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Voltaire intros midrange 40 Gbps switch plus new software to speed up MPI collectives

This week network equipment manufacturer Voltaire announced two new pieces of its network gear product line. First up is the company’s new midrange InfiniBand switch, aimed at cloud computing and enterprise HPC applications

Voltaire logoVoltaire…introduced a mid-size 40 Gb/s InfiniBand director switch expanding its full line of 40 Gb/s platforms.  The Voltaire Grid Director 4200 is a high performance, ultra-low latency InfiniBand switch that is ideal for high performance clusters running scientific, commercial HPC and enterprise applications.  With configurations of up to 162 ports of 40 Gb/s per port InfiniBand connectivity, the Grid Director 4200 delivers 11.52 Tb/s of bandwidth and between 100 and 300 nanoseconds of port-to-port latency.

The 4200 slots in between the company’s very large scale IB switch — the Grid Director 4700 which scales up to 648 ports and is aimed at national lab scale supercomputing — and the Grid Director 4036E, which fits in 1U and scales to 34 QDR ports. The 4200 gives you up to 162 QDR ports and has an 11.5 Tb/s backplane.

Also announced this week is Voltaire’s new software solution for speeding up group communications over its network fabric

Voltaire’s patent pending Fabric Collective Accelerator (FCA) accelerates MPI collective operations by using Voltaire switches and their on-board processors to offload significant parts of group communication onto the switching fabric while Voltaire Unified Fabric Manager (UFM) orchestrates an efficient, topology-based collective flow. Working in concert, these products ensure that all bottlenecks are removed, at both the server and interconnect levels. The computational acceleration is achieved transparently without requiring changes to the application.

..Until now, typical solutions for accelerating collectives over standards-based clusters were based on host-based offload, addressing only a small part of the challenge residing at the server level. The Voltaire fabric-wide solution leverages Voltaire’s unique switch design, which incorporates a CPU on every module, eliminating congestion and reducing latency throughout the fabric.

The company claims that FCA accelerated applications by up to a factor of ten in its tests.

“With Voltaire FCA, the IMB Allreduce & Barrier benchmarks ran seven times faster on a 512 core portion of our Intel Xeon E5520 based cluster,” said Niclas Andersson, technical director at the National Supercomputer Center in Sweden. “We are extremely proud to be the first customer to run Voltaire FCA in a large environment, and expect it to help us increase the efficiency and productivity of our research clusters by orders of magnitude.”

The Grid Director 4200 will be available at the end of March; FCA is scheduled for release “early Q2″ according to the company.

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