Mellanox Cracks 100 Gbps with New InfiniBand Adapters

By Robert Gelber

June 18, 2012

Interconnect maker Mellanox has developed a new architecture for high performance InfiniBand. Known as Connect-IB, this is the company’s fourth major InfiniBand adapter redesign, following in the footsteps of its InfiniHost, InfiniHost III and ConnectX lines. The new adapters double the throughput of the company’s FDR InfinBand gear, supporting speeds beyond 100 Gbps.

Over the past 10 years, CPU compute power has increased roughly 100-fold, but interconnect bandwidth has been lagging, creating communications bottlenecks in servers. At the same time clusters are getting larger, further compounding the problem. This is certainly happening in HPC, but also in the commercial realm of cloud computing, and now, big data.

In all cases, the trend is toward larger and larger clusters with CPUs whose core counts are increasing at aMoore’s Law pace. With Connect-IB, Mellanox is attempting to re-sync the interconnect with the performance curve, with the goal to provide a balanced ratio of computational power and network bandwidth.

Connect-IB was designed as a foundational technology for future exascale systems and ultra-scale datacenters.  Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing development at Mellanox, claims the redesign offers unlimited interconnect scalability via its new Dynamic Connected Transport technology. “If you build something, you need it to handle tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands [of nodes] if you want that architecture to last for the next couple of years,” he told HPCwire.

Connect-IB increases performance for both MPI- and PGAS-based applications. The architecture also features the latest GPUDirect RDMA technology, known as GPUDirect v3. This allows direct GPU-to-GPU communication, bypassing the OS and CPU. Overall, new adapters can process 130 million messages per second. The current generation ConnectX/VPI adapters, which handle both InfiniBand and Ethernet, deliver just 33 million messages per second, or roughly a quarter of Connect-IB’s capabilities.

Latency on the new adapters is 0.7 microseconds, which is equal to that of the latest Connect-X hardware for FDR InfiniBand. That’s pretty much tops in the commodity interconnect space today. Ethernet RDMA (RoCE), for example, comes in slightly behind at 1.3 microsecond latency.

When asked about the latency numbers, Shainer said the technology is approaching its physical limits and that further improvements would be minimal. “We’re getting very close to what you can cut,” he noted. “Right now the bigger portion of the latency is on the server side. It will be reduced moving to the future, but it’s not going to be a huge reduction.”

Connect-IB’s throughput marks the architecture’s greatest advantage. The highest-end part, which needs a PCI Express 3.0 interface, can break 100 Gbps.  The increased bandwidth is welcome among a variety of applications and Shainer explained one hypothetical case involving SSD storage.

He noted that a server loaded with 24 SATA III SSDs could support a theoretical data throughput of 12 GB/second. To achieve that level of I/O without bottlenecks, the server’s interconnect would have to deliver 96 Gbps. This would require the equivalent of 15 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC)cards, 10 10GbE cards, or a single Connect-IB card with dual-FDR InfiniBand (56 Gbps) ports. Of course, there are no standard servers with more than a handful of I/O ports, so an FC or Ethernet solution for a heavily loaded SSD configuration is essentially out of the question.

“If you want to go the Fibre Channel way, you would have to put 15 cards in that box,” explained Shainer. “There is no way you’re going to do it. You create storage density, but from the other side you can’t take it out, so you lose the ability to do storage density.”

Mellanox will initially be releasing five InfiniBand adapters using the Connect-IB technology. The first unit will support PCIe 2.0 x16 with one port of 56 Gbps connectivity, which for the first time delivers FDR speeds to AMD-based servers. Two adapters have been also been developed with a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface. With a maximum throughput of 56 Gbps, these adapters can be ordered in one- or two-port configurations.

The last pair of adapters use a full PCIe 3.0 x16 interface. The maximum Connect-IB bandwidth of 112 Gbps is achieved with the dual-FDR-port adapter.  In this case, multiple cables would be required between the adapter and the next hop. Mellanox is also offering a single-port PCIe 3.0 x16 adapter, providing 56 Gbps. Since maximum throughput from each port is the same as that of FDR InfiniBand, the new adapters are compatible with current switches.

Supported operating systems include Windows Server 2008 and a variety of Linux distributions including Red Hat Enterprise and Novell SLES. Connect-IB will also work with VMWare ESX 5.1, OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) and OpenFabrics Windows Distribution (WinOF).

The current Connect-X/VPI adapter line is not going away as a result of the Connect-IB introduction. In fact, the company plans to incorporate the more performant architecture in the fourth generation of Connect-X adapters, which support both InfiniBand and Ethernet.

A number of organizations across HPC, Web 2.0, cloud and storage have been lining up for the new Connect-IB products, according to Shainer.  “We might see deployments this year, but definitely early next year,” he said. “Right now it’s too early to expose the names, but yes, we have customers.”

Prototypes are currently working at Mellanox labs and samples will be sent to customers in Q3, with general availability expected in early Q4. Mellanox will be running a lab demonstration of Connect-IB at ISC’12 this week inHamburg,Germany.

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!

Supercomputing Helps Explain the Milky Way’s Shape

September 30, 2022

If you look at the Milky Way from “above,” it almost looks like a cat’s eye: a circle of spiral arms with an oval “iris” in the middle. That iris — a starry bar that connects the spiral arms — has two stran Read more…

Top Supercomputers to Shake Up Earthquake Modeling

September 29, 2022

Two DOE-funded projects — and a bunch of top supercomputers — are converging to improve our understanding of earthquakes and enable the construction of more earthquake-resilient buildings and infrastructure. The firs Read more…

How Intel Plans to Rebuild Its Manufacturing Supply Chain

September 29, 2022

Intel's engineering roots saw a revival at this week's Innovation, with attendees recalling the show’s resemblance to Intel Developer Forum, the company's annual developer gala last held in 2016. The chipmaker cut t Read more…

Intel Labs Launches Neuromorphic ‘Kapoho Point’ Board

September 28, 2022

Over the past five years, Intel has been iterating on its neuromorphic chips and systems, aiming to create devices (and software for those devices) that closely mimic the behavior of the human brain through the use of co Read more…

DOE Announces $42M ‘COOLERCHIPS’ Datacenter Cooling Program

September 28, 2022

With massive machines like Frontier guzzling tens of megawatts of power to operate, datacenters’ energy use is of increasing concern for supercomputer operations – and particularly for the U.S. Department of Energy ( Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1818499862

Rearchitecting AWS Batch managed services to leverage AWS Fargate

AWS service teams continuously improve the underlying infrastructure and operations of managed services, and AWS Batch is no exception. The AWS Batch team recently moved most of their job scheduler fleet to a serverless infrastructure model leveraging AWS Fargate. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1166887495

Improving Insurance Fraud Detection using AI Running on Cloud-based GPU-Accelerated Systems

Insurance is a highly regulated industry that is evolving as the industry faces changing customer expectations, massive amounts of data, and increased regulations. A major issue facing the industry is tracking insurance fraud. Read more…

Do You Believe in Science? Take the HPC Covid Safety Pledge

September 28, 2022

ISC 2022 was back in person, and the celebration was on. Frontier had been named the first exascale supercomputer on the Top500 list, and workshops, poster sessions, paper presentations, receptions, and booth meetings we Read more…

How Intel Plans to Rebuild Its Manufacturing Supply Chain

September 29, 2022

Intel's engineering roots saw a revival at this week's Innovation, with attendees recalling the show’s resemblance to Intel Developer Forum, the company's ann Read more…

Intel Labs Launches Neuromorphic ‘Kapoho Point’ Board

September 28, 2022

Over the past five years, Intel has been iterating on its neuromorphic chips and systems, aiming to create devices (and software for those devices) that closely Read more…

HPE to Build 100+ Petaflops Shaheen III Supercomputer

September 27, 2022

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia has announced that HPE has won the bid to build the Shaheen III supercomputer. Sh Read more…

Intel’s New Programmable Chips Next Year to Replace Aging Products

September 27, 2022

Intel shared its latest roadmap of programmable chips, and doesn't want to dig itself into a hole by following AMD's strategy in the area.  "We're thankfully not matching their strategy," said Shannon Poulin, corporate vice president for the datacenter and AI group at Intel, in response to a question posed by HPCwire during a press briefing. The updated roadmap pieces together Intel's strategy for FPGAs... Read more…

Intel Ships Sapphire Rapids – to Its Cloud

September 27, 2022

Intel has had trouble getting its chips in the hands of customers on time, but is providing the next best thing – to try out those chips in the cloud. Delayed chips such as Sapphire Rapids server processors and Habana Gaudi 2 AI chip will be available on a platform called the Intel Developer Cloud, which was announced at the Intel Innovation event being held in San Jose, California. Read more…

More Details on ‘Half-Exaflop’ Horizon System, LCCF Emerge

September 26, 2022

Since 2017, plans for the Leadership-Class Computing Facility (LCCF) have been underway. Slated for full operation somewhere around 2026, the LCCF’s scope ext Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Nvidia Introduces New Ada Lovelace GPU Architecture, OVX Systems, Omniverse Cloud

September 20, 2022

In his GTC keynote today, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched another new Nvidia GPU architecture: Ada Lovelace, named for the legendary mathematician regarded as Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

AWS Takes the Short and Long View of Quantum Computing

August 30, 2022

It is perhaps not surprising that the big cloud providers – a poor term really – have jumped into quantum computing. Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google, and th Read more…

US Senate Passes CHIPS Act Temperature Check, but Challenges Linger

July 19, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a major hurdle that will open up close to $52 billion in grants for the semiconductor industry to boost manufacturing, supply chain and research and development. U.S. senators voted 64-34 in favor of advancing the CHIPS Act, which sets the stage for the final consideration... Read more…

Chinese Startup Biren Details BR100 GPU

August 22, 2022

Amid the high-performance GPU turf tussle between AMD and Nvidia (and soon, Intel), a new, China-based player is emerging: Biren Technology, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shanghai. At Hot Chips 34, Biren co-founder and president Lingjie Xu and Biren CTO Mike Hong took the (virtual) stage to detail the company’s inaugural product: the Biren BR100 general-purpose GPU (GPGPU). “It is my honor to present... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

Exclusive Inside Look at First US Exascale Supercomputer

July 1, 2022

HPCwire takes you inside the Frontier datacenter at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for an interview with Frontier Project Direc Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

UCIe Consortium Incorporates, Nvidia and Alibaba Round Out Board

August 2, 2022

The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) consortium is moving ahead with its effort to standardize a universal interconnect at the package level. The c Read more…

Using Exascale Supercomputers to Make Clean Fusion Energy Possible

September 2, 2022

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, has incredible potential as a source of safe, carbon-free and essentially limitless energy. But Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

Nvidia, Qualcomm Shine in MLPerf Inference; Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Makes an Appearance.

September 8, 2022

The steady maturation of MLCommons/MLPerf as an AI benchmarking tool was apparent in today’s release of MLPerf v2.1 Inference results. Twenty-one organization Read more…

Not Just Cash for Chips – The New Chips and Science Act Boosts NSF, DOE, NIST

August 3, 2022

After two-plus years of contentious debate, several different names, and final passage by the House (243-187) and Senate (64-33) last week, the Chips and Science Act will soon become law. Besides the $54.2 billion provided to boost US-based chip manufacturing, the act reshapes US science policy in meaningful ways. NSF’s proposed budget... Read more…

India Launches Petascale ‘PARAM Ganga’ Supercomputer

March 8, 2022

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Indian government promised that it had five HPC systems in the final stages of installation and would launch nine new supercomputers this year. Now, it appears to be making good on that promise: the country’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has announced the deployment of “PARAM Ganga” petascale supercomputer at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire