Ethernet Innovations Take Aim at HPC

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 15, 2011

Formed in 2006, the Ethernet Alliance is the non-profit industry group dedicated to advancing Ethernet technology via initiatives aimed at improving interoperability and network performance. The original focus of the group was on bringing Ethernet into the mainstream, but the Ethernet Alliance has since moved forward to encourage the development of new Ethernet technologies in the face of skyrocketing demand for bandwidth.

John D’Ambrosia, chair of the Ethernet Alliance weighed in on the focus of the Ethernet Alliance at SC11, expanding on their interoperability goals and describing the overall role of Ethernet technologies in HPC.

HPCwire: What is the Ethernet Alliance demo showcasing at SC11?

John D’Ambrosia: The Ethernet Alliance is hosting an integrated, multi-vendor demo at SC11 showcasing Ethernet as the optimal solution for all datacenter needs. Ethernet, with its broad family of solutions and its roadmap to ever-higher speeds, is that protocol.

The demo highlights Ethernet’s capacity for seamless interoperability and highlights dependable, high-performance, low-cost solutions like 10GBASE-T, as well as advancements like 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE). Data center architects can continue to rely on Ethernet, and look to enhanced and emerging Ethernet transport technologies to achieve their ultimate goals.

The display further demonstrates 40 GbE as the next throughput and bandwidth stepping stone for data center applications, which inherently will establish the future upgrade path to 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE).

HPCwire: What Ethernet technologies are gaining in importance in HPC?

D’Ambrosia: There are several important technologies beginning to take hold in the HPC space. For example, RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) is a relatively new but promising transport that continues to gain traction in today’s datacenters.

Internet Wide Area RDMA Protocol (iWARP) is a proven remote direct memory access (RDMA) over Ethernet that has been ratified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Providing cloud-ready transport with several large clusters scaled to thousands of nodes already in use, it negates the use of esoteric, risky networking and storage technologies requiring a complex amalgamation of routers, gateways, switches, software, and expertise to make HPC clusters excel.

Before the ratification of Data Center Bridging (DCB) in 2010, most datacenters have relied on Fiber Channel (FC) for lossless storage environments that could be used with confidence. With the advent of DCB, Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has become a reality – enterprise datacenter architects can leverage current Fiber Channel investments while capitalizing on greater freedom of choice. It is now possible to migrate to increasingly popular Ethernet SAN and NAS file systems, yet maintain the lossless environment required for storage. Furthermore, with today’s ratified Ethernet-based iSCSI and FCoE storage transports, datacenter architects can now choose from a diverse array of interoperable, standard-based vendors.

10GBASE-T illustrates one of Ethernet’s solutions to deploying higher speeds for even conventional IT LAN solutions. Furthermore Ethernet, with its 40GbE and 100GbE families, is keeping apace of the continuing evolution of the PCIe bus on the motherboard, thus enabling 40 GbE and 100 GbE-based servers in the future.

HPCwire: Why interoperability is so important?

D’Ambrosia: Interoperability is critical not only because it offers consumers the ability to find solutions that best fit their needs, but also minimizes the threat of being locked into a single vendor or proprietary technology – undesirable situations for a myriad of reasons.

Proprietary, non-standard based technologies can trap users into a one-dimensional world where there are few choices outside of the chosen proprietary standard and an inability to change to a new one better fitting evolving datacenter needs. Choosing an Ethernet solution enables selecting product offerings from multiple vendors. 

HPCwire: Can you describe the migration path in HPC applications?

D’Ambrosia: In particular to HPC computational clusters, Ethernet has numerous advantages and unparalleled flexibility that suit Supercomputing well both today and far into the future.

As previously mentioned, iWARP is well-established, cloud-ready, supported by multiple chip vendors, and has several large node cluster use cases. The newly formed RoCE protocol also allows InfiniBand users to easily migrate to Ethernet, casting off the need for special switches and gateways required when using multiple protocols.  

HPCwire: What’s the most important take-away today about Ethernet for anyone in HPC? Where do you see it going in the future?

D’Ambrosia: The most important take away by far is that Ethernet, while being more than 40 years old when developed by Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, CA, is continually evolving and adapting as the mainstay for everyone’s networking needs.

The current Ethernet roadmap leads from 1G LAN on Motherboard (LOM) to 10, 40, and 100GbE.  It is a real world-tested and proven, ubiquitous protocol capable of meeting both current and future networking needs ranging from Supercomputing down to consumer LANs. Additionally, Ethernet’s ability to adapt to new and future DC needs negates costly investments – such as new equipment, software, and acquiring needed expertise – into new technologies. And with its unique range of application, from supercomputers to home networks, Ethernet’s technology superiority remains unmatched.

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!

GDPR’s Impact on Scientific Research Uncertain

May 24, 2018

Amid the angst over preparations—or lack thereof—for new European Union data protections entering into force at week’s end is the equally worrisome issue of the rules’ impact on scientific research. Among the Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been emerging from stealth over the last year and a half, is unveili Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been eme Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

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

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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 Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

Google I/O 2018: AI Everywhere; TPU 3.0 Delivers 100+ Petaflops but Requires Liquid Cooling

May 9, 2018

All things AI dominated discussion at yesterday’s opening of Google’s I/O 2018 developers meeting covering much of Google's near-term product roadmap. The e Read more…

By John Russell

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