High Performance Fabrics - Not Just For HPC Anymore

Traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) customers continue to rapidly adopt the latest 40 GB/sec QDR InfiniBand technology delivered by the Sun InfiniBand Switch 648. Recently, Oracle put their weight behind Sun's QDR technology in Exadata v2, incorporating the Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36.. Today, Sun further expands our family of high performance fabrics offering with the Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 72.

For the first time ever, the Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 72 lets you aggregate up to 72 QDR 4x ports into a single 1RU switch and multiple switches can be combined to cost effectively link up to 576 servers. For larger clusters, the Sun InfiniBand Switch 648 supports up to 648 servers with a single switch, or up to 5184 servers in a full non-blocking fabric using eight 648 port switches.

This week's Forbes article titled, Supercomputing in the Enterprise talks about how non-HPC workloads including server virtualization and consolidation increasingly are adopting HPC technologies like high performance fabrics. While many HPC customers are using large high performance fabrics based on the Sun Datacenter Switch 648 to solve problems that simply couldn't be solved a few years ago, commercial customers increasingly need high performance fabrics just to keep up with advances in multi-core CPU technology.

Lets say that last year you purchased a Sun Blade x6250 server module with two dual-core x86 CPUs. That was a total of four processor core and might easily have required four GigE connections. While we sell a Quad GigE network card, fast forward to today and the same x6250 blade module is equipped with quad core CPUs or a total of eight processor cores. Assuming the same network bandwidth per core was required, that would be 8 GigE connections. Opt instead for the Sun Blade x6275 server module and you get 16 processor cores per server module. If you filled a rack with four Sun Blade 6000 chassis each filled with x6275 blades, and provided a GigE connection for each core, you would need an astounding 640 ethernet cables coming out of the back of the rack. It is no wonder why HPC and commercial customers alike are looking to high performance fabrics that offer cable aggregation and other benefits.

Of course, InfiniBand is not the only high performance fabric available. Sun sells a 10 GigE network card for our blades and also has a 10 Gig Virtual Network Express Module for the Sun Blade 6000.

So no matter if you are looking to build a high performance fabric out of InfiniBand or 10 GigE, Sun has products and solutions that can help you today.

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