Published twice a year, the Top500 supercomputers list ranks the world fastest supercomputers and provides a great indication for HPC market trends, usage models and a tool for future predictions. The 35th release of the Top500 list was just published and according to the new results InfiniBand has become the de-facto interconnect technology for high performance computing.
What wasn’t said on InfiniBand from the competitor world? Too many time I have heard that InfiniBand is dead and that Ethernet is the killer. I am just sitting in my chair and laughing. InfiniBand is the only interconnect that is growing on the Top500 list, more than 30% growth year over year (YoY) and it is growing by continuing to uproot Ethernet and the proprietary solutions. Ethernet is 14% down YoY and it has become very difficult to spot a proprietary clustered interconnect… Even more, in the hard core of HPC, the Top100, 64% of the systems are InfiniBand and are using solutions from Mellanox. InfiniBand is definitely proven to provide the needed scalability, efficiency and performance, and to really deliver the highest CPU or GPU availability to the user or to the applications. Connecting 208 systems from the list is only steps away from connecting the majority of the systems.
What makes InfiniBand so strong? The fact that it solves issues and does not migrate them to other parts of the systems. In a balanced HPC system, each components needs to do its work, and not rely on other components to do overhead tasks. Mellanox is doing a great job in providing solutions that offload all the communications and can provide the needed accelerations for the CPU or GPU, and maximize the CPU/GPU cycles for the applications. The collaborations with NVIDIA on the NVIDA GPUDirect, Mellanox CORE-Direct and so forth are just few examples.
The GPUDIrect is a great example on how Mellanox can offload the CPU from being involved in the GPU-to-GPU communications. No other InfiniBand vendor can do it without using Mellanox technology. GPUDirect requires network offloading or it does not work. Simple. When you want to offload the CPU from being involved in the GPU to GPU communications, and your interconnect needs the CPU to do the transports (since it is an onloading solution), the CPU is involved in every GPU transaction. Only offloading interconnects, such as Mellanox InfiniBand can really deliver the benefits of the GPUDirect.
If you want more information on the GPUDirect and other solutions, feel free to drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.