SOURCE: Cisco Systems, Inc.

November 13, 2007 08:00 ET

Cisco Infiniband Switches Anchor High-Speed Networks at Major Customer Sites

Online Retailer Cabelas, Andrews Space and Harvard University Rely on Cisco InfiniBand Switches to Provide Optimal Bandwidth for Transaction Processing and Scientific Analysis

RENO, NV--(Marketwire - November 13, 2007) - SC07 International Conference -- Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced that Cisco's high-performance Server Fabric Switch (SFS) InfiniBand Series has been deployed to support advanced high-speed data online transactions at Cabelas, a leading retailer of outdoor merchandise, as well as scientific analysis and research at Andrews Space, a developer of advanced space technologies, and at Harvard University's Department of Chemistry.

The Cisco family of high-performance server switches offers best-in-class scalability, high availability and security, with a common set of management tools such as configuration interfaces and virtualization provisioning. Supporting some of the world's largest server clusters, Cisco SFS InfiniBand Series products offer cost-effective, low-latency options for high-performance, computation-intensive applications where every microsecond of latency improvement is critical.

Enabling High-Speed Holiday Online Shopping at Cabelas

Cabelas (http://www.cabelas.com), headquartered in Sidney, Neb., is the world's largest direct marketer, and a leading specialty retailer, of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise. To gear up for the high-demand online holiday shopping season, the information technology (IT) staff researched high-speed networking solutions to upgrade from 1-gigabit performance and replace the aging network infrastructure. IT team members determined that they needed a three-year solution that would anticipate future needs and support ongoing network traffic demands, as well as provide optimal solution price to performance.

The Cabelas IT team selected the Cisco SFS 7000 Series InfiniBand solution to deliver cost-competitive bandwidth, low latency, and high-performance capabilities, and installed the solution in just three months over the summer, to be ready for the start of holiday shopping in October. "We determined that we needed a solution that could accommodate 30,000 transactions per minute going forward, and the InfiniBand solution we've deployed delivers 70,000 transactions per minute in our in-house tests, at half the cost of other technologies," said Luc Suryo, senior UNIX engineer at Cabelas. "The new system helps to create a positive online user shopping experience, which is critical because shoppers will abandon online orders if processing isn't handled quickly."

The Cisco InfiniBand switches are located in three data centers across the United States, and data is mirrored to a disaster recovery site that is able to begin backup data transactions in minutes, in the event of failure at the primary site. The IT staff also benefits from the low-latency fabric, which allows for easy management of large volume and bursts of traffic on the site.

"We are a pioneer in the use of InfiniBand technology in the retail market and can confirm that the technology delivers what it promises," said Suryo. "In our view, InfiniBand offers the most cost-effective high-speed bandwidth on the market today and is an ideal fit for our applications."

Greater Computational Horsepower at Andrews Space

Seattle-based Andrews Space is an integrator of aerospace systems and a developer of advanced space technologies. The company was founded in 1999 to provide a catalyst for the commercialization and development of space. After researching processors and interconnect technology to service client contracts, Andrews Space elected to create a new parallel-processing computing cluster by linking Dell servers through a Cisco SFS 7000P Series InfiniBand solution. Each Dell system contains four 3.73 gigahertz 5080 Intel® Xeon® processor cores, creating the equivalent of a 40-computer cluster. The Cisco SFS 7000P InfiniBand Series interconnects the discrete server resources to create a high-performance, low-latency fabric. The switch contains ten 10-Gbps InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs). According to Andrews Space, processor-to-processor latency is approximately four microseconds and the switch latency is just 200 nanoseconds.

With the new Dell computers and the Cisco SFS 7000P InfiniBand solution, processor utilization improved from approximately 20 percent on the old cluster to more than 90 percent.

"For our computational fluid dynamics application, this solution is cheaper than a supercomputer and much faster than our previous cluster," said Eli Rosenberg, an engineer at Andrews Space. "The Cisco switch lets us perform a whole new level of analysis, which brings in business because there are very few firms our size with this kind of computational horsepower."

Enabling Computational Chemistry Analysis at Harvard University

Harvard's Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department is the center of research for chemistry and chemical biology in the university's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and has an extensive, high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure to support teaching and research. To host computational chemistry applications, a new cluster was built around a unified HPC fabric with Cisco Catalyst Series Ethernet switches, Cisco SFS 3012 InfiniBand Series and Cisco MDS 9000 multilayer storage networking switches to support cluster computing, shared storage, and highly available data access to support chemistry research.

According to Dr. Gerald Lotto, assistant director of information technology for the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and manager for the project at Harvard, the new infrastructure is suited to the computational workload demands of the department, and the bandwidth and capacity challenges previously experienced have been virtually nonexistent since the system upgrade. Lotto researched and tested high-performance shared-disk file-system designs that took advantage of InfiniBand technology with Cisco and IBM engineers, and found cluster performance to be as much as 50 percent faster than a Fibre Channel architecture.

For more information on Cisco HPC: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6418/index.html.

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