center managers and CIOs, with their planned deployment of InfiniBand solutions.

We’ve already begun preparations for Plugfest 24, which will take place October 7-18, 2013 at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory. For more information, or to register for Plugfest 24, please visit IBTA Plugfest website.

If you have any questions related to IBTA membership or Integrators’ List, please visit the IBTA website: http://www.infinibandta.org/, or email us: ibta_plugfest@soft-forge.com.

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Plugfest #23: InfiniBand Compliance & Interoperability Testing

March 28th, 2013

The IBTA is ramping up for our 23rd Plugfest (Plugfest 23), taking place April 1-12, 2013 at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). The bi-annual Plugfest event provides cable and device compliance testing with the current InfiniBand Architecture specifications as well as interoperability with other InfiniBand products.

The IBTA ElectroMechanical Working Group (EWG) has prepared a draft of the next InfiniBand Architecture Specification, 1.3.1 of Volume 2, which specifies the parameters for Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) InfiniBand products.  The InfiniBand™ specification defines the interconnect technology for servers and storage that changes the way data centers are built, deployed and managed. Many vendors have submitted EDR cables for testing, and we expect Plugfest 23 to be the preview of the new EDR generation of products. IBTA added FDR Receiver testing to this year’s Plugfest, which depends on Agilent, Anritsu and Tektronix test equipment and will lead the way for EDR device testing moving forward.

“The IBTA Plugfest has long been a critical event for InfiniBand vendors and users, and Plugfest 23 will be particularly important as the technology continues to advance,” said Dr. Alan Benner, system & network design engineer at IBM Corporation. “I’m looking forward to working with IBTA and our testing equipment partners to further the testing of InfiniBand-compliant products.”

Vendor devices and cables successfully passing all required Integrators’ List Compliance Tests and Interoperability procedures at Plugfest 23 will be listed on the IBTA Integrators’ List, updated twice per year, and will be granted the IBTA Integrators’ List Logo. The IBTA’s compliance and interoperability program provides resources for end-users who are building InfiniBand clusters, drives adoption of RDMA technology and provides assurance to participating vendors’ customers and end-users.

To learn more about Plugfest 23, or to find out more about IBTA membership benefits, please visit the IBTA website or contact ibta_plugfest@soft-forge.com.


The IBTA wishes to thank Agilent, Anritsu, Molex and Tektronix for providing test equipment for the IBTA Plugfest. Testing equipment is provided free of charge for the benefit of the InfiniBand community.  IBTA Plugfests would not be possible without this testing equipment.


Rupert Dance, Software Forge

Rupert Dance, Software Forge

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Observations from SC12

December 3rd, 2012

The week of Supercomputing went by quickly and resulted in many interesting discussions around supercomputing and its role in both HPC environments and enterprise data centers. Now that we’re back to work, we’d like to reflect back on the successful supercomputing event. The conference this year saw a huge diversity of attendees from various countries, with major participation from top universities, which seemed to be on the leading edge of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and InfiniBand deployments.

Overall, we saw InfiniBand and Open Fabrics technologies continue their strong presence at the conference. InfiniBand dominated the Top500 list and is still the #1 interconnect of choice for the world’s fastest supercomputers. The Top500 list also demonstrated that InfiniBand is leading the way to efficient computing, which not only benefits high performance computing, but enterprise data center environments as well.

We also engaged in several discussions around RDMA. Attendees, analysts specifically, were interested in new products using RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) and their availability, and were impressed that Microsoft Server 2012 natively supports all three RDMA transports, including InfiniBand and RoCE. Another interesting development is InfiniBand customer Microsoft Windows Azure, and their increased efficiency placing them at 165 on the Top500 list.

IBTA & OFA Booth at SC12

IBTA’s Electro-Mechanical Working Group Chair, Alan Benner discussing the new InfiniBand specification with attendees at the IBTA & OFA SC12 booth

IBTA’s release of the new InfiniBand Architecture Specification 1.3 generated a lot of buzz among attendees, press and analysts. IBTA’s Electro-Mechanical Working Group Chair, Alan Benner, was one of our experts at the booth and drew a large crowd of people interested in the InfiniBand roadmap and his projections around the availability of the next specification, which is expected to include EDR and become available in draft form in April 2013.

SC12 provides a great opportunity those in high performance computing to connect in person and engage in discussions around hot industry topics; this year was focused on Software Defined Networking (SDN), OpenSM, and the pioneering efforts by both IBTA and OFA. We enjoyed conversations with exhibitors and attendees that visited our booth and a special thank you to all of those RDMA experts who participated in our booth session: Bill Boas, Cray; Katharine Schmidtke, Finisar; Alan Brenner, IBM; Todd Wilde, Mellanox; Rupert Dance, Software Forge; Kevin Moran, System Fabric Works; and Josh Simons, VMware.

Rupert Dance, Software Forge

Rupert Dance, Software Forge

IBTA & OFA Join Forces at SC12

November 7th, 2012

Attending SC12? Check out OFA’s Exascale and Big Data I/O panel discussion and stop by the IBTA/OFA booth to meet our industry experts

The IBTA is gearing up for the annual SC12 conference taking place November 10-16 at the UT Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. We will be joining forces with the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) on a number of conference activities and will be exhibiting together at SC12 booth #3630.

IBTA members will participate in the OFA-moderated panel, Exascale and Big Data I/O, which we highly recommend attending if you’re at the conference.  The panel session, moderated by IBTA and OFA member Bill Boas, takes place Wednesday, November 14 at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time and will discuss drivers for future I/O architectures.

Also be sure to stop by the IBTA and OFA booth #3630 to chat with industry experts regarding a wide range of industry topics, including:

·         Behind the IBTA integrators list

·         High speed optical connectivity

·         Building and validating OFA software

·         Achieving low latency with RDMA in virtualized cloud environments

·         UNH-IOL hardware testing and interoperability capabilities

·         Utilizing high-speed interconnects for HPC

·         Release 1.3 of IBA Vol2

·         Peering into a live OFS cluster

·         RoCE in Wide Area Networks

·         OpenFabrics for high speed SAN and NAS

Experts, including: Katharine Schmidtke, Finisar; Alan Brenner, IBM; Todd Wilde, Mellanox; Rupert Dance, Software Forge; Bill Boas and Kevin Moran, System Fabric Works; and Josh Simons, VMware will be in the booth to answer your questions and discuss topics currently affecting the HPC community.

Be sure to check the SC12 website to learn more about Supercomputing 2012, and stay tuned to the IBTA website and Twitter to follow IBTA’s plans and activities at SC12.

See you there!

New InfiniBand Architecture Specification Open for Comments

October 15th, 2012

After an extensive review process, Release 1.3 of Volume 2 of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification has been approved by our Electro-Mechanical Working Group (EWG). The specification is undergoing final review by the full InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) membership and will be available for vendors at Plugfest 22, taking place October 15-26, 2012 at University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab in Durham, New Hampshire.

All IBTA working groups and individual members have had several weeks to review and comment on the specification. We are encouraged by the feedback we’ve received and are looking forward to the official release at SC12, taking place November 10-16 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Release 1.3 is a major overhaul of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification and features important new architectural elements:
• FDR and EDR signal specification methodologies
• Analog signal specifications for FDR, that have been verified through Plugfest compliance and interoperability measurements
• More efficient 64b/66 encoding method
• Forward Error Correction coding
• Improved specification of QSFP-4x and CXP-12x connectors, ports and management interfaces

The new specification also includes significant copy editing and organization to include sub volumes and improve overall readability. The previous specification, Release 1.2.1, was released in November 2007. As Chair of the EWG, I’m pleased with the technical progress made on the InfiniBand Architecture specification. More importantly, I’m excited about the impact that this new specification release will have for users and developers of InfiniBand technology.

Alan Benner
EWG Chair

InfiniBand as Data Center Communication Virtualization

August 1st, 2012

Last month, the Taneja Group released a report on InfiniBand’s role in the data center, “InfiniBand’s Data Center March” confirming what members of the IBTA have known for a while: InfiniBand is expanding its role in the enterprise.

Mike Matchett, Sr. Analyst at Taneja Group recently posted a blog on the industry report. In his post, Mike summarizes the growing InfiniBand market and the benefits he sees in adopting InfiniBand. Here is an excerpt from his blog:

Recently we posted a new market assessment of InfiniBand and its growing role in enterprise data centers, so I’ve been thinking a lot about low-latency switched fabrics and what they imply for IT organizations. I’d like to add a more philosophical thought about the optimized design of InfiniBand and its role as data center communication virtualization.

From the start, InfiniBand’s design goal was to provide a high performing messaging service for applications even if they existed in entirely separate address spaces across servers. By architecting from the “top down” rather than layering up from something like Ethernet’s byte stream transport, InfiniBand is able to deliver highly efficient and effective messaging between applications. In fact, the resulting messaging service can be thought of as “virtual channel IO” (I’m sure much to the delight of mainframers).

To read the full blog post, check out the Taneja blog. And be sure to read the full analyst report from Taneja Group that published in July.

Bill Lee
IBTA Marketing Working Group Chair

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