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Posts Tagged ‘InfiniBand Architecture Specification’

OpenFabrics Software Users and Developers Receive InfiniBand Virtualization Update at the 2016 OFA Workshop

April 26th, 2016

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The InfiniBand architecture is a proven network interconnect standard that provides benefits for bandwidth, efficiency and latency, while also boasting an extensive roadmap of future performance increases. Initially adopted by the High Performance Computing industry, a growing number of enterprise data centers are demanding the performance capabilities that InfiniBand has to offer. InfiniBand data center use cases vary widely, ranging from physical network foundations transporting compute and storage traffic to enabling Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in cloud service providers.

Today’s enterprise data center and cloud environments are also seeing an increased use of virtualized workloads. Using virtualized servers allows data center managers to create a common shared pool of resources from a single host. Virtualization support in the Channel Adapter enables different software entities to interact independently with the fabric. This effectively creates an efficient service-centric computing model capable of dynamic resource utilization and scalable performance, while reducing overhead costs.

Earlier this month at the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop 2016 in Monterey, CA, Liran Liss of member company Mellanox Technologies provided an update on the IBTA’s ongoing work to standardize InfiniBand virtualization support. He explained that the IBTA Management Working Group’s goals include making the InfiniBand Virtualization Annex scalable, explicit, backward compatible and, above all, simple in both implementation and management. Liss specifically covered the concepts of InfiniBand Virtualization, and its manifestation in the host software stack, subnet management and monitoring tools.

The IBTA effort to support virtualization is nearing completion as the annex enters its final review period from other working groups. If you were unable to attend the OFA Workshop 2016 and would like to learn more about InfiniBand virtualization, download the official slides or watch a video of the presentation via insideHPC.

Bill Lee

Plugfest #29 Registration Now Open, Next Integrators’ List on the Horizon

February 24th, 2016

plugfest

Registration is now open for the 29th InfiniBand Compliance and Interoperability Plugfest! Join us April 4-15, 2016, at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Interoperability Lab (IOL) where InfiniBand and RoCE vendors will gather to measure their products for compliance with the InfiniBand architecture specification. Also, participants will have the opportunity to test their products’ interoperability with other InfiniBand and RoCE solutions.

IBTA’s rigorous world-class testing program ensures the dependability of the InfiniBand specification, which in turn furthers industry adoption and user admiration. Additionally, we leverage these bi-annual plugfests to help guide future improvements to the standard.

Vendor devices and cables that successfully pass all required compliance tests and interoperability procedures will be listed on either the IBTA Integrators’ List or the RoCE Interoperability List and granted use of the IBTA Integrators’ List Logo. Data center managers, CIOs and other IT professionals frequently reference these lists to help plan deployment of InfiniBand or RoCE systems, while many OEMs use them as a gateway in the procurement process.

We are close to finalizing the results from Plugfest 28, so stay tuned for an update on the availability of the latest Integrators’ List and RoCE Interoperability List.

For questions or additional information related to IBTA’s plugfests, contact ibta_plugfest@soft-forge.com.

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

InfiniBand Roadmap – Charting Speeds for Future Needs

December 14th, 2015

ib-roadmap

Defining the InfiniBand ecosystem to accommodate future performance increases is similar to city planners preparing for urban growth. Both require a collaborative effort between experts and the community for whom they serve.

The High Performance Computing (HPC) community continues to call for faster interconnects to transfer massive amounts of data between its servers and clusters. Today, the industry’s fastest supercomputers are processing data in petaflops and experts expect that they will reach Exascale computing by 2025.

IBTA’s working groups are always looking ahead to meet the HPC community’s future performance demands. We are constantly updating the InfiniBand Roadmap, a visual representation of InfiniBand speed increases, to keep our work in line with expected industry trends and systems-level performance gains.

The roadmap itself is dotted by data rates, which are defined by transfer speeds and release dates. Each data rate has a designated moniker and is measured in three ways; 1x, 4x and 12x. The number refers to the amount of lanes per port with each additional lane allowing for greater bandwidth.

Current defined InfiniBand Data Rates include the following:

Data Rate: 4x Link Bandwidth 12x Link Bandwidth
SDR 8 Gb/s 24 Gb/s
DDR 16 Gb/s 48 Gb/s
QDR 32 Gb/s 96 Gb/s
FDR 56 Gb/s 168 Gb/s
EDR 100 Gb/s 300 Gb/s
HDR 200 Gb/s 600 Gb/s

The evolution of InfiniBand can be easily tracked by its data rates as demonstrated in the table above. A typical server or storage interconnect uses 4x links or 4 lanes per port. However, clusters and supercomputers can leverage 12x link bandwidth interconnects for even greater performance. Looking ahead, we expect to see a number of technical advances as the race to Exascale heats up.

As the roadmap demonstrates, planning for future data rates starts years in advance of their expected availability. In the latest edition, you will find two data rates scheduled beyond HDR - NDR and the newly christened XDR. Stayed tuned as the IBTA specifies NDR and XDR’s release dates and bandwidths.

Bill Lee

InfiniBand Volume 1, Release 1.3 – The Industry Sounds Off

May 14th, 2015

spec-roadmap

On March 10, 2015, IBTA announced the availability of Release 1.3 of Volume 1 of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification and it’s creating a lot of buzz in the industry. IBTA members recognized that as compute clusters and data centers grew larger and more complex, the network equipment architecture would have difficulty keeping pace with the need for more processing power. With that in mind, the new release included improvements to scalability and management for both high performance computing and enterprise data centers.

Here’s a snap shot of what industry experts and media have said about the new specification:

“Release 1.3 of the Volume 1 InfiniBand Architecture Specification provides several improvements, including deeper visibility into switch hierarchy, improved diagnostics allowing for faster response times to connectivity problems, enhanced network statistics, and added counters for Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) to improve network management. These features will allow network administrators to more easily install, maintain, and optimize very large InfiniBand clusters.” - Kurt Yamamoto, Tom’s IT PRO

“It’s worth keeping up with [InfiniBand], as it clearly shows where the broader networking market is capable of going… Maybe geeky stuff, but it allows [InfiniBand] to keep up with “exascales” of data and lead the way large scale-out computer networking gets done. This is particularly important as the 1000 node clusters of today grow towards the 10,000 node clusters of tomorrow.” - Mike Matchett, Taneja Group, Inc.

“Indeed, a rising tide lifts all boats, and the InfiniBand community does not intend to get caught in the shallows of the Big Data surge. The InfiniBand Trade Association recently issued Release 1.3 of Volume I of the format’s reference architecture, designed to incorporate increased scalability, efficiency, availability and other functions that are becoming central to modern data infrastructure.” - Arthur Cole, Enterprise Networking Planet

“The InifiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) hopes to ward off the risk of an Ethernet invasion in the ranks of HPC users with a renewed focus on manageability and visibility. Such features have just appeared in release 1.3 of the Volume 1 standard. The IBTA’s Bill Lee told The Register that as HPC clusters grow, ‘you want to be able to see every level of switch interconnect, so you can identify choke-points and work around them.’” - Richard Chirgwin, The Register

To read more industry coverage of the new release, visit the InfiniBand in the News page.

For additional information about the InifiniBand specification, check out the InifiniBand specification FAQ or access the InfiniBand specification here.

Bill Lee

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

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