Supercomputing 2007 product highlights

By Dave Simpson

—A number of vendors, including Terascala, SGI, Ciprico, QLogic, DataDirect Networks, Gear6, and Voltaire, used the Supercomputing 2007 (SC07) conference in Reno this week to launch high-end storage systems.

Star-tup Terascala introduced its first product at SC07—the RTS 1000 Run Time Storage Appliance, a Lustre-based system that supports up to 40TB per 8U enclosure and up to 192TB in a rack version. The company claims performance of more than 1.8GBps with InfiniBand or 10Gbps Ethernet networks, and more than 575MBps over Gigabit Ethernet.

SGI introduced the InfiniteStorage NEXUS 9000 NAS platform, which combines remote direct-memory access (RDMA) and InfiniBand. In addition to InfiniBand, the systems can be configured with Gigabit Ethernet or 10Gbps Ethernet connections. Capacity ranges from 3TB in a 2U form factor to almost 500TB.

Ciprico demonstrated a storage system that exceeded 2.2GBps, based on the IOMeter benchmark program, in a configuration that included Ciprico's RC5252-08 RAIDCore SAS/SATA PCI Express host bus adapter (HBA); RC5152-08 RAIDCore SAS/SATA PCI-X HBA; MV5108SR MediaVault external PCI disk array with 24 15,000rpm, 147GB Hitachi Ultrastar SAS drives; and an MSI dual quad-core Intel motherboard.

QLogic made a number of product announcements at SC07. The model 7200 is a 20Gbps double data rate (DDR) InfiniBand host channel adapter (HCA) that the company claims can hit bandwidth up to 1,925MBps and 0.13 billion transactions per second with a latency of 1.3 microseconds.

QLogic's SilverStorm 9020 Enterprise Cluster Accelerator is a 20Gbps InfiniBand switch for Oracle Clusters that includes up to 22 DDR InfiniBand ports. The switch can also be configured with up to four 10Gbps Ethernet ports, 16 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports, or a combination of the two. The company also introduced an InfiniBand switch designed specifically for IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS).

DataDirect Networks (DDN) used the SC07 forum to announce the eighth generation of its Silicon Storage Architecture (S2A) systems, the S2A9900, which is expected to ship in March. The company claims performance of up to 6GBps per system, and up to 250GBps aggregate performance with linked systems. The S2A9900 has eight ports of either 8Gbps Fibre Channel or 20Gbps InfiniBand DDR host connections, and SAS or SATA disk drives. The systems can be configured for block-level services, or as clustered NAS devices with two to 16 NAS heads.

DDN officials claim that the company's RAID- implementation does not have a performance penalty. Other features include SATAassure Plus, a software enhancement that puts SATA drives in "sleep mode" (i.e., spin down) when they are not being accessed, which saves power and cooling costs. DDN also introduced the StorageScaler 6000 drive enclosure, which houses 60 SAS or SATA drives in a 4U form factor for up to 1.2PB of capacity.

Gear6 demonstrated a storage configuration based on its CACHEfx centralized caching devices that achieved 872,291 I/Os per second (IOPS) throughput with an average response time of 0.53 milliseconds and a sustained bandwidth of 2.8GBps. For more information on these appliances, see Gear6 touts storage caching appliances.

Voltaire introduced its Grid Director ISR 2004—a 96-port, 20Gbps InfiniBand switch. Shipments are expected in February.

This article was originally published on November 16, 2007