UCLA adopts High-Performance Obsidian Longbow Campus Area Network solutions

Los Angeles, CA (April 2009) — Obsidian is pleased to announce that the Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE) at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) have installed 30 and 40 Gbits/s InfiniBand links between buildings to support two separate projects.

For several years, UCLA has implemented a "shared cluster" program with centralized provisioning of data center space and common infrastructure such as power, cooling, data storage, backup and connectivity which includes both Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand. Individual researchers, instead of building their own clusters, now contribute to the shared cluster, realizing access to greater resources while benefiting from the outsourced monitoring and support services.

This program has been so successful that the primary data center housing the expanding central cluster is no longer large enough. UCLA turned to Obsidian to provide the high-capacity seamless InfiniBand connectivity necessary to allow transparent expansion into an overflow data center just under 2km away. By ganging four Longbow C102 devices in a 1U shelf at each site, IDRE set up a 40 Gbits/s InfiniBand link with a memory-to-memory latency of just 11 microseconds. This link carries server-to-server and server-to-disk traffic, creating a geo-distributed data center with a single logical fabric.

Dr. David Southwell, president of Obsidian Strategics Inc. notes that "...more than 80% of US data centers are hitting the red line for power and cooling capacity. Longbow-enabled data center expansions such as this project at UCLA demonstrate the hitless nature of this upgrade path, which offers true transparency by virtue of the extraordinarily low latencies and high bandwidths achieved".

The second concurrently installed systems use six Longbow C101s to provide a 300m, 30 Gbits/s InfiniBand connection between the primary IDRE data center and a super-high fidelity, multi-projector visualization facility housed in a nearby building. Unlike the previous solution that involved range-boosting the video signals (resulting in degraded quality), Longbows offered a perfectly lossless interface between the remote visualization cluster and the display theater. As a bonus, the link is also able to provide other forms of high-speed connectivity as well as video for research and teaching support. InfiniBand's lossless flow control scheme is ideally suited to Quality of Service (QOS) sensitive traffic flows such as visualization streams.

"Remote, high-fidelity visualization capability is an important part of the campus or metro-area Grid Computing picture where compute and storage are not necessarily local to the users. Supercomputing is transitioning towards an increasingly interactive work flow model, and this application is an excellent example of InfiniBand's suitability as a System Area Network platform. We are delighted to assist UCLA in providing this campus infrastructure solution.", said Dr. Southwell.

The IDRE is a cooperative of faculty and technologists working to advance the existing body of computing knowledge and expertise at UCLA. IDRE supports research and innovative scholarship that takes advantage of new technologies, and encourages collaboration between faculty from different departments and disciplines at UCLA, the opening of new research questions, and the enrichment of the learning environment. The goal of this campus-wide collective is to make UCLA a world leader in high-performance computing and visualization research and education. For more information, see www.idre.ucla.edu

About Obsidian Strategics:
Obsidian Strategics™ is the developer of Longbow™, a series of InfiniBand products featuring range extension, routing and encryption. 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. For more information, see www.obsidianstrategics.com