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InfiniBand Goes for Distance


DRESDEN, Germany, June 17 -- ADVA Optical Networking, Obsidian Strategics Inc. and Voltaire Ltd. today announced an integrated capability to extend InfiniBand connections to 50km without performance degradation. The solution was successfully tested at the University of Stuttgart's High Performance Computing Center (HLRS), which provides systems, tools and expertise for public and private supercomputing development projects.

Today, InfiniBand is primarily used as a high-performance fabric interconnect for linking a cluster's compute nodes within a high-performance datacenter. Until now, use of InfiniBand for wide area networks has been restricted, due to the inability to transport native InfiniBand traffic over large distances. As such, implementation across computing systems that cover several geographically separated datacenters has also been restricted.

Extending InfiniBand across the metropolitan area network (MAN) will allow enterprises to greatly enhance not only their supercomputing, but also their disaster-recovery and storage-networking applications, using InfiniBand as the underlying unified network architecture.

To address all these market requirements, ADVA Optical Networking, Obsidian Strategics and Voltaire have partnered to deliver a complete InfiniBand-over-distance solution for HPC and enterprise applications. The major building blocks of the joint solution are director-class InfiniBand switches (Voltaire) interconnected via InfiniBand range extenders (Obsidian) and bit-transparent, low-latency WDM transport devices (ADVA Optical Networking).

The HLRS solution comprised the following elements. More than 500 computing nodes of the new Baden-Württemberg Grid Cluster were clustered via two 288-port Voltaire Grid Director 2012 switches. They were interlinked using Obsidian's short-reach Longbow Campus devices for serializing and range-extending the 4X SDR InfiniBand signal. The ADVA WDM FSP devices (FSP 2000 or FSP 3000) were then used to interconnect the sites using protocol-agnostic, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) that provided bit-transparent, lowest-latency transport. The whole solution was built using generally available devices.

"High performance, low latency and its unified fabric capability have made InfiniBand a steadily more popular connectivity solution for inside the datacenter. Until now, InfiniBand has been limited as an inside-the-datacenter solution," said Prof. Dr.-Ing. M. Resch, director HLRS. "The ability to extend the protocol over distance at full throughput offers totally new HPC scenarios."

"We believe that WDM transport is the natural choice for latency-sensitive, high-throughput protocols such as InfiniBand. Its increasing adoption rate in research networks as well as in the financial industry motivated us to develop a solution that helps to further consolidate datacenter traffic onto a unified fabric. InfiniBand-over-WDM offers unbridled throughput for enterprises' most-demanding applications," said Dr. Christoph Glingener, chief technology officer for ADVA Optical Networking.

Asaf Somekh, vice president of strategic alliances at Voltaire, said, "InfiniBand has established itself as the advanced interconnect standard of choice to power many of the world's biggest and fastest computer systems and enterprise datacenters. This deployment at HLRS shows InfiniBand can be easily extended for scalable WAN storage capabilities."

Added Dr. David Southwell, president and chief executive officer with Obsidian Strategics: "In the face of the sustained exponential growth of intra- and inter-datacenter bandwidth demand, we are pleased to work with ADVA Optical Networking and Voltaire, deploying Longbow solutions that unlock the enormous potential of both WDM and InfiniBand technologies for high-performance data transport."

About ADVA Optical Networking

ADVA Optical Networking is at the forefront of providing Optical+Ethernet solutions that advance next-generation networks for data, storage, voice and video services. Our company's strength comes from passionate and dedicated employees, all sharing a common vision: a fast, customized response to customers' ever-changing needs. Our innovative FSP products and strong customer focus provide carriers and enterprises the ability to scale their networks and deliver intelligent, competitive new services. ADVA Optical Networking's solutions have been deployed at more than 200 carriers and 10,000 enterprises around the world. For further information about ADVA Optical Networking, visit www.advaoptical.com.

About HLRS

The High Performance Computing Center (HLRS) at the University of Stuttgart was founded in 1995 as the first federal high-performance computing centre in Germany. It provides teaching and research institutions as well as external and industrial partners supercomputer computing power for technical and scientific applications. The HLRS' core competency is the modelling and simulation of complex systems. The HLRS is connected with the industrial research of companies such as Daimler and Porsche through numerous projects in which it acts as a scientific and business partner.

About Obsidian Strategics Inc.

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.

About Voltaire Ltd.

Voltaire designs and develops server and storage switching and software solutions that enable high-performance grid computing within the datacenter. Voltaire refers to its server and storage switching and software solutions as the Voltaire Grid Backbone. Voltaire's products leverage InfiniBand technology and include director-class switches, multi-service switches, fixed-port configuration switches, Ethernet and Fibre Channel routers and standards-based driver and management software. Voltaire's solutions have been sold to a wide range of end customers including governmental, research and educational organizations, as well as enterprises in the manufacturing, oil and gas, entertainment, life sciences and financial services industries. Founded in 1997, Voltaire Ltd. is headquartered in Herzeliya, Israel, and has its U.S. headquarters in Billerica, Mass.

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