Intersect360 Survey Shows Continued InfiniBand Dominance

By John Russell

July 4, 2017

There were few surprises in Intersect360 Research’s just released report on interconnect use in HPC. InfiniBand and Ethernet remain the dominant protocols across all segments (system, storage, LAN) and Mellanox and Cisco lead the supplier pack. The big question is when or if Intel’s Omi-Path fabric will break through. Less than one percent of the sites surveyed (system and storage interconnect) reported using Omni-Path.

“Although this share trails well behind Mellanox, Intel will move toward the integration of its interconnect technologies into its processor roadmap with the introduction of Omni-Path. This potentially changes the dynamics of the system fabric business considerably, as Intel may begin to market the network as a feature extension of the Intel processing environment,” according to the Intersect360 Research report.

“For its part, Mellanox has preemptively responded both strategically and technologically, surrounding itself with powerful partners in the OpenPOWER Foundation and coming to market with features such as multi-host technologies, which argue for keeping host-bus adapter technology off-chip.”

Indeed Mellanox and Intel have waged a war of words over the past two years surrounding the direction of network technology and the merits of off-loading networking instructions from the host CPU and distributing more processing power throughout the network. Of course, these are still early days for Omni-Path. Battling benchmarks aside, InfiniBand remains firmly entrenched at the high end although 100 Gigabit Ethernet is also gaining attraction.

It is important to note the Intersect360 data is from its 2016+ HPC site survey. This most recent and ninth consecutive Intersect360 survey was conducted in the second and third quarter of 2016 and received responses from 240 sites. Combined with entries from the prior two surveys, 487 HPC sites are represented in Site Census reports in 2016. In total, 474 sites reported interconnect and network characteristics for 723 HPC systems, 633 storage systems, and 638 LANs. The next survey should provide stronger directional guidance for Omni-Path.

Among key highlights from the report are:

  • Over 30% of system interconnect and LAN installations reported using 1 Gigabit Ethernet. “We believe that these slower technologies are often used as secondary administrative connections on clusters, and as primary interconnect for small throughput-oriented clusters. In the LAN realm, we see Gigabit Ethernet as still in use for smaller organizations and/or for subnetworks supporting departments/workgroups within larger organizations. Still, the tenacity of this technology surprises us.”
  • About 72% of Gigabit Ethernet was mentioned as a secondary interconnect, not primary. Gigabit Ethernet comes on many systems as a standard cluster interconnect, contributing to its high use in distributed memory systems.
  • InfiniBand continues to be the preferred high-performance system interconnect. “If we exclude Ethernet 1G (dubbed high-performance interconnect), installations of InfiniBand are about two times the combined installations of Ethernet (10G, 40G, and 100G). Within InfiniBand installations, InfiniBand 40G continues to be the most installed. However, for systems acquired since 2014, InfiniBand 56G is the most popular choice for systems.”
  • Ten Gigabit Ethernet is used more for storage and LAN installations than any other protocol. Installations of 10 Gigabit Ethernet account for 35% of all storage networks reported and 35% of all LANs reported. InfiniBand has been gradually increasing its share of storage networks, increasing from to 34% from 31% with almost all of this coming from InfiniBand 56G.
Figure 3 provides a visual of the transition to higher speeds for InfiniBand system interconnects for systems reported since our very first Site Census survey in 2008. For systems acquired in 2007, we saw about equal distribution between InfiniBand 10G and 20G. By 2009, more systems reported using InfiniBand 40G. InfiniBand 40G accounted for majority share of systems until 2014 when InfiniBand 56G took over as the primary installed system interconnect. The transition is fast with the latest performance leader accounting for the majority of shipments within two to three years of availability.

Two main drivers of the overall market, reports Intersect360, are 1) the growth in data volume and stress it puts on interconnect along and 2) a persistent “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” attitude with regard to with switching to new technologies. Ethernet is benefiting from the latter.

Parallelization of code is another major influence. “Architecting interconnects for parallel applications performance has long been a major concern for MPP systems which are built around proprietary interconnects, and supercomputer-class clusters which tend to use the fastest general-purpose network technology. We believe that the trend towards greater application parallelization at all levels will drive requirements for network performance down market into high-end and midrange computing configurations,” according to Intersect360.

The report is best read in full: Here’s a brief excerpt from the report’s conclusion:

“The transition to the latest or faster interconnect appears to be occurring at about the same rate as the life cycle of servers – every two to three years. With each system refresh, the latest or best price/performance interconnect is chosen. Ultimately, though, application needs drive what system performance requirements are needed. The cost of components limit the rate of adoption. Our data suggests most academic and government sites, along with some of the commercial sites, particularly energy, large manufacturing, and bio-science sites, value the performance of InfiniBand for system interconnects. Many of the applications in these areas support and users leverage multi-processing, GPUs, and multi-core architectures.”

Perhaps not surprising, Mellanox was the top supplier for system interconnects (42% of mentions) and storage networks (35% of mentions) – in fact Intersect360 reports Mellanox gained market share in all segments its 2015 showing. Cisco continues to be the leading supplier for the LAN market, with 46% of the mentions, according to Intersect360.

Link to report summary: http://www.intersect360.com/industry/reports.php?id=149

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!

Graphcore Introduces Larger-Than-Ever IPU-Based Pods

October 22, 2021

Graphcore and its “Intelligent Processing Units” (IPUs) emerged from stealth in 2016 and launched its second-generation IPU in 2020. While the company has also launched its IPUs in a variety of form factors over the Read more…

Quantum Chemistry Project to Be Among the First on EuroHPC’s LUMI System

October 22, 2021

Finland’s CSC has just installed the first module of LUMI, a 550-peak petaflops system supported by the European Union’s EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. While LUMI -- pictured in the header -- isn’t slated to complete i Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat for that approach), announced it was expanding into gate-based Read more…

LLNL Prepares the Water and Power Infrastructure for El Capitan

October 21, 2021

When it’s (ostensibly) ready in early 2023, El Capitan is expected to deliver in excess of two exaflops of peak computing power – around four times the power of Fugaku, the current top-ranked supercomputer in the wor Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 537899029

Running GROMACS on GPU instances

Comparing the performance of real applications across different Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types is the best way we’ve found for finding optimal configurations for HPC applications here at AWS. Read more…

Faster Optical Switch that Operates at ‘Room Temp’ Developed by IBM, Skolkovo Researchers

October 19, 2021

Optical switching technology holds great promise for many applications but hot operating temperatures have been a key obstacle slowing progress. Now, a new optical switching device that can operate at room temperatures a Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

LLNL Prepares the Water and Power Infrastructure for El Capitan

October 21, 2021

When it’s (ostensibly) ready in early 2023, El Capitan is expected to deliver in excess of two exaflops of peak computing power – around four times the powe Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

Eni Returns to HPE for ‘HPC4’ Refresh via GreenLake

October 13, 2021

Italian energy company Eni is upgrading its HPC4 system with new gear from HPE that will be installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (a provi Read more…

The Blueprint for the National Strategic Computing Reserve

October 12, 2021

Over the last year, the HPC community has been buzzing with the possibility of a National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR). An in-utero brainchild of the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, an NSCR would serve as a Merchant Marine for urgent computing... Read more…

UCLA Researchers Report Largest Chiplet Design and Early Prototyping

October 12, 2021

What’s the best path forward for large-scale chip/system integration? Good question. Cerebras has set a high bar with its wafer scale engine 2 (WSE-2); it has 2.6 trillion transistors, including 850,000 cores, and was fabricated using TSMC’s 7nm process on a roughly 8” x 8” silicon footprint. Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap 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…

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…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make i Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire