Sunday, November 16, 2014

100G InfiniBand Connects Supercomputers across Continents

Obsidian Strategics and Singapore's A*STAR Computational Resource Centre are pioneering long-distance, 100G InfiniBand as a means of interconnecting geographically distributed supercomputers. A demonstration planned for this week's SC14 conference in New Orleans aims to demonstrate the feasibility of using the technology for global supercomputer collaboration. The key is to transmit RDMA over transcontinental distances.

The demo will show real time analysis and control of a plasma physics experiment at the Tokyo Institute of Technology involving distributed data processing concurrently occurring in Singapore, Georgia Tech and equipment on the SC14 exhibition floor.  Tata Communications is providing the long-haul cable.

Obsidian Strategics is a privately-held company based in Canada that offers InfiniBand products featuring range extension, routing and encryption.  Obsidian's Longbow technology allows an InfiniBand fabric -- normally a short-range network (up to 17m) used in supercomputers and data centers -- to be securely extended via optical fiber over global distances. Obsidian also provides its Crossbow technology that enables very high performance routing of InfiniBand traffic between many separate subnets.

 “Supercomputers have played crucial roles in military, higher-education, R&D labs and industry for decades. Today, at the rate data usage is increasing, the uses for high performance computing have also increased. Most supercomputers today are built around a very capable open-standard LAN technology called InfiniBand, but this is limited to very short reach connections. Our work on mission critical global communication requirements from the U.S. government has allowed us to pioneer the technology capable of transparently extending InfiniBand over arbitrary distances. The result is a highly deployable communications fabric suitable for demanding applications in not only scientific computing, but also storage, data center, cloud and enterprise environments. We couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking collaboration,” stated. Dr. David Southwell, co-founder and chief visionary officer, Obsidian Strategics.

The InfiniCortex demostration is at SC14 booth #548 booth #2520.

Facebook's New Data Center Architecture

Facebook's Alexey Andreyev outlined a new data center switching architecture deployed at the company's new facility in Altoona, Iowa.

In a blog posting, Andreyev writes that while its previous data centers have been built with a hierarchically oversubscribed system of clusters, Facebook set out to make its newest data center into a single, high-performance network for the whole building.

The new design is characterized by small, identical "server pods" that only require basic mid-size switches to aggregate the Top-of-rack (TOR) switches.  Each pod has 48 server racks, each with a 10G connection. This form factor is always the same for all pods.

Each pod is served by a set of four fabric switches.  Each TOR currently has 4 x 40G uplinks, providing 160G total bandwidth capacity for a rack of 10G-connected servers.  The smaller port density of the fabric switches makes their internal architecture very simple, modular, and robust.  The switches are available from multiple sources. Symmetrical bandwidth is provisioned to/from each pod. To implement building-wide connectivity, Facebook created four independent “planes” of spine switches, each scalable up to 48 independent devices within a plane.  The network is all Layer 3 – from TOR uplinks to the edge.  Standard BGP4 is the only routing protocol. Facebook is using its own centralized BGP controller that is able to override any routing paths on the fabric by pure software decisions.

The full posting is here:

Ericsson Forecasts 3-5% Growth, Announces Cost Cutting

Ericsson is projecting the total addressable market it serves to grow at a CAGR of 3-5% from 2013-2017, with its own target at or above these levels. Ericsson's growth will be supported by a CAGR of approximately 10% in 2013-2017 in targeted areas.

At its Capital Markets Day last week in Stockholm, Ericsson said it aims to reduce its operating costs by SEK 9 billion, with full effect during 2017, with a restructuring cost of SEK 3-4 billion.  To cut costs, Ericsson is concentrating on five key areas: portfolio streamlining and ways of working in R&D; structural enhancements in IS/IT; accelerated Service Delivery transformation; supply chain efficiencies; as well as structural efficiency gains in G&A. Savings will include both headcount reductions as well as savings in external costs.

"We are taking the next step in our transformation to become a leading ICT player. The telecom, IT and media industries are converging and we are confident in our choice of strategy to play a key role in this new world. We will continue to build on our combined strength of technology and services leadership to stay relevant to our customers in a transforming industry," stated Hans Vestberg, President and CEO.

Some highlights:

  • Ericsson believes we are at the inflection point toward to a Network Society.  By 2020, the company is forecasting 9.5 billion mobile subscriptions and 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. This will drive an 8X increase in data traffic.
  • Ericsson estimates that the total network equipment market during the years 2013-2017 will show a CAGR of 2-4%; the telecom services market is estimated to show a CAGR of 4-6%; and the market for support solutions is forecasted to show a CAGR of 7-9% in the same period.
  • The dismantling of previous joint ventures is now complete (ST-Ericsson and Sony Ericsson)
  • North America has been the company's fastest growing region from 2010-2013 and constituted 28% of sales for 2013. Overall EMEA sales were 39% of total sales for 2013.
  • Mobile broadband growth continues to be offset by declines in CDMA and circuit switched voice.
  • Network rollout (NRO) has been a low-margin to negative operating margin business for the past few years
  • Ericsson is seeing significant revenue from its IPR licensing deal with Samsung last years.
  • Ericsson now has 115,900 active employees.
  • Ericsson support networks that connect more than 2.5 billion subscribers. 

Presentation materials are on the Investor Relations section of the Ericsson website.

Mellanox Delivers EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand and Ethernet Adapter

Mellanox Technologies introduced its ConnectX-4 single/dual-port 100Gb/s Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) adapter.

Mellanox’s ConnectX-4 VPI adapter delivers 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 56 and 100Gb/s throughput supporting both the InfiniBand and the Ethernet standard protocols.  It can connect any CPU architecture – x86, GPU, POWER, ARM, FPGA, etc, Performance is listed at 150 million messages per second with latency of 0.7usec. The new adapter supports the new RoCE v2 (RDMA) specification, the full variety of  overlay networks technologies - NVGRE (Network Virtualization using GRE), VXLAN  (Virtual Extensible LAN), GENEVE (Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation), and MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching), and storage offloads such as T10-DIF and RAID offload, etc.  Sampling is expected in Q1 2015.

“Large-scale clusters have incredibly high demands and require extremely low latency and high bandwidth,” said Jorge Vinals, director at Minnesota Supercomputing Institute of the University of Minnesota. “Mellanox’s ConnectX-4 will provide us with the node-to-node communication and real-time data retrieval capabilities we needed to make our EDR InfiniBand cluster the first of its kind in the U.S. With 100Gb/s capabilities, the EDR InfiniBand large-scale cluster will become a critical contribution to research at the University of Minnesota.”

“Cloud infrastructures are becoming a more mainstream way of building compute and storage networks.  More corporations and applications target the vast technological and financial improvements that utilization of the cloud offers,” said Eyal Waldman, president and CEO of Mellanox.

Wilcon Deploys Ciena Packet/Optical in SoCal

Wilcon, a provider of fiber optic network infrastructure in Southern California, is using Ciena’s converged packet-optical and packet networking platforms to offer scalable Ethernet and wavelength services.  Wilcon targets industry professionals and production houses from San Diego to Los Angeles. It fiber network connects major data centers, colocation facilities, enterprise locations and wireless communications sites across the region. The network is made up of 3,000 miles of fiber and 1,000 on-net locations.

The network uses Ciena’s E-Suite family, including the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with eMOTR and WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors. Wilcon is also offering a range of Ethernet services leveraging Ciena’s 5142 and 5160 Service Aggregation Switches and 3930 and 3931 Service Delivery Switches – with subtending G.8032 Ethernet rings off the 6500 – which enable increased network scalability and protection of services.

LightRiver, an network integrator,  provided turnkey implementation, while Ciena provided project consulting via its Specialist Services portfolio.  The new network will be live throughout the region in the first quarter of 2015.

Xilinx Announces 25G Ethernet IP for FPGAs

Xilinx announced low latency 25G Ethernet IP for FPGAs aimed at data center switching.

The low latency 25G Ethernet MAC and PCS LogiCORE IP solution supports the new 25G Ethernet Consortium specification and will be aligned with the industry's continuing advancements in next-generation processors, which are doubling their performance for tomorrow's data center servers.

Xilinx is demonstrating the 25G Ethernet MAC and PCS LogiCORE IP solution at this week's Supercomputing in New Orleans. The live demonstration utilizes two Virtex UltraScale VCU107 boards communicating over four channels of 25G Ethernet through 5 meters of direct attached copper cable and two QSFP+ modules.

CityFibre Signs EE and Three UK

CityFibre has signed a long-term national framework agreement to provide dark fiber to mobile network operators EE and Three UK, along with their infrastructure joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL).

The deal will see CityFibre deploy dark fiber backhaul connections to mobile masts across both operators’ networks.

CityFibre operates fiber networks in 57 UK towns and cities.  The company has begun four Gigabit City projects in York, Peterborough, Coventry and Aberdeen .

NEC Debuts Cloud Service for Car Dealerships

NEC introduced a cloud service aimed at car manufacturers and dealerships expanding throughout emerging markets.

The idea is to help car manufacturers implement management systems in dealerships quickly and at low cost for sales and maintenance functions. The service is able to collect and analyze dealership management data and provide it in a report format for the companies that oversee dealerships.

 "This innovative new service utilizes the cloud to offer a wide variety of functions in support of car dealership services, including the management of quotations, sales, inventory and order placement for new cars and parts, as well as the management of repair bookings, working-hours and history. Rather than a customer building their own system, NEC's solution can be introduced in about one-third of the time and for approximately one-half of the cost," explained Mitsuhiko Nozue, general manager, 2nd Manufacturing and Automotive Industries Solutions Division of NEC.