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!

IBM Quantum Challenge 2021 – Let the Programming Begin!

May 17, 2021

Looking to sharpen or perhaps simply explore your quantum programming skills? On Thursday, IBM fires up its IBM Quantum Challenge 2021 marking the fifth anniversary of IBM Quantum Experience cloud services and the 40th  Read more…

Q&A with Altair CEO James Scapa, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

May 14, 2021

Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Altair James R. Scapa closed several acquisitions for the company in 2020, including the purchase and integration of Univa and Ellexus. Scapa founded Altair more than 35 years ago with two Read more…

HLRS HPC Helps to Model Muscle Movements

May 13, 2021

The growing scale of HPC is allowing simulation of more and more complex systems at greater detail than ever before, particularly in the biological research spheres. Now, researchers at the University of Stuttgart are le Read more…

Behind the Met Office’s Procurement of a Billion-Dollar Microsoft System

May 13, 2021

The UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, caused shockwaves of curiosity a few weeks ago when it formally announced that its forthcoming billion-dollar supercomputer – expected to be the most powerful weather and climate-focused supercomputer in the world when it launches in 2022... Read more…

AMD, GlobalFoundries Commit to $1.6 Billion Wafer Supply Deal

May 13, 2021

AMD plans to purchase $1.6 billion worth of wafers from GlobalFoundries in the 2022 to 2024 timeframe, the chipmaker revealed today (May 13) in an SEC filing. In the face of global semiconductor shortages and record-high demand, AMD is renegotiating its Wafer Supply Agreement and bumping up capacity. Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Numerical weather prediction on AWS Graviton2

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a numerical weather prediction (NWP) system designed to serve both atmospheric research and operational forecasting needs. Read more…

Hyperion Offers Snapshot of Quantum Computing Market

May 13, 2021

The nascent quantum computer (QC) market will grow 27 percent annually (CAGR) reaching $830 million in 2024 according to an update provided today by analyst firm Hyperion Research at the HPC User Forum being held this we Read more…

Behind the Met Office’s Procurement of a Billion-Dollar Microsoft System

May 13, 2021

The UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, caused shockwaves of curiosity a few weeks ago when it formally announced that its forthcoming billion-dollar supercomputer – expected to be the most powerful weather and climate-focused supercomputer in the world when it launches in 2022... Read more…

AMD, GlobalFoundries Commit to $1.6 Billion Wafer Supply Deal

May 13, 2021

AMD plans to purchase $1.6 billion worth of wafers from GlobalFoundries in the 2022 to 2024 timeframe, the chipmaker revealed today (May 13) in an SEC filing. In the face of global semiconductor shortages and record-high demand, AMD is renegotiating its Wafer Supply Agreement and bumping up capacity. Read more…

Hyperion Offers Snapshot of Quantum Computing Market

May 13, 2021

The nascent quantum computer (QC) market will grow 27 percent annually (CAGR) reaching $830 million in 2024 according to an update provided today by analyst fir Read more…

Hyperion: HPC Server Market Ekes 1 Percent Gain in 2020, Storage Poised for ‘Tipping Point’

May 12, 2021

The HPC User Forum meeting taking place virtually this week (May 11-13) kicked off with Hyperion Research’s market update, covering the 2020 period. Although Read more…

IBM Debuts Qiskit Runtime for Quantum Computing; Reports Dramatic Speed-up

May 11, 2021

In conjunction with its virtual Think event, IBM today introduced an enhanced Qiskit Runtime Software for quantum computing, which it says demonstrated 120x spe Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Fast Pass Through (Some of) the Quantum Landscape with ORNL’s Raphael Pooser

May 7, 2021

In a rather remarkable way, and despite the frequent hype, the behind-the-scenes work of developing quantum computing has dramatically accelerated in the past f Read more…

IBM Research Debuts 2nm Test Chip with 50 Billion Transistors

May 6, 2021

IBM Research today announced the successful prototyping of the world's first 2 nanometer chip, fabricated with silicon nanosheet technology on a standard 300mm Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire