Dell and Broadcom simplify the onboarding of high-performance computing using the Ethernet fabric

Ethernet seeks to renew the high-performance computing space based on its low latency and high speed. Based on the broad technology ecosystem, flexibility and choice have increased.

As a result, Dell Technologies Inc. and Broadcom Inc. offer Ethernet as a high-performance interconnect in HPC, according to Armando Acosta (pictured, left), director of HPC product management at Dell.

“Not everyone wants to be in the Top 500; what they want to do is improve their uptime and improve their latency on the network,” Acosta said. “And when you look at Ethernet, you kind of look at the sweet spot between 8, 12, 16, 32 nodes — it fits perfectly suited to Ethernet in that space and those kinds of jobs.”

Acosta and Peter Del Vecchio (pictured, right), product line managers at Broadcom, spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Savannah Peterson and David Nicholson at SC22, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, Silicon’s live streaming studioANGLE Media . They discussed the importance of Ethernet in HPC. (*Disclosure below.)

Moving HPC from academia to enterprise

The partnership between Broadcom and Dell aims to move HPC from academia to the corporate world with the help of Ethernet, according to Acosta. Therefore, validated designs are helping to achieve this.

“If you look at market research, they actually tell you it’s 50/50 now,” he noted. “So Ethernet is at 50%, InfiniBand is at 50%. What’s interesting about this is that we’re working with Broadcom. We have their chips in our lab; we have their switches in our workshop. What we’re trying to do is simplify the network setup essentially for MPI.”

A new trend towards Ethernet has emerged, according to Del Vecchio, who said this has accelerated its adoption in HPC.

“I think one of the most important things you find with Ethernet for HPC is that if you look at where different technologies have gone over time… pretty much everything now is kind of converging towards Ethernet,” he said. “I mean, there are still some technologies like InfiniBand, Omni-Path that are out there. But, basically, they’re a single source at this point.

The large use case of Ethernet in the corporate world is making it work. This makes its integration into HPC easier, according to Del Vecchio.

“The fact that Ethernet is used in the rest of the business, it’s used in cloud data centers, that it’s very easy to integrate HPC-based systems into those systems,” he said. “So as you move HPC from academia to enterprise to cloud service providers, it’s much easier to integrate it with the same technology that you’re already using in those data centers, in those networks.”

The Dell-Broadcom partnership covers hardware and software. Valuable feedback on APIs, hardware and the operating system has also improved productivity, according to Del Vecchio.

“Dell was an early adopter of our silicon,” he said. “We have been working closely on SAI and SONiC on the operating system and they provide us very valuable feedback on our roadmap.”

In the networking space, doubling bandwidth means doubling efficiency, according to Del Vecchio. Broadcom is enhancing the cutting-edge capabilities of Ethernet through high-performance, high-capacity network switches, called Tomahawks.

“Tomahawk4… is what is in production. It is shipped to large data centers around the world,” he said. “We started sampling it in 2019; started entering data centers in 2020, and that’s 25.6 terabytes per second. August [we introduced] Tomahawk5 — so that’s 51.2 terabytes per second. So double the bandwidth of any other technology out there.”

Here is the full video interview, part of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the SC22 event:

(*Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the SC22 event. Neither Dell Technologies Inc., the primary sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor any other sponsor has editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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