Feeds

Cray launches Gemini super interconnect

Last Baker system component revealed

High performance access to file storage

Another thing that Cray is adding back into its supers with the XE6 systems is global memory addressing, something that Cray machines have not had since the T3E super from 1995, which was based on the Digital Equipment Alpha 21164 processor. (Yes, DEC was a damned good engineering company.)

The T3E was the first machine to break the 1 teraflops barrier doing actual work. (I know about ASCI Red and its Linpack ratings.) The global address space in the XE6 is implemented in the Gemini chip and basically allows remote direct memory access (RDMA) from any node in the system to any other node in the system without having to go through the whole MPI stack to have nodes talk to each other.

This global address space is not as tight as the shared global memory that Silicon Graphics implements in NUMAlink 4 for its Itanium-based Altix 4700s or in NUMAlink 5 for its new Xeon 7500-based Altix UVs. Global shared memory in the SGI sense means there is only one copy of the Linux operating system and one address space for applications.

The global addressing based on RDMA that Cray is implementing in the XE6 provides a shared address space for applications, but each node in the cluster has its own copy of the Linux operating system. The "Blue Waters" massively parallel Power7-based super IBM is building for the University of Illinois has something akin to Cray's global addressing.

The global addressing means that applications running across a large number of nodes can be coded more easily than with MPI, but you have to use special languages like Unified Parallel C, Co-Array Fortran, Chapel (from Cray), or X10 (from IBM) to use it. The Cray X1 and X2 vector machines had global address spaces, and so too did the Quadrics interconnect, which is one reason why Duncan Roweth, one of the founders of the British HPC interconnect makers, took a job at Cray when Quadrics shut down a year ago. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.