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Posts Tagged ‘InfiniBand’

Incorporate Networking into Hyperconverged Integrated Systems to Gain a Market Advantage

August 22nd, 2016

gartner-logo
The concept of hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) emerged as data centers considered new ways to increase resource utilization by reducing infrastructure inefficiencies and complexities. HCIS is primarily a software-defined platform that integrates compute, storage, networking resources. The HCIS market is expected to grow 79 percent to reach almost $2 billion this year, driving it into mainstream use in the next five years, according to Gartner.

Since this market is growing so rapidly, Gartner released an exciting new report, “Use Networking to Differentiate Your Hyperconverged System.” In the report, Gartner advises HCIS vendors to focus on networking to gain competitive market advantage by integrating use-case-specific guidelines and case studies in go-to-market efforts.

According to the report, more than 10 percent of HCIS deployments will suffer from avoidable network-induced performance problems by 2018, up from less than one percent today. HCIS vendors can help address expected challenges and add value for buyers by considering high performance networking protocols, such as InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), during the system design stage.

The growing scale of HCIS clusters creates challenges such as expanding workload coverage and diminishing competitive product differentiation. This will force HCIS vendors to alter their product lines and marketing efforts to help their offerings stand out from the rest. Integrating the right networking capabilities will become even more important as a growing number of providers look to differentiate their products. The Gartner report states that by 2018, 60 percent of providers will start to offer integration of networking services, together with compute and storage services, inside of their HCIS products.

Until recently, HCIS vendors have often treated networking simply as a “dumb” interconnect. However, when clusters grow beyond a handful of nodes and higher workloads are introduced, issues begin to arise. This Gartner report stresses that treating the network as “fat dumb pipes” will make it harder to troubleshoot application performance problems from an end-to-end perspective. The report also determines that optimizing the entire communications stack is key to driving latency down and it names InfiniBand and RoCE as important protocols to implement for input/output (I/O)-intensive workloads.

As competition in the HCIS market continues to grow, vendors must change their perception of networking and begin to focus on how to integrate it in order to keep a competitive edge. To learn more about how HCIS professionals can achieve this market advantage, download the full report from the InfiniBand Reports page.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Bill Lee

Dive into RDMA’s Impact on NVMe Devices at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit

August 5th, 2016

fms

Next week, storage experts will gather at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit (FMS) in Santa Clara, CA, to discuss the current state of flash memory applications and how these technologies are enabling new designs for many products in the consumer and enterprise markets. This year’s program will include three days packed with sessions, tutorials and forums on a variety of flash storage trends, including new architectures, systems and standards.

NVMe technology, and its impact on enterprise flash applications, is among the major topics that will be discussed at the show. The growing industry demand to unlock flash storage’s full potential by leveraging high performance networking has led to the NVMe community to develop a new standard for fabrics. NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe/F) allows flash storage devices to communicate over RDMA fabrics, such as InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), and thereby enabling all flash arrays to overcome existing performance bottlenecks.

Attending FMS 2016?

If you’re attending FMS 2016 and are interested in learning more about the importance of RDMA fabrics for NVMe/F solutions, I recommend the following two educational sessions:

NVMe over Fabrics Panel – Which Transport Is Best?
Tuesday, August 9, 2016 (9:45-10:50 a.m.)

Representatives from the IBTA will join a panel to discuss the value of RDMA interconnects for the NVMe/F standard. Attendees can expect to receive an overview of each RDMA fabric and the benefits they bring to specific applications and workloads. Additionally, the session will cover the promise that NVMe/F has for unleashing the potential performance of NVMe drives via mainstream high performance interconnects.

Beer, Pizza and Chat with the Experts
Tuesday, August 9, 2016 (7-8:30 p.m.)

This informal event encourages attendees to “sit and talk shop” with experts about a diverse set of storage and networking topics. As IBTA’s Marketing Work Group Co-Chair, I will be hosting a table focused on RDMA interconnects. I’d love to meet with you to answer questions about InfiniBand and RoCE and discuss the advantages they provide the flash storage industry.

Additionally, there will be various IBTA member companies exhibiting on the show floor, so stop by their booths to learn about the new InfiniBand and RoCE solutions:

·HPE (#600)

· Keysight Technologies (#810)

· Mellanox Technologies (#138)

· Tektronix (#641)

· University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (#719)

For more information on the FMS 2016 program and exhibitors, visit the event website.

Bill Lee

Life in the Fast Lane: InfiniBand Continues to Reign as HPC Interconnect of Choice

July 8th, 2016

top500

TOP500.org recently released its latest account of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and, as with previous reports, InfiniBand leads the way. The 47th edition of the bi-annual list shows that 205 of the fastest commercially available systems are accelerated by InfiniBand and OpenFabrics Software (OFS).

The InfiniBand fabric, with the OFS open source software, is the High Performance Computing (HPC) interconnect of choice because it delivers a distinctive combination of superior performance, efficiency, scalability and low latency. InfiniBand is the only open-standard I/O that provides the capability required to handle supercomputing’s high demand for CPU cycles without time wasted on I/O transactions. With today’s supercomputers pushing nearly 100 petaflops on the LINPACK benchmark, the need for efficient, low latency performance is higher than ever.

High Marks for InfiniBand and OFS

  • InfiniBand and OFS systems outperformed competing technologies in overall efficiency, scoring an 85 percent list average for compute efficiency – with one system even reaching an incredible 99.8 percent.
  • The technologies enable 70 percent of the HPC system segment. This segment includes academic, research and government fields.
  • For supercomputers capable of Petascale performance, the number of InfiniBand and OFS systems grew from 33 to 45.

InfiniBand’s ability to carry multiple traffic types over a single connection makes it ideal for clustering, communications, storage and management. As a result, the interconnect technology is used in thousands of data centers, HPC clusters, storage, and embedded application that scale from two nodes to a single cluster of tens-of-thousands of nodes. Supercomputers powered by OFS reach their highest performance capacity through the speed and efficiency delivered by Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). In turn, OFS enables RDMA fabrics, such as InfiniBand, to run applications that require extreme speeds, Petascale-level scalability and utility-class reliability.

Check out the full list at www.top500.org.

Bill Lee

InfiniBand Experts Discuss Latest Trends and Opportunities at OFA Workshop 2016

May 24th, 2016

ofaworkshop2016

Each year, OpenFabrics Software (OFS) users and developers gather at the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop to discuss and tackle the most recent challenges facing the high performance storage and networking industry. OFS is an open-source software that enables maximum application efficiency and performance agnostically over RDMA fabrics, including InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). The work of the OFA supports mission critical applications in High Performance Computing (HPC) and enterprise data centers, but is also quickly becoming significant in cloud and hyper-converged markets.

In our previous blog, we showcased an IBTA sponsored session that provided an update on InfiniBand virtualization support. In addition to our virtualization update, there were a handful of other notable sessions that highlighted the latest InfiniBand developments, case studies and tutorials. Below is a collection of notable InfiniBand focused sessions that we recommend you check out:

InfiniBand as Core Network in an Exchange Application
Ralph Barth, Deutsche Börse AG; Joachim Stenzel, Deutsche Börse AG

Group Deutsche Boerse is a global financial service organization covering the entire value chain from trading, market data, clearing, settlement to custody. While reliability has been a fundamental requirement for exchanges since the introduction of electronic trading systems in the 1990s, since about 10 years also low and predictable latency of the entire system has become a major design objective. Both issues have been important architecture considerations, when Deutsche Boerse started to develop an entirely new derivatives trading system T7 for its options market in the US (ISE) in 2008. As the best fit at the time a combination of InfiniBand with IBM® WebSphere® MQ Low Latency Messaging (WLLM) as the messaging solution was determined. Since then the same system has been adopted for EUREX, one of the largest derivatives exchanges in the world, and is now also extended to cover cash markets. The session presents the design of the application and its interdependence with the combination of InfiniBand and WLLM. Also practical experiences with InfiniBand in the last couple of years will be reflected upon.

Download: Slides / Video


Experiences in Writing OFED Software for a New InfiniBand HCA
Knut Omang, Oracle

This talk presents experiences, challenges and opportunities as lead developer in initiating and developing OFED stack support (kernel and user space driver) for Oracles InfiniBand HCA integrated in the new SPARC Sonoma SoC CPU. In addition to the physical HCA function SR/IOV is supported with vHCAs visible to the interconnect as connected to virtual switches. Individual driver instances for the vHCAs maintains page tables set up for the HCAs MMU for memory accessible from the HCA. The HCA is designed to scale to a large number of QPs. For minimal overhead and maximal flexibility, administrative operations such as memory invalidations also use an asynchronous work request model similar to normal InfiniBand traffic.

Download: Slides / Video

Fabrics and Topologies for Directly Attached Parallel File Systems and Storage Networks
Susan Coulter, Los Alamos National Laboratory

InfiniBand fabrics supporting directly attached storage systems are designed to handle unique traffic patterns, and they contain different stress points than other fabrics. These SAN fabrics are often expected to be extensible in order to allow for expansion of existing file systems and addition of new file systems. The character and lifetime of these fabrics is distinct from those of internal compute fabrics, or multi-purpose fabrics. This presentation covers the approach to InfiniBand SAN design and deployment as experienced by the High Performance Computing effort at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Download: Slides / Video


InfiniBand Topologies and Routing in the Real World
Susan Coulter, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Jesse Martinez, Los Alamos National Laboratory

As with all sophisticated and multifaceted technologies - designing, deploying and maintaining high-speed networks and topologies in a production environment and/or at larger scales can be unwieldy and surprising in their behavior. This presentation illustrates that fact via a case study from an actual fabric deployed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Download: Slides / Video


InfiniBand Routers Premier
Mark Bloch, Mellanox Technologies; Liran Liss, Mellanox Technologies

InfiniBand has gone a long way in providing efficient large-scale high performance connectivity. InfiniBand subnets have shown to scale to tens of thousands of nodes, both in raw capacity and in management. As demand for computing capacity increases, future clusters sizes might exceed the number of addressable endpoints in a single IB subnet (around 40K nodes). To accommodate such clusters, a routing layer with the same latencies and bandwidth characteristics as switches is required.

In addition, as data center deployments evolve, it becomes beneficial to consolidate resources across multiple clusters. For example, several compute clusters might require access to a common storage infrastructure. Routers can enable such connectivity while reducing management complexity and isolating intra-subnet faults. The bandwidth capacity to storage may be provisioned as needed.

This session reviews InfiniBand routing operation and how it can be used in the future. Specifically, we will cover topology considerations, subnet management issues, name resolution and addressing, and potential implications for the host software stack and applications.

Download: Slides

Bill Lee

Author: admin Categories: InfiniBand, RDMA Tags: , ,

InfiniBand-based Supercomputer to Power New Discoveries at the Library of Alexandria

May 17th, 2016
“Bibliotheca Alexandrina” by Ting Chen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Bibliotheca Alexandrina” by Ting Chen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Thriving civilizations, both past and present, tend to have one important characteristic in common – a vast, dynamic knowledge base. Whether it be the latest advancements in agriculture, civil engineering or battlefield tactics, technological innovation frequently determined the level and reach of a nation’s influence. One of the most prominent examples of knowledge driven supremacy stems from ancient Egypt’s Library of Alexandria.

Built in the third century BCE, the Library of Alexandria was considered the greatest collection of scholarly works and papers in its era. In addition to gifts from distinguished intellectuals and monarchs, the library built up its massive archive by coping documents and scrolls brought into Alexandria via merchants and traders. Its subsequent destruction a few centuries later was thought to be one of the most significant losses of cultural knowledge in world history.

In 2002, Bibliotheca Alexandrina was constructed to commemorate the library’s remarkable history and lasting notoriety. With a mission “to recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original,” the modern library acts as a global center of knowledge and learning. It contains over a million books in six separate libraries and boasts four museums and 13 academic research centers. Furthermore, Bibliotheca Alexandria acts as a mirrored backup for the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library that offers free access to millions of books, media and software around the world.

In addition to preserving existing knowledge, the library pursues new insights and understanding as well. Bibliotheca Alexandrina is currently building a new supercomputer with that exact goal in mind. Supercomputing is considered by many to be the standard-bearer of knowledge creation, with many countries committing significant resources to build the world’s most powerful systems (see our blog “Race to Exascale – Nations Vie to Build Fastest Supercomputer”). Supercomputing allows companies, researchers and institutions to process massive data sets to produce useful results in rapid time.

According to a recent announcement from Huawei, the new supercomputer will feature high-density FusionServer X6800 servers powered by high-performance InfiniBand interconnects. The system will be capable of a theoretical peak speed of 118 TFLOPS and a storage capacity of 288 TB. Its design enables an expansion of up to 4.5 PB, ensuring future storage scalability. Once completed, the supercomputer will support a variety of research fields, including bioinformatics, data mining, physics, weather forecasting, resource exploration/extraction and cloud computing.

We look forward to seeing what type of breakthroughs originate from Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s new InfiniBand-based supercomputer. It may even be a discovery that will have the same lasting effect as the original Library of Alexandria, which people will talk about thousands of years from now.

Bill Lee

Plugfest 28 Results Highlight Expanding InfiniBand EDR 100 Gb/s & RoCE Ecosystems

March 21st, 2016

il-interopWe are excited to announce the availability of our latest InfiniBand Integrators’ List and RoCE Interoperability List. The two lists make up the backbone of our Integrators’ Program and are designed to support data center managers, CIOs and other IT decision makers with their planned InfiniBand and RoCE deployments for enterprise and high performance computing systems. To keep data up to date and as useful as possible, both documents are refreshed twice a year following our bi-annual plugfests, which are held at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL).

Having recently finalized the results from Plugfest 28, we can report a significant increase in InfiniBand EDR 100 Gb/s submissions compared to the last Integrators’ List. This trend demonstrates a continued industry demand for InfiniBand-based systems that are capable of higher bandwidth and faster performance. The updated list features a variety of InfiniBand devices, including Host Channel Adapters (HCAs), Switches, SCSI Remote Protocol (SRP) targets and cables (QDR, FDR and EDR).

Additionally, we held our second RoCE interoperability event at Plugfest 28, testing 10, 25 and 40 GbE RNICs, Switches and SFP+, SFP28, QSFP and QSFP28 cables. Although a full spec compliance program is still under development for RoCE, the existing interoperability testing offers solid insight into the ecosystem’s robustness and viability. We plan to continue our work creating a comprehensive RoCE compliance program at Plugfest 29. RoCE testing at Plugfest 29 will include testing of more than 16 different 10, 25, 40, 50 and 100 GbE RNICs and Switches along with all of the various cables to support these devices. Plugfest 29 testing of RoCE products, which use Ethernet physical and link layers, will be the most comprehensive interoperability testing ever performed.

As always, we’d like to thank the leading vendors that contributed test equipment to IBTA Plugfest 28. These invaluable members include Anritsu, Keysight Technologies, Matlab, Molex, Tektronix, Total Phase and Wilder Technologies.

The next opportunity for members to test InfiniBand and RoCE products is Plugfest 29 is scheduled for April 4-15, 2016 at UNH-IOL. Event details and registration information are available here.

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Changes to the Modern Data Center – Recap from SDC 15

October 19th, 2015

sdc15_logo
The InfiniBand Trade Association recently had the opportunity to speak on RDMA technology at the 2015 Storage Developer Conference. For the first time, SDC15 introduced Pre-conference Primer Sessions covering topics such as Persistent Memory, Cloud and Interop and Data Center Infrastructure. Intel’s David Cohen, System Architect and Brian Hausauer, Hardware Architect spoke on behalf of IBTA in a pre-conference session and discussed “Nonvolatile Memory (NVM), four trends in the modern data center and implications for the design of next generation distributed storage systems.”

Below is a high level overview of their presentation:

The modern data center continues to transform as applications and uses change and develop. Most recently, we have seen users abandon traditional storage architectures for the cloud. Cloud storage is founded on data-center-wide connectivity and scale-out storage, which delivers significant increases in capacity and performance, enabling application deployment anytime, anywhere. Additionally, job scheduling and system balance capabilities are boosting overall efficiency and optimizing a variety of essential data center functions.

Trends in the modern data center are appearing as cloud architecture takes hold. First, the performance of network bandwidth and storage media is growing rapidly. Furthermore, operating system vendors (OSV) are optimizing the code path of their network and storage stacks. All of these speed and efficiency gains to network bandwidth and storage are occurring while single processor/core performance remains relatively flat.

Data comes in a variety of flavors, some of which is accessed frequently for application I/O requests and others that are rarely retrieved. To enable higher performance and resource efficiency, cloud storage uses a tiering model to access data based on what is accessed most often. Data that is regularly accessed is stored on expensive, high performance media (solid-state drives). Data that is hardly or never retrieved is relegated to less expensive media with the lowest $/GB (rotational drives). This model follows a Hot, Warm and Cold data pattern and allows you faster access to what you use the most.

The growth of high performance storage media is driving the need for innovation in the network, primarily addressing application latency. This is where Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) comes into play. RDMA is an advanced, reliable transport protocol that enhances the efficiency of workload processing. Essentially, it increases data center application performance by offloading the movement of data from the CPU. This lowers overhead and allows the CPU to focus its processing power on running applications, which in turn reduces latency.

Demand for cloud storage is increasing and the need for RDMA and high performance storage networking grows as well. With this in mind, the InfiniBand Trade Association is continuing its work developing the RDMA architecture for InfiniBand and Ethernet (via RDMA over Converged Ethernet or RoCE) topologies.

Bill Lee

Race to Exascale – Nations Vie to Build Fastest Supercomputer

September 28th, 2015

“Discover Supercomputer 3” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Discover Supercomputer 3” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The race between countries to build the fastest, biggest or first of anything is nothing new – think the race to the moon. One of the current global competitions is focused on supercomputing, specifically the race to Exascale computing or a billion billion calculations per second. Recently, governments (President Obama’s Executive Order and China’s current lead in supercomputing) are allocating significant resources toward Exascale initiatives as they start to understand its vast potential for a variety of industries, including healthcare, defense and space exploration.

The TOP500 list ranking the top supercomputers in the world will continue to be the scorecard. Currently, the U.S. leads with 233 of the top 500 supercomputers, Europe with 141 and China with 37. However, China’s small portfolio of supercomputers does not mean it is not a significant competitor in the supercomputing space as China has the #1 supercomputer on the TOP500 list for the fifth consecutive time.

When looking to build the supercomputers of the future, there are a number of factors which need to be taken into consideration, including superior application performance, compute scalability and resource efficiency. InfiniBand’s compute offloads and scalability makes it extremely attractive to supercomputer architects. Proof of the performance and scalability can be found in places such as the HPC Advisory Council’s library of case studies. InfiniBand makes it possible to achieve near linear performance improvement as more computers are connected to the array. Since observers of this space expect Exascale systems to require a massive amount of compute hardware, InfiniBand’s scalability looks to be a requirement to achieve this goal.

As the race to supercomputing speeds up we expect to see a number of exciting advances in technology as we shift from petaflops to exaflops. To give you an idea of how far we have come and where we are heading here is a comparison from the speed of computers that powered the race to space and the goals for Exascale.

Speeds Then vs. Now – Race to Space vs. Race to Supercomputing

  • Computers in 1960s (Speed of the Race to Space): Hectoscale (hundreds of FLOPs per second)
  • Goal for Computers in 2025 (Speed of the Race to Supercomputing): Exascale (quintillions of FLOPs per second)

Advances in supercomputing will continue to dominate the news with these two nations making the development of the fastest supercomputer a priority. As November approaches and the new TOP500 list is released, it will be very interesting to see where the rankings lie and what interconnects the respective architects will pick.


Bill Lee

InfiniBand leads the TOP500 powering more than 50 percent of the world’s supercomputing systems

August 4th, 2015

TOP500 Interconnect Trends

TOP500 Interconnect Trends

TOP500.org released the list of the 500 most powerful commercially available computer systems in the world, reporting that InfiniBand powers 257 systems, 51.4 percent of the list. This marks a 15.8 percent year over year growth from June 2014.

Demand for higher bandwidth, lower latency and higher message rates along with the need for application acceleration is driving continued adoption of InfiniBand in traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) as well as commercial HPC, cloud and enterprise data centers. InfiniBand is the only open-standard I/O that provides the capability required to handling supercomputing’s high demand for CPU cycles without time wasted on I/O transactions.

  • InfiniBand powers the most efficient system on the list with 98.8% efficiency.TOP100 Systems
  • EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) InfiniBand delivers 100Gbps and enters the TOP500 for the first time, powering three systems.
  • FDR (Fourteen Data Rate) InfiniBand at 56Gbps continues to be the most used technology on the TOP500, connecting 156 systems.
  • InfiniBand connects the most powerful clusters, 33 of the Petascale-performance systems, up from 24 in June 2014.
  • InfiniBand Is the leading interconnect for accelerator-based systems covering 77% of the list.

Not only is InfiniBand the most used interconnect solution in the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers, it’s also the leader in the TOP100 as well. The TOP100 encompasses the top 100 supercomputing systems, as ranked in the TOP500. InfiniBand is the natural choice for world-leading supercomputers because of its performance, efficiency and scalability.

The full TOP500 list is available at www.top500.org.

Bill Lee

Author: admin Categories: InfiniBand, TOP500 Tags: , , , ,

To InfiniBand and Beyond – Supercomputing Support for NASA Missions

June 11th, 2015

pleiades

High performance computing has been integral to solving large-scale problems across many industries, including science, engineering and business. Some of the most interesting use cases have come out of NASA, where supercomputing is essential to conduct accurate simulations and models for a variety of missions.

NASA’s flagship supercomputer, Pleiades, is among the world’s most powerful, currently ranking seventh in the United States and eleventh globally. It is housed at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility in California and supports the agency’s work in aeronautics, Earth and space science and the future of space travel. At the heart of the system is InfiniBand technology, including DDR, QDR and FDR adapters and cabling.

The incremental expansion of Pleiades’ computing performance has been fundamental to its lasting success. Typically, a computer cluster is fully built from the onset and rarely expanded or upgraded during its lifetime. Built in 2008, Pleiades initially consisted of 64 server racks achieving 393 teraflops with a maximum link speed of 20Gb/s. Today, the supercomputer boasts 160 racks with a theoretical peak performance of 5.35 petaflops, or 5,350 teraflops, and a maximum link speed of 56Gb/s.

To further demonstrate the power of the InfiniBand-based Pleiades supercomputer, here are several fun facts to consider:

  • Today’s Pleiades supercomputer delivers more than 25 million times the computational power of the first Cray X-MP supercomputer at the NAS facility in 1984.
  • The number of days it would take every person in the world to complete one minute of Pleiades’ calculations if they each performed one calculation per second, eight hours per day: 1,592.
  • The NAS facility has the largest InfiniBand network in the world, with over 65 miles (104.6 km) of cable interconnecting its supercomputing systems and storage devices-the same distance it would take to stretch to from the Earth’s surface to the part of the thermosphere where auroras are formed.

For additional facts and impacts of NASA’s high-end computing capability, check out its website here: http://www.nas.nasa.gov/hecc/about/hecc_facts.html

Bill Lee