Myricom rolls out switch for large clusters

* Myricom’s latest switch supports up to 8,192 hosts in a cluster

Server clustering vendor Myricom recently unveiled switches to build large clusters - 256-port switches that can be configured to support as many as 8,192 hosts.

Each switch connects to the other switches using quad-fiber ribbon cable, which eases installation. Myricom claims it is able to make such large switches because it uses fiber instead of copper cables. The fiber cables operate at a full-duplex rate of 2G bit/sec at up to 200 meters.

The switches have as many as 1,280 fiber ports and are hosed in a 14U high enclosure. The enclosure is rack-mountable and features front-to-back airflow and separate air paths for four hot-swappable and redundant power supplies. The power supplies also cool each of the blades that fit in the chassis.

The switches are based on a 32-port crossbar switch chipset, which Myricom will put in its other switch products and in blade systems it sells to OEMs.

Myrinet clusters are used for computational scientific and engineering applications, as well as transaction-intensive database and Web applications. According to Myricom, Myrinet clusters are used in nearly 38% of the Top 500 supercomputer clusters. One such Myrinet cluster is in use at the NCSA. It joins 2,500 Dell PowerEdge server processors. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2,816 Linux Networx processors are clustered with Myrinet switches.

The switches are made up of a series of line cards and have many configurations. They can consist of a 256-port Clos network with a starting price of $312 a port. A Clos network is a type of network topology consists of multiple layers and stages.

All line cards are hot-swappable. The switch also has 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet ports for monitoring. Monitoring of all ports, packet counts and errors, temperature and fan speeds is possible.

Myricom is a California company founded in 1994. It supplies hardware and software to IBM, HP, Dell, NEC, Sun, Linux Networx and Cray. For instance, a Myricom cluster is available for IBM’s eServer BladeCenter servers.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.