Using State-of-the-Art Multi-Colour Optics and Myri-10G Networks
ClusterVision, specialist in Linux supercomputer clusters, has been awarded the contract to build the DAS-3 grid (Distributed ASCI Supercomputer). The DAS-3 grid will comprise five Linux supercomputer clusters, to be hosted at four leading Dutch universities using SURFnet's state-of-the-art dynamic multi-colour optical network and Myricom's Myri-10G interconnect.
The University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Vrije Universiteit (VU), Leiden University (LU), and Delft University of Technology (TUD) will use the grid for research into distributed computing; grid computing, services and environments for e-science in the context of the VL-e (Virtual Laboratory for e-Science) project; multimedia knowledge discovery (MultimediaN project); bio-computing image databases; and many other projects.
The DAS-3 grid will be a key research tool in the context of the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) funded StarPlane project led by the UvA and VU. The StarPlane project aims to empower grid applications to use the most advanced features of the dynamically reconfigurable multi-colour optical backbone of the Dutch National Research and Education Network SURFnet-6. Using photonic devices such as wavelength selective switches and micro electro mechanical switch devices the topology can be adapted to dynamically optimise the network capacity to the grid application needs.
The DAS-3 grid will consist of five Linux supercomputer clusters with an aggregate theoretical peak performance of more than 3.5 Teraflop (3.5 billion calculations per second). On today's Top500 list of most powerful computers in the world (www.top500.org), the grid, if considered as a single system, would feature in the top half. The grid will include more than 550 AMD Opteron processors, 1TB of memory and 100TB of storage. All clusters will be preinstalled with the Linux-based ClusterVisionOS cluster operating system, which includes all software required to effectively use and manage the clusters.
At the heart of four of the clusters in the DAS-3 grid will be a Myricom Myri-10G network, consisting of one Myri-10G switch that connects to a Myri-10G PCI-Express card in each server of the cluster. Each Myri-10G switch will connect directly to SURFnet's multi-colour optical backbone. Myri-10G is Myricom's new high performance computing interconnect, which combines industry-standard 10-Gigabit Ethernet with Myricom's own Myrinet Express (MX) communication protocol to offer extremely high bandwidth and low latency.
"DAS is a unique test bed for computer scientists that has been used for almost 10 years for experiments that would be difficult to do elsewhere. DAS-3 will also strengthen the position of the Netherlands within European grid research. I always like to advertise DAS as 'a grid that works', because it is simpler and more stable than most other test beds and because it has attracted hundreds of users," said prof. dr ir Henri Bal from the Vrije Universiteit.
"One of the key innovations in this project is the photonic and Layer 2 traffic engineering between the clusters under control of grid applications that we will develop on this system," said dr ir Cees de Laat from the University of Amsterdam. "We are excited to be able to work with Myricom, ClusterVision, SURFnet and their committed grass roots technical teams in making this project named StarPlane happen".
"The Myricom technical team is very much looking forward to working with our academic and ClusterVision colleagues on this innovative grid of clusters," said Dr Chuck Seitz, Myricom founder and CEO. "We expect that the architecture and technologies that will be used for DAS-3 will set the standard for high-performance grids in other countries and for additional applications."
ASCI (Advanced School for Computing and Imaging) is a Dutch graduate school established in 1993 and accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Research groups of Delft University of Technology, Vrije Universiteit, University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, Utrecht University, University Twente, University of Groningen, Eindhoven Technical University and the Erasmus University Rotterdam participate in ASCI.
Founded in 1994, Myricom, Inc. created Myrinet, the high performance computing (HPC) interconnect technology used in thousands of computing clusters in more than 50 countries. With its new Myri-10G solutions, Myricom achieves a convergence at 10-Gigabit data rates between its low-latency Myrinet technology and mainstream Ethernet. Myri-10G bridges the gap between the rigorous demands of traditional HPC and the growing need for affordable computing speed in enterprise data centers. Privately held and based in Arcadia, California, Myricom achieved and has sustained profitability since 1995 with eleven consecutive profitable years through 2005.
ClusterVision is specialist in the design, implementation and support of large-scale computer clusters. Their clustering technology provides an alternative to traditional supercomputing by connecting multiple computers to form a unified computing system. ClusterVision's technical and sales team have designed and built some of the largest and most complex computational, storage and database clusters in the UK, Germany and Benelux. With a background in applied scientific research and practical experience with a wide range of supercomputer technologies the team understands customers' requirements and provides tailor-made solutions. ClusterVision has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich and Paris.
The projects DAS-3 and StarPlane have been made possible by grants from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and NCF, by contributions from the BSIK projects VL-e MultimediaN and GigaPort, and financial contributions from the VU and Leiden University.