Tag Archives: Connect-IB

How Scale-Out Systems Affect Amdahl’s Law

Amdahl's LawIn 1967, Gene Amdahl developed a formula that calculates the overall efficiency of a computer system by analyzing how much of the processing can be parallelized and the amount of parallelization that can be applied in the specific system.

At that time, deeper performance analysis had to take into consideration the efficiency of three main hardware resources that are needed for the computation job: the compute, memory and storage.

On the compute side, efficiency has to be measured by how many threads can run in parallel (which depends on the number of cores).  The memory size affects the percentage of IO operation that needs to access the storage, which slows significantly the execution time and the overall system efficiency.

Those three hardware resources worked very well until the beginning of 2000. At that time, the computer industry started to use a grid-computing or as it known today, scale-out systems.  The benefits of the scale-out architecture are clear. It enables building systems with higher performance, easy to scale with built-in high availability at a lower cost. However, the efficiency of those systems heavily depend on the performance and the resiliency of the interconnect solution.

The importance of the Interconnect became even bigger in the virtualized data center, where the amount of east west traffic continues to grow (as more parallel work is being done). So, if we want to use Amdahl’s law to analyze the efficiency of the scale-out system, in addition to the three traditional items (compute, memory & storage) the fourth item, which is the Interconnect, has to be considered as well.

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Mellanox Results are the Best on TopCrunch

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.

 

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Scot Schultz
Author: 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.