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!

UK to Launch Six Major HPC Centers

March 27, 2017

Six high performance computing centers will be formally launched in the U.K. later this week intended to provide wider access to HPC resources to U.K. Read more…

By John Russell

AI in the News: Rao in at Intel, Ng out at Baidu, Nvidia on at Tencent Cloud

March 26, 2017

Just as AI has become the leitmotif of the advanced scale computing market, infusing much of the conversation about HPC in commercial and industrial spheres, it also is impacting high-level management changes in the industry. Read more…

By Doug Black

Scalable Informatics Ceases Operations

March 23, 2017

On the same day we reported on the uncertain future for HPC compiler company PathScale, we are sad to learn that another HPC vendor, Scalable Informatics, is closing its doors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Strategies in Biomedical Data Science’ Advances IT-Research Synergies

March 23, 2017

“Strategies in Biomedical Data Science: Driving Force for Innovation” by Jay A. Etchings is both an introductory text and a field guide for anyone working with biomedical data. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Quants Achieving Maximum Compute Power without the Learning Curve

The financial services industry is a fast-paced and data-intensive environment, and financial firms are realizing that they must modernize their IT infrastructures and invest in high performance computing (HPC) tools in order to survive. Read more…

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 assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Launches New Machine Learning Journal

March 22, 2017

On Monday, Google announced plans to launch a new peer review journal and “ecosystem” Read more…

By John Russell

Swiss Researchers Peer Inside Chips with Improved X-Ray Imaging

March 22, 2017

Peering inside semiconductor chips using x-ray imaging isn’t new, but the technique hasn’t been especially good or easy to accomplish. Read more…

By John Russell

LANL Simulation Shows Massive Black Holes Break ‘Speed Limit’

March 21, 2017

A new computer simulation based on codes developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is shedding light on how supermassive black holes could have formed in the early universe contrary to most prior models which impose a limit on how fast these massive ‘objects’ can form. Read more…

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 assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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. 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 campaign. Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

New Japanese Supercomputing Project Targets Exascale

March 14, 2017

Another Japanese supercomputing project was revealed this week, this one from emerging supercomputer maker, ExaScaler Inc., and Keio University. The partners are working on an original supercomputer design with exascale aspirations. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Debuts HGX-1 for Cloud; Announces Fujitsu AI Deal

March 9, 2017

On Monday Nvidia announced a major deal with Fujitsu to help build an AI supercomputer for RIKEN using 24 DGX-1 servers. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC4Mfg Advances State-of-the-Art for American Manufacturing

March 9, 2017

Last Friday (March 3, 2017), the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program held an industry engagement day workshop in San Diego, bringing together members of the US manufacturing community, national laboratories and universities to discuss the role of high-performance computing as an innovation engine for American manufacturing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. 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 campaign. Read more…

By John Russell

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. 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 assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Leading Solution Providers

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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