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ISC’14 Insights

July 10th, 2014

With ISC’14 in June recently concluded, the IBTA would like to highlight some of our members’ biggest announcements, key takeaways from the event and give an overall look at the impact of InfiniBand in the supercomputing world.

Event Overview

Overall the event was a huge success, showcasing demonstrations and facilitating many major announcements in the supercomputing industry. As always, the event attracted supercomputing leaders from around the world, who provided thought leadership and knowledge to thousands of attendees and exhibitors.

Chris Pfistner, senior director of marketing at Finisar, noted, “ISC in Leipzig is a vibrant show!  Between SC in the US and ISC focused on Europe and Asia, the global Super Computing community is well represented, and the space is on fire with several players unveiling new systems and showing great interest in Finisar’s EDR AOC demo – 100G links are becoming reality.”

The ISC YouTube channel is another great resource for checking out all that happened at ISC’14!

Major InfiniBand Announcements

During the event, the updated TOP500 list was released, showing that InfiniBand is the most used interconnect by the world’s fastest supercomputers and represents 44.4 percent of the TOP500 at 222 systems. InfiniBand also connects the top 17 most efficient systems and 50 percent of Petaflop-capable systems on the list. Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) InfiniBand, delivering 56Gb/s per link to address the bandwidth demand by high performance clustered computing, drives the systems with the highest utilization on the TOP500, achieving a record breaking 99.8 percent system efficiency.

IBTA member Finisar showcased a live demonstration of its next generation 100Gb/s Quadwire Active Optical Cable (AOC). This optical interconnect runs four parallel lanes of 25Gb/s to enable the next generation of InfiniBand EDR-based supercomputers. Leveraging Finisar’s patented fiber optic technology, the AOC will allow the transmission of high-speed data with enhanced signal integrity, higher density, lower power consumption, smaller bend radius and longer reach than traditional copper solutions.

Mellanox Technologies, also an IBTA member, unveiled the world’s first 100Gb/s EDR InfiniBand switch at ISC’14. The 100Gb/s switch expands InfiniBand’s bandwidth and provides increased switching capacity while lowering latency and power consumption. This solution, called Switch-IB, will enable application managers to use the power of data, delivering 5.4 billion packets per second, and making it an excellent solution for HPC, cloud, Web 2.0, database and storage centers.

In other news, Applied Micro teamed up with Nvidia to promote the X-Gene and Tesla duo. The Ethernet ports on the X-Gene 2 chip will be able to run RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), which brings the low latency of RDMA to the Ethernet protocol. This will make the chip not only suitable for HPC workloads that are latency sensitive, but also for database, storage, and transaction processing workloads in enterprise datacenters that also demand low latency. In tandem, Mellanox announced that their 56Gb/s InfiniBand products will now be optimized for the X-Gene platform.

To sum it all up, here are the IBTA’s key takeaways from the event:

· 100Gb/s is becoming a reality

· InfiniBand is leading the way with EDR taking center stage

· The industry is taking full advantage today of the performance and efficiency benefits of FDR and RoCE

ISC’14 was a great forum for knowledge sharing and big industry announcements. All of us at the IBTA look forward to seeing more InfiniBand news and discussions in the coming months.

bill-lee