Wednesday, November 17, 2010

InfiniBand's Growth Slows in Supercomputing

By David Gross

The latest semi-annual Top500 survey is out this week, in conjunction with the SC10 show, and InfiniBand has posted fairly modest gains over the last six months, with implementations growing from 207 to 214 of the world's largest supercomputers. 

In the June survey, InfiniBand showed major gains from the November 2009 tally, growing from 181 to 207 system interconnects, and 151 interconnects from the June 2009 count.   Five years ago, InfiniBand was used in just 27 systems, and trailed not just Ethernet, but proprietary interconnect Myrinet.    Back then, over 40% of the world's top 500 supercomputers used proprietary or custom interconnects, while today just 11% do.   Ethernet has held steady over this period, dropping slightly from 250 to 228 of the top 500, and most of InfiniBand's gains have come up at the expense of Myrinet, Quadrics, and other proprietary interconnects.

While Ethernet still has a slight lead in number of systems, the average InfiniBand-connected supercomputer has approximately 70% more processors than the average Ethernet connected supercomputer.    With proprietary interconnects essentially wiped out, any future share gains for InfiniBand will now have to come at Ethernet's expense.

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