News Release

Cisco Unveils High Performance InfiniBand Gateway Platform and Fabric Analysis Tools

Cisco to Showcase High Performance Computing Solutions at SuperComputing 2007
Nov 13, 2007

SuperComputing 2007 -RENO, Nevada, November 13, 2007 --Cisco® today announced new products and tools to support high performance computing environments. The new Cisco SFS 3504 Multifabric Switch is a gateway switch designed to accelerate server to storage application performance using centralized high speed storage uplinks. Customers with intense storage I/O needs will benefit from higher throughput to centrally shared storage resources by deploying the SFS 3504 as an aggregation gateway. Cisco is also introducing the Fabric Analysis and Correlation Toolkit (FACT), a set of tools which can be used to analyze and manage an entire InfiniBand fabric. FACT shortens the time for initial bring-up for computational clusters and detects errors that may affect performance. Together, these new products will help customers to improve storage access performance, simplify fabric management, and improve diagnostics and troubleshooting.

The Cisco family of high performance computing (HPC) products includes a comprehensive line of Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel switches offering best-in-class scalability, high availability, and security, with common management tools, common configuration interfaces, and a common virtualization provisioning platform designed to provide comprehensive and consistent management regardless of the protocol used. Together, these solutions support Data Center 3.0, Cisco's strategy to help its customers develop next generation data centers.

HPCwire Readers' Choice Award

At SuperComputing 2007 Cisco was honored with the 2007 HPCwire Readers' Choice Award for Most Important HPC Networking Technology. The coveted HPCwire Readers' Choice Award, determined through online polling of the global HPCwire audience, represents important industry recognition by the people who deploy and manage HPC technology. Supporting some of the world's largest server clusters, Cisco technology has been deployed in research and commercial HPC environments throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

SFS 3504 Gateway Platform

The Cisco SFS 3504 is a next generation InfiniBand double data rate gateway designed to interconnect highly distributed server resources together to centrally shared storage arrays in storage area networks and network attached storage. The SFS 3504 is modular, provides up to four gateway expansion slots, and has a best-in-class multi-terabit-capable backplane for scaling to hundreds of servers across a single chassis. Because the gateway modules are compliant with Fibre Channel and Ethernet switching standards, no changes are required to existing storage networks. NetApp has been collaborating with Cisco to test, benchmark, and validate the Cisco SFS 3504 gateway switch with NetApp Data ONTAP® GX Systems and Data ONTAP® 7G Systems for high performance computing environments.

"NetApp provides a unique value proposition to our customers through our unified storage architecture, extensive data management services, and operational simplicity," said Joel Reich, general manager of the NetApp SAN and iSCSI business unit. "The combination of these benefits combined with Cisco InfiniBand solutions provides additional business value to our joint customers that are deploying high performance computing storage infrastructures that require enterprise-class data protection and management."

SFS 3504 Gateway Modules

The SFS 3504 gateways are hot-pluggable expansion modules. This allows on-the-fly capacity expansion to both Fibre Channel and Ethernet storage devices. By sharing aggregated gateway ports in conjunction with the 20Gigabit per second (Gbps) InfiniBand connection, clustered servers gain access to more bandwidth, than an individually connected server could access. The SFS 3504 gateway switch will offer twelve 20Gbps double data rate (DDR) InfiniBand ports, a six-port 1GE InfiniBand-to-Ethernet gateway, a two-port 10GE InfiniBand-to-Ethernet gateway and a four-port 4Gbps InfiniBand-to-Fibre Channel gateway.

Fabric Analysis and Correlation Toolkit (FACT)

The Fabric Analysis and Correlation Toolkit (FACT) is a set of tools which can be used to quickly analyze an entire InfiniBand Fabric and detect errors in the fabric. FACT provides a central monitoring and management platform for computational networks, pin-pointing components in the fabric such as cables and host channel adapters (HCAs), which may need attention. The toolkit simplifies deployment and management of InfiniBand fabrics, providing syslog integration for proactive fabric-wide monitoring, and includes high-availability features. FACT also securely authenticates with all devices (SSH / SSL) and verifies the HCA and switch operating system firmware across the fabric.

Collaboration with HP

In addition, Cisco and HP have collaborated on validated and integrated configurations for the high performance computing market. This includes testing a variety of interconnected blade system configurations across low latency, high bandwidth InfiniBand fabrics, including the new HP Cluster Platform Workgroup System based on the HP BladeSystem c3000. Access to these validated and benchmarked solutions can help customers simplify and speed system deployment.

Cisco Booth # 1121 at SC07

The new Cisco SFS 3504 gateway switch will be showcased at SC07 in the Cisco booth # 1121. Throughout each day at the in-booth Cisco theater, conference attendees can learn more about Cisco HPC solutions in a series of educational talks by Cisco, its customers, and partners including Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, and Microsoft. Sample customer presentations include:

  • Dr. Gerald Lotto, assistant director, information technology, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard: "InfiniBand as a Unified Cluster Fabric"
  • Tim Mattox, research associate, Indiana University: "MPI Is Dead? Long Live MPI! Evolving MPI for the Next Generation of Supercomputing"

Cisco is also hosting two "birds of a feather" conference sessions: "Scaling I/O Capability in Parallel File Systems" on Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. and "Open MPI State of the Union" on Nov. 14 at 12:15 p.m.

Ethernet Alliance Demonstration

At the Ethernet Alliance booth, Cisco and Intel will jointly demonstrate the 10GBASE-T technology as an interconnect for HPC applications. 10GBASE-T will complement the 10 Gigabit Ethernet data center interconnect options available today such as 10GBASE-CX4 and 10GBASE-SR. Based on the IEEE 802.3an standard, the 10GBASE-T interconnect will enable 10 Gigabit Ethernet links over 100 meters with cost-effective copper cabling and standard connectors.

Cisco Data Center 3.0

The Cisco vision for Data Center 3.0 entails the real-time, dynamic orchestration of infrastructure services from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources, while optimizing application service levels, efficiency and collaboration.