The world of information technologies is chaotic. Technologists are expected to learn, keep pace and implement ever-evolving technologies. As a technology manager, you will face challenges related to bridging the knowledge gap on your team. Your education and training solution should address these needs:
- Always available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, On Demand availability
- A variety of education options including online, face to face instructor- led and remote training
- Self-paced learning systems to allow learners to work around their own schedules
- Operational flexibility
With these challenges in mind, Mellanox has customized its Global Education Services to provide more resources for your team. All training includes:
- Learners’ support channels, such as the “Ask the Expert” feature
- Knowledge standardization and verification
- Access to extra free content
- Ability to track and examine learner achievements
- Official global certification by Mellanox
In our day to day tech lives, it is our goal to improve our team’s performance using the right combination of resources and budget, while showing the best return on investment (ROI). This can come at the cost of skipping technical training.
It’s a fact. We are all stressed. We face unreasonable deadlines, prioritization, immediate to-do tasks and budget shortfalls. While trying to survive in this chaotic environment, I hear some customers saying: “I don’t have the time to allow my tech team to get technical training. Even if I have the time, I just can’t afford it.”
Let’s think again.Market standards show that the average number of days a technology employee works each year is 207. The average number of days dedicated to maintenance of ongoing projects is 170 (82.5%). The rest (37 days) of the time is dedicated to “first-time operations and exploration”.
Studies have shown that every day spent in training reduces the ongoing maintenance time by 4% (per participant) on average. This means that from 170 working days, you could save at least 6 days per year per employee if you just provide them just 1 training day. Each training day reduces first-time operations by 20% on average. From 37 working days, you could save at least 7 more days.
Shout out to anyone who happens to attend the GPU Technology Conference 2014! This conference is touted as the world’s biggest and most important GPU developer conference. Follow all the social conversation around the event using the hashtag #GTC2014. The conference will be held next week, March 24-27,2014 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA.
This is the fourth year I am attending this event and I will be hanging out at the “Ask the Expert Table” at the GTC. Feel free to swing by and chat about any of your burning questions you may have on GPUDirect RDMA with Mellanox InfiniBand!
Covered in previous blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2), the concept of the Virtual Modular Switch (VMS) is clearly an advantage for networks of medium to large scale. As we move into huge networks where multiple modular switches are needed, this advantage reduces to the point where it is a matter of personal preference whether to implement using VMS or multiple chassis.
When the odds are even, this preference can come down to a matter of cost of equipment, cost of operating the equipment, certain network KPIs that need to be met or any other parameter that the network facilitator will care about.
The Mellanox implementation of VMS is based on our own ASIC design known as SwitchX. It is used as the fabric element in each of our Ethernet (and InfiniBand) product line of switches. SwitchX carries 36 high speed interfaces of standard 40 GbE which when used in a non-blocking fat tree topology, allows 18 ports to be used for external interfaces and 18 ports to be used as internal interfaces towards the spine layer of the VMS fat tree. Having 36 ports on each of the spine elements allows as many as 36 leaf elements. The total number of external ports in a non-blocking two tier VMS is 36*18=648.
New advances in Big Data applications are enabling analysts, researchers, scientists and engineers to run more complex and detailed simulations and analyses than ever before. These applications deliver game-changing insights, bring new products to market and place greater demand on existing IT infrastructures.
This ever-growing demand drives the need for instant access to resources – compute, storage, and network. Users are seeking cutting-edge technologies and tools to help them better capture, understand and leverage increasing volumes of data as well as build infrastructures that are energy-efficient and can easily scale as their business grow.
It is no secret that recent market trends have forced the traditional desktop to go through a dramatic transformation. It’s also easy to predict that sooner, rather than later, the traditional way of seating and working in front of a desktop will disappear. Why is this happening? Desktops that led the digital revolution and ruled the digital world for more than 30 years are going to experience a sudden death. This reminds me of the way the dinosaurs disappeared. What is the “asteroid” that will destroy such a large and well established infrastructure? Can it be stopped?
The HPC Advisory Council published a best practices paper showing record application performance for LS-DYNA® Automotive Crash Simulation, one of the automotive industry’s most computational and network intensive applications for automotive design and safety. The paper can be downloaded here: HPC Advisory Council : LS-Dyna Performance Benchmark and Profiling.
The LS-DYNA benchmarks were tested on a Dell™ PowerEdge R720 based-cluster comprised of 32 nodes and with networking provided by Mellanox Connect-IB™ 56Gb/s InfiniBand adapters and switch. The results demonstrate that the combined solution delivers world-leading performance versus any given system at these sizes, or versus larger core count system based on Ethernet or proprietary interconnect solution based supercomputers.
The TopCrunch project is used to track the aggregate performance trends of high performance computer systems and engineering software. Rather than using a synthetic benchmark, actual engineering software applications are used with real datasets and run on high performance computer systems.
: Scot Schultz is a HPC technology specialist with broad knowledge in operating systems, high speed interconnects and processor technologies. Prior to joining Mellanox, he spent the past 17 years at AMD in various engineering and leadership roles, most recently in strategic HPC technology ecosystem enablement. Scot was also instrumental with the growth and development of the Open Fabrics Alliance as co-chair of the board of directors. Follow him on Twitter: @ScotSchultz
Congratulations go out to Yarden Gerbi as she recently took home the silver medal in competition at the Judo Grand Prix, recently held in Dusseldorf, Germany. This competition brought together 370 athletes from 55 countries. Gerbi secured victories over competitors from Mongolia and Austria and moved on to the semi-finals. Gerbi is currently training in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic games.
If you search the internet for data center automation tools, you will come up with many options. You can easily find software tools that automate server provisioning, network equipment configuration or monitor the different elements. But you cannot find tools for automatic fabric configuration.
Fabrics become more popular these days. If traditional aggregation switching in data centers of Cloud providers, Web 2.0 providers, and large-scale enterprises has been based on modular switches, we now see them being replaced by fabrics – arrays of fixed, 1U switches. These fabrics increase the flexibility and efficiency in data center aggregation – lower cost of equipment, power reduction, better scalability and high resiliency.
Mellanox Virtual Modular Switch™ (VMS) is such a fabric, comprised of Mellanox 10, 40, and 56GbE fixed switches. It provides an optimized approach for aggregating racks. The VMS excels in its flexibility, power savings and performance. Based on Mellanox switches, the VMS leverages the unique advantages of the SwitchX-2, the highest performing 36-port 40GbE switching IC.
The Need for Automation
The scalability that the fabrics bring drives a change in the way they are configured. The legacy way to configure switches and routers is scripting – each device has its management interface, typically CLI, and when the right configuration script is applied to each switch, they interwork as a single fabric. However, this approach does not scale and one cannot configure big fabrics in mega data centers this way, since creating and maintaining scripts for many fixed switches can become a nightmare. So, fabric creation automation is required – a tool that can do it both automatically and fast, to allow short setup time.
People often ask me why Mellanox is interested in storage, since we make high-speed InfiniBand and Ethernet infrastructure, but don’t sell disks or file systems. It is important to understand the four biggest changes going on in storage today: Flash, Scale-Out, Appliances, and Cloud/Big Data. Each of these really deserves its own blog but it’s always good to start with an overview.
Flash is a hot topic, with IDC forecasting it will consume 17% of enterprise storage spending within three years. It’s 10x to 1000x faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) with both higher throughput and lower latency. It can be deployed in storage arrays or in the servers. If in the storage, you need faster server-to-storage connections. If in the servers, you need faster server-to-server connections. Either way, traditional Fibre Channel and iSCSI are not fast enough to keep up. Even though Flash is cheaper than HDDs on a cost/performance basis, it’s still 5x to 10x more expensive on a cost/capacity basis. Customers want to get the most out of their Flash and not “waste” its higher performance on a slow network.
Flash can be 10x faster in throughput, 300-4000x faster in IOPS per GB (slide courtesy of EMC Corporation)