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10G Ethernet Outperformed InfiniBand

TMCnews Featured Article


October 04, 2010

10G Ethernet Outperformed InfiniBand

By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor


IBM (News - Alert) corporation conducted a new benchmark study, ‘IBM Benchmarks 10G Ethernet and InfiniBand for HPC Applications,’ which showed that performance delivered by 10G Ethernet was much better compared to InfiniBand and Gb Ethernet for a range of high performance computing (HPC) applications.


Several applications in HPC were deployed and tested using 4x InfiniBand DDR, 10G Ethernet using iWARP and Gb Ethernet using TCP/IP, whereby IBM researchers compared individual performances to arrive at the stated theory. As per the research, 10G Ethernet outperformed InfiniBand in some standard benchmark test suites while other test monitored the same type of performance.

To conduct the benchmark study, IBM researchers set up a test environment consisting of a computing cluster controlled by a 2.3 GHz quad-core Opteron processor with each individual node utilizing 16G memory and two quad-core processor. A 4x DDR InfiniBand was configured at each node that was connected to a 96-port Cisco DDR switch leveraging dual-port DDR ConnectX adapters from Mellanox (News - Alert). The environment also included a 10G Ethernet network using Chelsio dual-port adapters with full offload capability, connected to a 20-port Force10 10G Ethernet switch; and a Gigabit Ethernet network connected through a Cisco (News - Alert) switch. The test environment had a standard software configuration which was running RedHat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.2.

Atmost eight applications were run over the networks with the inclusion of NETPERF, which is a benchmark suite commonly used to measure various aspects of networking performance. The performance is measured based on factors such bulk data transfer and request/response performance using either TCP/IP or UDP (News - Alert) as well as the Berkeley Socket Interface. As per the NETPERF results, 10 Gb Ethernet significantly outperformed InfiniBand for both TCP and UDP while Gb Ethernet ranked third in the test.

In a release, Kianoosh Naghshineh (News - Alert), president and CEO of Chelsio Communications, said that, “We are pleased that IBM has published the results of its extensive performance testing for key HPC applications and the results clearly show that 10Gb Ethernet is superior to InfiniBand for a broad base of HPC applications and very similar in others – validating the reasons behind the rapidly growing success of Ethernet as the HPC interconnect technology.”

As a leading provider of high-performance and proven unified wire, storage software and appliance technology, Chelsio is deploying low latency 10G Ethernet and multi-port Gb Ethernet adapter cards required for high-performance computing applications.


Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard


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