Low Latency 10 GigE Looks to Build HPC Cred

By Michael Feldman

September 10, 2009

It’s probably no coincidence that at next Monday’s High Performance Computing on Wall Street event, two of the conference headliners will be touting the joys of 10 Gigabit Ethernet for the financial digerati. Arista Networks founder Andy Bechtolsheim and BLADE Network Technologies CEO Vikram Mehta will explain why low latency 10 GigE technology has become so important to financial applications.

Since the demise of Woven Systems this past May, Arista and BLADE appear to be the only two remaining Ethernet vendors offering “ultra-low-latency” switching in a lossless fabric. The term “ultra” has no exact meaning, but since both vendors are touting sub-microsecond port-to-port latencies in their switch boxes, we can use that as an approximate definition. Sub-microsecond switch latency brings Ethernet into the InfiniBand realm, and makes this technology suitable for all sorts of HPC mischief.

Although the deployment of 10 GigE into HPC has been occurring in slow motion, 2009 may finally be the year it takes off. In July, Purdue University announced “Coates,” a new 10 GigE supercomputer cluster that is expected to nab a top 50 spot on the next TOP500 list. And this week, Linux Magazine’s Douglas Eadline outlined some reasons why he believes 10 GigE will start to gain significant traction in HPC over the 12 months.

My 10 GigE prediction is based on the following rule of thumb, Speed, Simplicity, Cost, pick any two. I believe 10 GigE will win because of simplicity and cost. IB is already faster and has better latency and if you need this level of performance you are not even looking at Ethernet direction. The joy of clustering is that one size does not fit all and you can build your cluster around your needs.

The expectation is that 10 GigE LAN-on-motherboard controllers will become commonplace on servers over the next 12 months and will tip the economic equilibrium toward the new technology. And thanks to faster switch ASICs and more mature software, lower-cost switches from companies like Arista and BLADE will also help to bring 10 GigE into mainstream service.

Today, both companies are offering top of rack switches in the $400 to $500 per port range. BLADE’s Mehta recently told me they intend to be the first ones to break the $100 per port barrier, which would put it on par with high-end Ethernet switch pricing. And unlike Woven Systems, BLADE and Arista look to be at least reasonably financially stable.

BLADE, a private company, just announced its best quarterly revenues for Q309. According to Dell’Oro Group’s Q209 Ethernet Switch Quarterly Report, the company is now the third largest supplier of 10 GigE switches, although Cisco still owns the lion’s share of the market. (Purdue’s Coates super mentioned above is based on Cisco and Chelsio network gear.) However, in the wake of Cisco’s entrance into the server business, BLADE has aggressively gone after Cisco OEM partners, who now see the big network vendor as direct competition. Today BLADE’s OEM relationships extend to IBM, HP, NEC and Verari Systems and are starting to pay dividends. The company says it has collected over 9,000 customers spread over 26 industry verticals.

BLADE also just completed $10 million in Series B funding, bringing on board three new investors: NEC, Juniper Networks, and an unnamed new investor, which Mehta characterized as a “big technology powerhouse.” The investment from Juniper Networks is an interesting one, inasmuch as Juniper is also an Ethernet switch vendor. But the two companies have collaborated before — although the exact nature of that collaboration remains somewhat of a mystery — which could lead one to believe that these kids might get married someday, and present a more formidable threat to Cisco.

The younger Arista is not nearly as far along as BLADE, business-wise. On Dell’Oro’s Ethernet switch report, the company doesn’t even show up on the list, since presumably its market share is less than 0.1 percent, placing it in the “others” category. Nevertheless, the company does have $100 million in committed funding, which is presumably backed up by billionaire Bechtolsheim’s giga-dollars. And since the company started shipping Ethernet switch gear in 2008, Arista has managed to collect around 100 customers, spread across HPC, manufacturing, health care and financial services.

But it’s the latter vertical that has become one of the most interesting for 10 GigE vendors. Despite the fact that both Arista and BLADE have positioned themselves as cloud network providers (along with every other network vendor in existence), today the financial services space provides 30 percent of the revenue for each of these companies. A big chunk of this money is coming from the uber-profitable high frequency trading (HFT) segment, where the cloud computing model is entirely absent. Minimizing latency is at the heart of HFT, which is why both Arista and BLADE have been successful with this particular Wall Street application. In fact, some people just refer to HFT as low latency trading.

In our special coverage of the High Performance Computing on Wall Street conference next week, we’ll delve more deeply into the importance of these companies in the HFT ecosystem and the financial services space in general.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Hybrid HPC is Speeding Time to Insight and Revolutionizing Medicine

High performance computing (HPC) is a key driver of success in many verticals today, and health and life science industries are extensively leveraging these capabilities. Read more…

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Los Angeles. The Read more…

By Staff

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This