The Week in Review
Here is a collection of highlights from this week’s news stream as reported by HPCwire.
Mellanox Kicks Off FlexBoot
Mellanox has rolled out a a multiprotocol remote boot technology, called FlexBoot, that offers IT administrators the flexibility to dynamically provision datacenter servers across both InfiniBand and Ethernet fabrics simultaneously. When combined with Virtual Protocol Interconnect technologies available in ConnectX and ConnectX-2 adapters, FlexBoot enables remote boot over InfiniBand or Ethernet using either Boot over InfiniBand (BoIB), Boot over Ethernet (BoE), or Boot over iSCSI (Bo-iSCSI). Mellanox’s family of ConnectX adapters are compatible with 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 10, 20 and 40Gb/s InfiniBand.
Here’s some info from the press release that explains how it all works:
Mellanox’s unique Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) technology enables the adapter card to auto-sense the connected fabric and configure the port type as InfiniBand or Ethernet. FlexBoot, based on the EtherBoot/gPXE open source architecture, works in conjunction with VPI technology giving IT managers the flexibility to deploy servers with one adapter card into InfiniBand or 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks that can boot from a remote storage target (iSCSI target) or a LAN target (Ethernet Remote Boot Server). Whether using ConnectX in 10GigE or InfiniBand applications, FlexBoot provides IT administrators ease-of-use and reduced complexity.
FlexBoot is supported on Mellanox ConnectX, ConnectX-2, and InfiniHost III Ex/Lx InfiniBand adapters, and is available now. Additional information can be found on the product page.
Open Cirrus Makes Three for Carnegie Mellon
Carnegie Mellon announced the addition of its newest cluster to the pool of clusters collectively known as Open Cirrus, a global, open-source testbed for the advancement of cloud computing research and education. Open Cirrus was launched in 2008 by HP, Intel and Yahoo to promote collaboration among industry, academia and government using Internet-scale computing. With Carnegie Mellon on board, there are now 10 “centers of excellence” participating in the global testbed.
Carnegie Mellon is not new to cloud computing. It was the first university to make use of M45, a 4,000-processor, Hadoop-based computing cluster that Yahoo made available to the academic world in late 2007. Carnegie Mellon researchers have also benefited from access to the existing Open Cirrus site operated by Intel Labs Pittsburgh on the Carnegie Mellon campus. With the addition of the latest cluster, Carnegie Mellon researchers now have three cloud-computing clusters available for running experiments.
The newest cluster was made possible by Intel, which provided processors and financial backing for the project. The cluster sports 159 servers and 1,165 processing cores with 2.4 terabytes of memory and just under 900 terabytes of storage. APC contributed power management and cooling systems.
Greg Ganger, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Carnegie Mellon’s Parallel Data Lab, said that the Caregie Mellon site will work on making the cloud computing infrastructure faster, more reliable and more energy efficient, and the cloud will be used in innovative ways for new applications. There will be a focus on applications that require Internet-scale resources, such as natural language processing, automated knowledge-extraction from the Web and developing a deeper understanding of the “wisdom of crowds.”
As is customary for Open Cirrus partners, the computing cluster will be made available to researchers worldwide later this year.
And the Winner Is…Computer Engineer Barbie
In Barbie news, Mattel has announced Barbie’s latest career choice. For the first time, the public was asked to help select Barbie doll’s career, choosing from among Architect, Computer Engineer, Environmentalist, News Anchor or Surgeon.
Well, the results were unveiled on February 12 at New York Toy Fair and the winner of the popular vote is Computer Engineer. (News Anchor won the vote of young girls in a global study and was also selected as a winning career.)
Nora Lin, president of the Society of Women Engineers, weighed in:
“All the girls who imagine their futures through Barbie will learn that engineers — like girls — are free to explore infinite possibilities, limited only by their imagination. As a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can turn their ideas into realities that have a direct and positive impact on people’s everyday lives in this exciting and rewarding career.”
And if you wondered as I did what look this latest career would inspire, the announcement (PDF) explains it thusly:
To create an authentic look, Barbie designers worked closely with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to develop the wardrobe and accessories for Computer Engineer Barbie. Wearing a binary code patterned tee and equipped with all the latest gadgets including a smart phone, Bluetooth headset, and laptop travel bag, Computer Engineer Barbie is geek chic.