Highlights from Supercomputing 09

By Dave Simpson

-- A number of storage vendors used this week's Supercomputing 09 conference in Portland, OR, to announce new products or partner agreements. In one of the larger demonstrations at the show, the Ethernet Alliance and 14 vendors highlighted interoperability in a converged network infrastructure based on 10 Gigabit Ethernet (SFP+, Short-Haul Copper, 10GBASE-T). Protocols supported included Data Center Bridging (DCB), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI, and Internet Wide Area RDMA Protocol (iWARP) in virtualization and cloud computing application environments.

Vendors participating in the Ethernet Alliance SC09 Demonstration included Amphenol, Cisco, Dell, Fulcrum Microsystems, Intel, Ixia, JDSU (the technical coordinator/lead on the demo), Mellanox, NetApp, Panduit, QLogic, Spirent, Tyco Electronics and Volex.

QLogic announced a number of design wins for its line of InfiniBand switches and the new 7300 series of 40Gbps Quad Data Rate (QDR) host channel adapters (HCAs).

For example, IBM has selected QLogic's 7300 series InfiniBand adapters for its  Dynamic Infrastructure portfolio, System Cluster 1350 and System x servers. IBM has been selling QLogic's 12000 series 40Gbps QDR InfiniBand switches since May.

QLogic also announced OEM design wins with Hewlett-Packard for its InfiniBand director and edge switches and adapters (including mezzanine cards). HP will resell QLogic's InfiniBand line with its ProLiant and BladeSystem c-Class servers as part of HP's high performance computing (HPC) Unified Cluster Portfolio.

In addition, QLogic announced OEM deals with Dell and SGI for its QDR InfiniBand adapters and switches.

The InfiniBand-based OEM deals are not exclusive; most of the major OEMs also resell InfiniBand switches from Voltaire, and InfiniBand HCAs from Mellanox (see blog post, "Who are the leaders in InfiniBand?")

QLogic's InfiniBand switches scale to 864 ports, and the company claims performance of up to 30 million messages per second on its 7300 series InfiniBand adapters. The 2x8 adapters are available in single- and dual-port models.

Also at the conference, Nexenta released the latest version of its OpenStorage NAS/SAN software, which is based on the ZFS file system, as well as the Pomona software suite, which automates the provisioning and management of heterogeneous storage systems.

NexentaStor 2.2 enhancements include additional support for VM storage management (VMware and Citrix StorageLink certified) via the NexentaStor VM Data Center module. The module provides visibility into virtual server environments and establishes VM storage policies. Free evaluation copies are available at www.nexenta.com/freetrial.

Other enhancements in NexentaStor 2.2 include virus scanning, APIs that enable database administrates to integrate NexentaStor into their database environments and leverage the software's snapshot functionality, and support for Asian language search.

NextIO partnered with Texas Memory Systems in a demonstration of a storage system that can scale to more than one million I/Os per second (IOPS) and 5TB of capacity in a 3U form factor, or to more than 15 million IOPS per rack. The configuration was based on ten RamSan-10 and RamSan-20 PCIe flash cards.

Earlier in the week, NextIO announced an OEM deal with Texas Memory Systems involving integration of TMS' flash-based RamSan devices in NextIO's ICA-2800 I/O virtualization, PCIe expansion chassis.

Panasas announced a collaboration with Cray under which Panasas' ActiveStor storage systems and PanFS parallel file system have been certified with the Cray CX1 deskside supercomputer.

LSI announced that 23 of its Engenio 7900 HPC disk arrays will be installed at the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center with Cray supercomputers. The configuration will store up to 2.7PB of scientific data, with a sustained data transfer rate of 25GBps. LSI's Engenio 7900 arrays support InfiniBand and 8Gbps Fibre Channel connections, and scale up to 480 drives.

Also at Supercomputing 09, Voltaire announced that Hewlett-Packard is now selling Voltaire's new Vantage 8500 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, 40Gbps Grid Director QDR InfiniBand switch and Unified Fabric Manager (UFM) software. The Grid Director switch has 324 ports, which can be doubled to 648 ports with the company's HyperScale fabric boards. The 10GbE Vantage 8500 is a Layer-2 core switch with latency of less than one microsecond and power consumption of 10 watts per port.

Related article:
The role of InfiniBand in the enterprise

This article was originally published on November 18, 2009