Mellanox LinkX™ Cables Connect the Scientific & Engineering Community

Our Interconnected Planet

As many know, the circumference of the earth is 40,075 km. Doing the math, we start with the fact that Mellanox has shipped over 2 million copper DAC cables to-date. As the length of wire in 2 million cables is 144,000 km, that is essentially enough to circle the earth at the equator 3.5 times or get one a third of the way to the moon! Math below:


(3 wires/lane bundle) x (8 wire bundles in QSFP DAC) x (3 meters long average) x (2 million DACs) = 144,000 km


This fun fact got me thinking about how Mellanox connects the scientific and engineering community to their vital research in very real and tangible ways.

Mellanox’s approach to computer networking is to keep the CPU doing the most important tasks and leave the rest of tasks to the network. This approach preserves the most expensive resource, the CPUs, to do the important computing tasks and the network to manage the data traffic in and out of the CPU and storage sub-systems where the CPU is not needed. Mellanox calls this “Data-Centric CPU Offload” versus “CPU-centric OnLoad”. When the CPU is involved with simply moving data around, it is idle literally 40-80 percent of the time waiting for data. With OnLoad architectures, the CPU is involved with simply moving data around – not actually doing computing work. Every data transfer induced time delays or latency. This is like making an appointment to ask your CEO permission every time you have to sharpen a pencil. Lots of “busy” but not much actual “work”. Mellanox’s switches and network adapters, along with LinkX line of cables and transceivers, enables optimizing the movement of data and keeps it on the network there by enabling the CPU to do its best job. This is a fundamental theme at Mellanox and one of the factors of our success and applies to both Ethernet and InfiniBand protocols. The network switches and adapter ICs have billions of transistors to perform logical processing at the network level and not get the CPU involved.

Most engineering and scientific research requires massive amounts of data and iterations but often the formula being computed is pretty simple. So, the main problem in engineering and scientific computing is moving data fast enough to keep the CPU fully fed – which Mellanox’s switches, adapters and interconnects are ideally suited to do with our CPU-Offload architectures. The ConnectX-5 Multi-Host Socket adapters can increase the ROI at the server with 30 -60 percent better CPU utilizations, 50 -80 percent lower data transfer latency and 15 -28 percent faster data throughput. All of these benefits are derived by using intelligent network adapter and switches to keep the data moving on the network and not moving in and out of the CPU needlessly.

InfiniBand Systems ROI: Switches, Adapters and Interconnects

Mellanox Ethernet and InfiniBand-based systems deliver the lowest latency, fasted computing solutions for all kinds of engineering and scientific applications such as: Aerospace, automotive electronics, molecular dynamics, genetic engineering, chemistry, weather analysis, structural engineering, etc.

Mellanox Systems Used to Design Mellanox Systems!

Believe it or not, Mellanox even uses its Ethernet and InfiniBand switches, network adapters, cables and transceivers in CAE/CAD engineering systems to design the ICs and electronics that go inside the switches, network adapters, cables and transceivers that we sell! Think of it like a Martin Escher drawing of a hand with a pencil draws the picture of a hand with a pencil!

The Mellanox LinkX product line of cables and transceivers are all designed by Mellanox engineers – from the internal ICs to the complete assemblies. IC CAE systems are used to design, simulate and layout transceiver control ICs used in both multi-mode and single-mode Silicon Photonics transceivers. Optical engineering software is used to model the high-speed optics ray tracing and reflections inside the Silicon Photonics and fibers. Mechanical and Thermal CAE systems are used to design the mechanical aspects of the transceiver ends and thermal modeling. Electromagnetic design software is used to model the high-speed signals inside DAC copper cables and Silicon Photonics optical transceivers and the EMI/RFI emissions to meet industry standards. Lastly, the entire DAC, AOC, multi-mode and single-mode transceiver assemblies are all designed and modeled by Mellanox engineers.

Only a couple of actual formulas need to be computed but massive amounts of data in the simulations and designs – ideally suited for Mellanox OffLoad Ethernet and InfiniBand switches, adapters, cables and transceivers.

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About Brad Smith

Brad is the Director of Marketing at Mellanox, based in Silicon Valley for the LinkX cables and transceivers business focusing on hyperscale, Web 2.0, enterprise, storage and telco markets. Recently, Brad was Product Line Manager for Intel’s Silicon Photonics group for CWDM4/CLR4 and QSFP28 product lines and ran the 100G CLR4 Alliance. Director of Marketing & BusDev at OpSIS MPW Silicon Photonics foundry. President/COO of LuxSonar Semiconductors ( Cirrus Logic) and co-founder & Director of Product Marketing of NexGen, a X86-compatible CPU company sold to AMD - now the X86 product line. Brad also has ~15 years in technology market research as Vice president of the Computer Systems group at Dataquest/Gartner; VP/Chief Analyst at RHK and Light Counting networking research firms. Brad started his career at Digital Equipment near Boston with the VAX 11/780 and has served as CEO, president/COO and on the board-of-directors of three start-up companies. Brad has a BSEE degree from the University of Massachusetts; MBA from University of Phoenix and holds 2 optical patents

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