Beowulf: A theorical approach

Tony Skjellum tony at MPI-Softtech.Com
Thu Jun 22 09:54:44 PDT 2000

Rumor has it that Infiniband is only a 64-way maximum size
infrastructure...  perhaps that will change over time.

Anthony Skjellum, PhD, President (tony at 
MPI Software Technology, Inc., Ste. 33, 101 S. Lafayette, Starkville, MS 39759
+1-(662)320-4300 x15; FAX: +1-(662)320-4301;
"Best-of-breed Software for Beowulf and Easy-to-Own Commercial Clusters."

On Thu, 22 Jun 2000, James Cownie wrote:

> >  The problem right now really isn't in link speeds (though better
> > link speeds are good), its in how close/far the network interface is
> > from the CPU.  COTS HW doesn't place a high value on direct access
> > to IO devices - there is a higher value on a standardized bus
> > interface to allow different system components to be integrated and
> > updated independently.  A "supercomputer" can have the network
> > engineered directly into the node architecture.  This is a huge
> > advantage.  Luckily, this advantage has the most effect in only some
> > programs.
> If Infiniband does all that it is supposed to do, then it will rapidly
> become the network of choice, since it _does_ have support for direct
> (user-space) access to the comms, and has some nifty switches.
> Of course in the short term it will be limited by the CPU side
> interfaces being PCI, but that's only the same limitation as
> for Quadrics, Myrinet, SCI and so on. 
> Once it becomes the standard for connection to storage it _should_ be
> cheap, and a standard component of any "server-class" commodity
> machine, whether IA* or other architecture. (IBM announced that
> they'll be selling their interface chips and switches just today).
> So, I expect that Inifinband will be engineered intimately into the
> node architecture of COTS hardware, and that will help a lot.
> It'll be interesting how long it takes before the Linux drivers are
> available !
> -- Jim 
> James Cownie	<jcownie at>
> Etnus, Inc.     +44 117 9071438
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