Monday, July 13, 2015

Intel Shows its Omni-Path Architecture for HPC

Intel conducted the first public "powered-on" demonstration of its Omni-Path Architecture, a next-generation fabric technology for high performance computing (HPC) clusters.

The demonstration, conducted at the ISC2015 show in Frankfurt, featured Intel Omni-Path Architecture (Intel OPA), an end-to-end solution, including PCIe* adapters, silicon, switches, cables, and management software, that builds on the existing Intel True Scale Fabric and Infiniband. Intel OPA was designed to address the challenge that processor capacity and memory bandwidth have been scaling faster than system I/O.  It accelerates the message passing interface (MPI) rates in next gen systems. Intel OPA also promises the ability to scale to tens — and eventually hundreds — of thousands of nodes.

Intel Omni-Path Architecture uses technologies acquired from both QLogic and Cray, as well as Intel-developed technologies. In the near future, Intel says it will integrate the Intel Omni-Path Host Fabric Interface onto future generations of Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors.

Intel also announced new a collaboration with HP to develop purpose-built HP Apollo systems designed to expand the use of HPC solutions to enterprises of all sizes.  The purpose built HP Apollo compute platforms will utilize the Intel HPC scalable system framework, including next generation Intel Xeon processors, the Intel Xeon Phi product family, Intel Omni-Path Architecture and the Intel Enterprise Edition of Lustre software.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/high-performance-computing-fabrics/omni-path-architecture-fabric-overview.html


In April 2015, Intel and Cray were selected to build two next generation, high-performance computing (HPC) systems that will be five to seven times more powerful than the fastest supercomputers today.

Intel will serve as prime contractor to deliver the supercomputers for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). The Aurora system will be based on Intel’s HPC scalable system framework and will be a next-generation Cray “Shasta” supercomputer. Intel said the Aurora system will be delivered in 2018 and have a peak performance of 180 petaflops, making it the world’s most powerful system currently announced to date. Aurora will use future generations of Intel Xeon Phi processors and the Intel Omni-Path Fabric high-speed interconnect technology, a new non-volatile memory architecture and advanced file system storage using Intel Lustre software.



In November 2014, Intel confirmed that its third-generation Intel Xeon Phi product family, code-named Knights Hill, will be built using 10nm process technology and that it will integrate Intel Omni-Path Fabric technology. Knights Hill will follow the upcoming Knights Landing product, with first commercial systems based on Knights Landing expected to begin shipping next year.

Intel also disclosed that its Intel Omni-Path Architecture will achieve 100 Gbps line speed and up to 56 percent lower switch fabric latency in medium-to-large clusters than InfiniBand alternatives. The architecture targets a 48 port switch chip compared to the current 36 port InfiniBand alternatives. This will reduce the number of switches required in HPC clusters.

Intel Previews Enhanced Lustre File System for HPC

Intel previewed a number of new features coming in its Enterprise Edition for Lustre 2.3, including support for Multiple Metadata Targets in the Intel Manager for Lustre GUI. Lustre, which has been in use in the world’s largest dataccenters for over a decade and hardened in the harshest big data environments, leverages an object-based storage architecture that can scale to tens of thousands of clients and petabytes of data.

New capabilities will enable Lustre metadata to be distributed across servers. Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre 2.3 supports remote directories, which allow each metadata target to serve a discrete sub-directory within the file system name space. This enables the size of the Lustre namespace and metadata throughput to scale with demand and provide dedicated metadata servers for projects, departments, or specific workloads.

Intel is also preparing to roll out new security, disaster recovery, and enhanced support features in Intel Cloud Edition for Lustre 1.2, which will arrive later this year. These enhancements will include network encryption using IPSec, the ability to recover a complete file system using snapshots, and new client mounting tools, updates to instance and target naming, and added network testing tools.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/software/intel-enterprise-edition-for-lustre-software.html

WSJ: Tsinghua Unigroup Bids for Micron

Micron Technology, which makes DRAM and NAND memories, is the target of a $23 billion acquisition offer from Tsinghua Unigroup of China, according to The Wall Street Journal.  Neither company has confirmed the report.

http://www.micron.com/


  • Tsinghua Unigroup is 51% owned by Tsinghua Holdings and 49% owned by Beijing Jiankun Investment Group.   It has previously acquired Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics.  Tsinghua Holdings is controlled by Tsinghua University in Beijing.


Intel and Micron Announce 3D NAND Flash Memory

Intel and Micron Technology announced availability of their 3D NAND technology, the world's highest-density flash memory, for use in data center servers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.


The new 3D NAND technology, which was jointly developed by Intel and Micron, stacks layers of data storage cells vertically to create storage devices with three times higher capacity than competing NAND technologies.  The companies have been able to package up to 48GB of NAND per die — enabling three-fourths of a terabyte to fit in a single fingertip-sized package.  A 256Gb MLC version of 3D NAND currently is sampling with select partners, and a 384Gb TLC design will be sampling later this spring.

"Micron and Intel's collaboration has created an industry-leading solid-state storage technology that offers high density, performance and efficiency and is unmatched by any flash today," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Memory Technology and Solutions at Micron Technology. "This 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts. The depth of the impact that flash has had to date—from smartphones to flash-optimized supercomputing—is really just scratching the surface of what's possible."

IDC: EMEA Cloud Infrastructure Market Grows 16% in Q1

IT infrastructure spending (server, disk storage, and Ethernet switch) for public and private cloud in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) grew 16% year over year to reach $1.01 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2015, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Cloud Infrastructure Tracker. IDC's report tracks Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Lenovo, NetApp, Oracle, the major ODM vendors, and others.

Significantly, the cloud-related share of total EMEA infrastructure expenditure on server, disk storage, and Ethernet switch grew 2 percentage points compared with the same period a year ago to reach 19% in the quarter.

"Western European cloud expenditure this quarter was mainly fueled by public cloud, which grew almost 30% year on year also thanks to the impact of hyperscale datacenter installations around the region," said Michal Vesely, research analyst, European Infrastructure, IDC. "Private cloud expenditure, especially on premises, on the other hand, is more directly connected to regular IT investments by enterprises. Private cloud spending saw a slower pace as users assess their storage, as well as integrated and hyperconverged systems, strategies. Once decisions are made, we expect another major push in the forthcoming period."

Some other highlights:

  • In terms of storage capacity, cloud represented around 33% of total EMEA capacity in 1Q15, with 45% year-on-year growth.
  • The emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) took 14% of EMEA cloud investments in 1Q15. This is a strong decrease compared with the same quarter last year, when CEMA accounted for 17%. Challenging macroeconomic conditions in Russia and weaker investments in the public cloud segment were the main reasons for the decline.
  • Cloud infrastructure spending in the CEMA region is estimated to be 11% of the total addressable server, storage, and networking hardware market, with public cloud accounting for about 40% of this.


http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUK25750815


Crehan: Data Center Switch Market Ready for 100 GbE Upgrade

Switches capable of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) will soon experience a very strong increase in adoption, according to Crehan Research's most recent Data Center Switch Long-Range Forecast Report.

The firm is forecasting that data center switch port shipments in this market segment will grow from a current annual run-rate of tens of thousands to handily exceed ten million by 2019. The report points to compelling pricing as a key enabler of the strong uptake, with average 100GbE selling prices falling by approximately 50% year-over-year for a number of consecutive years.

"We expect that 100GbE-capable data center switching will soon see a dramatic increase as a result of the compelling economics and diverse use-cases that the upcoming next-gen products enable," said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. "Price premiums over prior technologies should be relatively small, and these switches can be deployed from the core of the data center network all the way down to the server access layer, given their flexible speed configurations via breakout cables," he said.

The report further predicts that the keen interest in this next-generation 100GbE-capable data center switching technology from the hyper-scale cloud segment will be a major driver of the initial strong uptake. The deployment of a new technology from large hyper-scale customers such as Google and Microsoft can result in its dramatic growth. This was recently the case with 40GbE server-access deployments and was highlighted in a prior Crehan Research data center networking report.

http://www.crehanresearch.com/

Amazon Web Services to Build 208 MW Wind Farm in North Carolina

Amazon Web Services has contracted with Iberdrola Renewables to construct and operate a 208 megawatt (MW) wind farm on 22,000 acres of sparsely populated land in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, North Carolina.

Amazon Wind Farm US East is expected to start generating approximately 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually starting December 2016.  The energy generated will be delivered into the electrical grid that supplies both current and future AWS Cloud data centers.

“This agreement, and those previously in place, puts AWS on track to surpass our goal of 40 percent renewable energy globally by the end of 2016,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “We’re far from being done. We’ll continue pursuing projects that deliver clean energy to the various energy grids that serve AWS data centers, we’ll continue working with our power providers to increase their renewable energy quotient, and we’ll continue to strongly encourage our partners in government to extend the tax incentives that make it more viable for renewable projects to get off the ground.”

http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainable-energy/


  • In November 2014, Amazon Web Services announced its long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure. 

  • In April 2015, AWS announced that approximately 25 percent of the power consumed by its global infrastructure was from renewable energy sources with a goal of increasing that percentage to at least 40 percent by the end of 2016.

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks Carries 300G Signal over 10K km

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) announced a record of data transmission over a distance of 10,000 kilometers using real-time processing prototypes of a unique 300 Gbps modulation technology that will optimize the performance of submarine cable systems.

The trial, which was conducted on the 10,000km of ASN’s test bed, combined the new 300G 8QAM (8 quadrature amplitude modulation) technology of ASN’s 1620 SOFTNODE platform and second-generation coherent submarine fiber (CSF-2).

ASN said its 8QAM technology can optimize both existing and new undersea cable systems, enabling operators to deliver more than 15 terabits-per-second per fiber pair on transoceanic systems/

Olivier Gautheron, Chief Technology Officer of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks said: “This breakthrough underlines ASN’s strategic focus in R&D to raise the bar for undersea fiber-optic technology. Our researchers continue to develop new solutions to further apply our own innovation to help traditional and web-scale operators cope with increasing requirements for speed, capacity and cost-effectiveness.”

https://www.alcatel-lucent.com

Comcast Readies "Stream" Video Service

Comcast is preparing to launch a new "Stream" video service for its Xfinity Internet customers.

Stream will include the major broadcast networks, HBO and thousands of on-demand movies. It will be available only inside the customer's home on laptops, tablets and phones.  The service will cost $15 per month and will first launch in Boston at the end of the summer. Availability across the Comcast footprint is expected by early 2016.

http://www.comcast.com

Cavium Adds Flash Memory Support to ThunderX Processors

Cavium’s 64-bit ThunderX processor family now supports SanDisk flash memory to accelerate the  performance of  Hyperscale and HPC workloads.  The ThunderX product family includes 64-bit ARMv8 data center and cloud processors, offering high performance custom cores, single and dual socket configurations, very high memory bandwidth, and integrated hardware accelerators.

SanDisk's data center storage solutions range from Solid State Drives (SSDs) to PCIe application accelerators and storage systems.  These solutions accelerate performance of servers and storage arrays supporting cloud, big data and database workloads.

“SanDisk delivers Flash-based storage solutions that accelerate workload performance for our customers and we see Cavium taking a similar CPU design approach for HPC and other demanding workloads,” said John Scaramuzzo, senior vice president and general manager, Enterprise Solutions, SanDisk.  “As datacenter workloads, compute and storage requirements continue to grow, so too will the demand for flash based storage acceleration. We intend to work with and enable innovators like Cavium to address these needs.”

http://www.cavium.com

China Mobile Tests ALU's Virtualized Radio Access Network

China Mobile has conducted the industry's first field trial of a virtualized radio access network-based architecture based on network functions virtualization (NFV) technology from Alcatel-Lucent.

The trial – carried out at Beijing's Tsinghua University - demonstrated the flexibility, scalability, cost and energy-efficiency of Alcatel-Lucent's vRAN and NFV technologies. Coverage included both indoor and outdoor areas of the 442 hectare campus.

Following the successful field trial at Beijing's Tisinghua University, Alcatel-Lucent will demonstrate the vRAN platform at Mobile World Congress Shanghai between July 15 and 17, 2015. The demonstrations will include the NFV-based RAN and the wireless dual site solution based on the convergence with wireline. The demonstration further underlines Alcatel-Lucent's leading position in wireless NFV and its continuous focus on the evolution of wireless networks to accelerate industry adoption of next-generation technologies.

In addition, Alcatel-Lucent's Nuage Networks announced that China Mobile (Suzhou) Software Technology Company Limited has deployed its SDN technology in its Development and Operations (DevOps) private cloud architecture. Specifically, China Mobile’s private cloud architecture includes Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) to deliver the functionality and scalability required for its internal subsidiaries and for developing new cloud-based services. http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

See also