Avetec's DICE Program Funds The Ohio State University for In-Depth Study of Wide Area InfiniBand using Obsidian Longbow Range Extenders

Can Longbows Solve Data Intensive Compute Problems across Geographically Distributed Compute and Storage Clusters in a Seamless Manner, and How?

EDMONTON, Alberta - October 29th, 2007 — Obsidian, the leader in InfiniBand range extension, is pleased to announce that Longbow XRs will be the subject of a recently awarded Data Intensive Compute Environment (DICE) project to be performed by Prof. DK Panda of Ohio State University and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

DICE Program Director, Roger Panton, said "Long-haul InfiniBand is an intriguing technology that may enhance many aspects of large-scale computing and storage. Specializing in the analysis of network-centric computing environments, Prof. DK Panda and his team are well placed to help the DICE program integrate this new capability."

Avetec's DICE Program funds and supports studies into the problem of moving and storing the very large data sets associated with science and technology simulation efforts. The initiative is divided into several focus areas; this two-phase project will investigate the use of Obsidian's Longbow XR in a number of key applications of interest to DICE.

"This DICE project is an ideal opportunity to investigate the application-level performance of complex and extensive multi-vendor environments when leveraging wide area InfiniBand.", said Prof. DK Panda of Ohio State University. "In particular, the system-level response to optical time-of-flight latencies across the WAN will be studied across a variety of equipment and higher level communications protocols."

In the first phase, Obsidian's long-haul InfiniBand range extension technology will be studied as a means to provide highly efficient transport of bulk data across the Wide Area Network (WAN). As data sets routinely grow into the Petabyte range (1 PByte = 1 million GBytes), the ability to move raw data or processed simulation results from disk to remote disk in an efficient manner becomes extremely critical. Traditional approaches using the TCP/IP protocol have become decreasingly bandwidth efficient as wire-speed transmission rates and distance-induced latencies have increased - Obsidian's Longbow XR avoids this problem by loosing 10Gbits/s InfiniBand packets directly across the WAN.

The second phase will use the same DICE technology test bed to quantify the performance of grid computing problems applied to WAN-distributed compute resources - the InfiniBand clustering of clusters. This portion of the study emphasizes optimally low latencies and CPU resource consumption using reliable RDMA message passing protocols across the WAN links.

"InfiniBand switches and adapters are limited to very short reach links suitable only for local connections within a supercomputer or data center. Longbow XR's unique range-extension capability transparently joins remote InfiniBand fabrics across global distances using 10Gbits/s optical WANs.", explained Dr. David Southwell, Obsidian's President and CEO, "Preserving the InfiniBand protocol - especially RDMA - on the WAN yields tremendous bandwidth and latency advantages over TCP/IP based alternatives".

Remote compute and storage resources at Avetec and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will be accessed from Ohio State University via Longbow XR devices across 10Gigabit Ethernet links. However, for the bulk of the characterization work, WAN bandwidth restrictions and latencies will be artificially injected using Longbow XR's continuously variable network simulation features.

The project is already underway, and is scheduled to run for one year.

About Obsidian:
Obsidian Research Corporation and the Obsidian Longbow LP are the developers of Longbow, a series of InfiniBand range extension products. Longbow technology allows an InfiniBand fabric, normally a short-range network used in high-performance computing, to be extended via optical fiber over varying distances. Longbow connects across Campus, Metro or Global networks to offer unparalleled high-bandwidth, low-latency access to InfiniBand compute and storage resources. Obsidian is available online at www.obsidianresearch.com.

About OSU's Network-Based Computing Research Group:
Prof. DK Panda's Network-Based Computing Research Group of the Department of Computing Science and Engineering at Ohio State University has a very strong track record of investigation and the quantified characterization of High Performance Computing (HPC) processing and storage systems, most recently especially those leveraging InfiniBand technologies. See nowlab.cse.ohio-state.edu/.

About DICE:
Avetec's Data Intensive Compute Environment (DICE) program is an ongoing effort to innovate, integrate and characterize new systems designed to store and distribute the very large data sets involved in supercomputer-scale computations. Avetec partners with groups able to contribute in the area of HPC data management, and provides a unique multi-agency, multi-vendor distributed evaluation environment within which the work can be performed. View more information at www.diceprogram.org.