OpenFabrics Alliance Weaves Its Story at SC09

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 15, 2009

We have developed something of a tradition at HPCwire in the weeks leading up to each year’s SC conference; we interview the chairman of the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA). We realized five years ago the major impact that OFA’s free, open-source software stack could have on the HPC community, and we want to keep our readers updated on the work being done by OFA as well as the latest enhancements to the OpenFabrics Software stack.

Jim Ryan of Intel has been the OFA’s chair all these years, and our annual interview with Jim was as interesting as ever.

HPCwire: Good to talk with you again this year Jim. OFA members have been part of SCinet each year at SC. I suspect that is to allow exhibitors to show attendees the latest capabilities they’ve developed to leverage OpenFabrics Software on InfiniBand and Ethernet networks. What is being shown this year?

Jim Ryan: For the past four years, SCinet’s OpenFabrics Team has built networks at SC so exhibitors can demonstrate their products and research, including interconnects for servers, clusters, storage and file systems. This year we are setting records with the number of industry participants (18), the highest speed (IB 12X at 120Gbps) and the range of innovative applications that are on display.

OFA is collaborating with the HPC Advisory Council and together we are showing:

— Remote Desktop over InfiniBand (RDI) that enables live desktop sharing at high speeds between tens of participants.
— Direct Transport Compositor (DTC) that provides real-time rendering of a PSA Peugeot Citroen automotive CAD model in 2D/3D.
— New high-bandwidth MPI technology that takes advantage of 120Gbps data rates from a single server.

In addition to these demos, any connected exhibitors can demonstrate interoperability using OpenFabrics Software for Linux or Windows on the same IB network to exploit the full range of RDMA Application Services (R-DMAS). These include all the MPIs (e.g., Open, MVapich, Intel, HP), uDAPL, accelerated IP networking, Sockets using Oracle’s RDS, SRP and iSCSI for block storage, and file systems using any of NFS, Gluster, IBRIX, Lustre, and GPFS.

HPCwire: What else is on tap for OFA at SC09?

Ryan: We’ll be hosting a Birds of a Feather session at 5:30 p.m. on November 18 in Room PB251. At that time, we’ll have a very important announcement to make about a significant new member.

During the session, we’ll also announce the status, features and schedule for the next software releases: OFED 1.5 for Linux and WinOF 2.1 for Windows. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask OFA developers questions about many topics, such as improved routing for IB, routing options in Ethernet for clusters, the status of iWARP, and support in Linux environments for IEEE Datacenter Bridging on 10 Gigabit Ethernet for clustering. We’ll also be talking about our scalability road map, including plans for evolving OpenFabrics to be the interconnect software of choice for ExtremeScale.

On the exhibit floor, OFA is sharing Booth 137 with the InfiniBand Trade Association. There will be live demos and talks by our members as well as a joint presentation with the IBTA at 11:30 a.m. on November 17 at the Exhibitor Forum.

HPCwire: Can you tell our readers how OpenFabrics Software benefits end users?

Ryan: Well, the benefits must be pretty compelling because analysts estimate about 60 percent of all new HPC systems worldwide utilize OpenFabrics Software. We’re also seeing adoption in the enterprise where our software is being used to achieve high-speed server-to-storage communication and to implement unified fabrics on IB and low-latency Ethernet networks.

By linking applications to any of the RDMA services in the OpenFabrics Software, users can be assured they are getting the highest achievable data-transfer rates, the lowest achievable latencies (1 to 3 microseconds) and the most efficient computing (75 to 85 percent server utilization) for a full range of virtualization and enterprise datacenter applications, cloud computing, and simulation/modeling.

As an example, Oracle advertises RAC with IB as delivering a 10X improvement in application speed at half the hardware cost of traditional implementations. That’s made possible by OpenFabrics Software.

Users also gain the freedom of choice over a wide range of operating systems, computer architectures, and network and storage technologies. In each of these dimensions, we are seeing increased support from major vendors such as Dell, HP, IBM and Sun. All offer OpenFabrics Software with appropriate products. They also provide technical support.

HPCwire: Who are some of the members of the OpenFabrics Alliance?

Ryan: The primary network and interconnect vendors include Cisco, Mellanox, QLogic and Voltaire — all of which offer both Ethernet and InfiniBand products. The server vendors include Cray, HP, IBM and Sun. Storage is represented by DDN, LSI and NetApp, and databases by Oracle. Among the smaller members are Endace, System Fabric Works and Xsigo. Large users are represented by the DOE labs — Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia. And for processors, we have Intel and AMD.

HPCwire: We hear a lot about Ethernet becoming the “converged network” that will be the only interconnect users need. How is OpenFabrics viewing this advocacy from certain vendors and what range of networks or fabrics are you supporting?

Ryan: As you know, InfiniBand has been the basis of our early work. Right from its inception 10 years ago, IB was conceived and architected as a unified fabric for all HPC and datacenter applications. In HPC, this vision is starting to take shape now. What people frequently overlook is that IB is architected in layers — application interfaces at the top, software in the middle and hardware at the bottom. Much of the value in IB is in the software which implements zero copy transfers, RDMA, APIs in the kernel, user space and reliable transports. So when we adopted iWARP a couple of years back that allowed the existing software to be integrated to provide an RDMA capability over Ethernet.

iWARP uses TCP/IP (that’s Layers 4 and 3) and Ethernet (Layer 2) as its underlying transport with the TCP/IP outboard on an adapter. This is excellent for users who need to maintain TCP/IP with store and forward routing of messages within their datacenters. At SC09, you can see iWARP demos at booths hosted by the Ethernet Alliance, Intel, Chelsio and others.

Now some organizations are starting to realize “Ethernet only” is all they need within their datacenters, particularly with the emergence of low-latency cut-through switches and DCB from the IEEE. Within OFA, some members have implemented the software from IB directly on both hardware-accelerated and legacy-Ethernet adapters and chipsets without any TCP or IP. It’s too early to tell right now how this will be accepted by vendors and users, but at SC you’ll be able to see a demo at the Ethernet Alliance booth.

HPCwire: What is OFA currently focused on?

Ryan: Let’s start with HPC. Reliable, efficient, scalable software for IB clusters that have 10 to 100,000 nodes is what our founding DOE Lab members are telling us they need in the next year or two. So that’s a high priority that will be of value to all users of OpenFabrics Software. It will be also become essential as IB speeds up to 40-80-120 gigabits with latencies below 1 microsecond.

I think we can all see in the next couple of years 10 Gigabit Ethernet prices for cluster connections (switch port and adapter/chip) dropping below $1,000. Then we will start to see an enormous percentage of clusters and datacenters migrate from their 1 Gigabit Ethernet networks to 10 gigabits. We believe that’s when RDMA over Ethernet, with or without TCP/IP, will hit its stride and converged or unified fabrics will become de rigeur. In the OFA, we are preparing both our Linux and Windows stacks to be the software of choice for this migration. OpenFabrics Software will be particularly valuable for organizations that need to support both legacy applications and RDMA applications.

Also in coming years, as we embark on extreme scalability in HPC, and virtualization and fabric unification penetrate deeper into datacenters, the OpenFabrics RDMA storage application services will become more important. It will enable traditional fibre channel SAN, iSCSI and NAS protocols to be used on the unified fabric, whether it be Ethernet or InfiniBand.

Jim, thanks for giving HPCwire’s readers such a detailed view into the OFA. You and your members have shown us the value of partnership and collaboration amongst vendors, developers and customers in an open-source community. See you in Portland at SC09 on November 15.

To keep up with the latest news from the OFA, goto www.openfabrics.org or join the OpenFabrics Alliance Facebook group.

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!

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “pre-exascale” award), parsed out additional information ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid whoops and hollers from the crowd, Thomas Sterling presented t Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out plans to push deeper into climate science and develop more gran Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale companies and their embrace of AI and deep learning – tha Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Creating a Roadmap for HPC Innovation at ISC 2017

In an era where technological advancements are driving innovation to every sector, and powering major economic and scientific breakthroughs, high performance computing (HPC) is crucial to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Read more…

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network designed to emulate and compete with the human brain. In thi Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big data and artificial intelligence software to its top-of-the-l Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “global” launch event in Austin TX. In many ways it was a fu Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it, analysts and journalists want to report on it. Deep learni Read more…

By Doug Black

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid wh Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out pla Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big d Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “g Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

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

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors. The infrastructure is based on the 68-core Intel Knights Landing processor with integrated Omni-Path fabric (the 7250F Xeon Phi). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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