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!

UT Dallas Grows HPC Storage Footprint for Animation and Game Development

October 28, 2020

Computer-generated animation and video game development are extraordinarily computationally intensive fields, with studios often requiring large server farms with hundreds of terabytes – or even petabytes – of storag Read more…

By Staff report

Frame by Frame, Supercomputing Reveals the Forms of the Coronavirus

October 27, 2020

From the start of the pandemic, supercomputing research has been targeting one particular protein of the coronavirus: the notorious “S” or “spike” protein, which allows the virus to pry its way into human cells a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AMD Reports Record Revenue and $35B Deal to Buy Xilinx

October 27, 2020

AMD this morning reported record quarterly revenue of $2.8 billion and a finalized deal to buy FPGA-maker Xilinx for $35 billion in an all-stock transaction. The acquisition helps AMD keep pace during a time of consolida Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chip maker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the Europe Read more…

By George Leopold

OpenHPC Progress Report – v2.0, More Recipes, Cloud and Arm Support, Says Schulz

October 26, 2020

Launched in late 2015 and transitioned to a Linux Foundation Project in 2016, OpenHPC has marched quietly but steadily forward. Its goal “to provide a reference collection of open-source HPC software components and bes Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Rapid Chip Design in the Cloud

Time-to-market and engineering efficiency are the most critical and expensive metrics for a chip design company. With this in mind, the team at Annapurna Labs selected Altair AcceleratorRead more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Berlin Institute of Health: Putting HPC to Work for the World

Researchers from the Center for Digital Health at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are using science to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, which can help to inform the development of targeted treatments. Read more…

NASA Uses Supercomputing to Measure Carbon in the World’s Trees

October 22, 2020

Trees constitute one of the world’s most important carbon sinks, pulling enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing the carbon in their trunks and the surrounding soil. Measuring this carbon sto Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AMD Reports Record Revenue and $35B Deal to Buy Xilinx

October 27, 2020

AMD this morning reported record quarterly revenue of $2.8 billion and a finalized deal to buy FPGA-maker Xilinx for $35 billion in an all-stock transaction. Th Read more…

By John Russell

OpenHPC Progress Report – v2.0, More Recipes, Cloud and Arm Support, Says Schulz

October 26, 2020

Launched in late 2015 and transitioned to a Linux Foundation Project in 2016, OpenHPC has marched quietly but steadily forward. Its goal “to provide a referen Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Dominates (Again) Latest MLPerf Inference Results

October 22, 2020

The two-year-old AI benchmarking group MLPerf.org released its second set of inferencing results yesterday and again, as in the most recent MLPerf training resu Read more…

By John Russell

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE to Build Australia’s Most Powerful Supercomputer for Pawsey

October 20, 2020

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth, Western Australia, has had a busy year. Pawsey typically spends much of its time looking to the stars, working with a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DDN-Tintri Showcases Technology Integration with Two New Products

October 20, 2020

DDN, a long-time leader in HPC storage, announced two new products today and provided more detail around its strategy for integrating DDN HPC technologies with Read more…

By John Russell

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By Doug Black

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Powers Fugaku’s Storage, Scores IO500 Win

August 28, 2020

In June, RIKEN shook the supercomputing world with its Arm-based, Fujitsu-built juggernaut: Fugaku. The system, which weighs in at 415.5 Linpack petaflops, topp Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DOD Orders Two AI-Focused Supercomputers from Liqid

August 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is making a big investment in data analytics and AI computing with the procurement of two HPC systems that will provide the High Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oracle Cloud Deepens HPC Embrace with Launch of A100 Instances, Plans for Arm, More 

September 22, 2020

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) continued its steady ramp-up of HPC capabilities today with a flurry of announcements. Topping the list is general availabilit Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This