[Beowulf] fast interconnects

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pathscale.com
Fri May 19 14:14:03 PDT 2006

On Fri, May 19, 2006 at 08:49:19AM -0700, Jim Lux wrote:

> a) There's likely to be 10Gbps ethernet over ordinary cat 5e/6 cabling 
> soon. (Solarflare is one company working on it)

They're all trying, but it's unclear if it will be cheap enough and
have low enough of a bit error rate to be useful in large clusters.

> b) There's some interesting work from companies like Fulcrum on very fast 
> switches using asynchronous logic.

Yep, this was publically shown at the last SC.

> They have an architecture that essentially routes with zero copy
> inside the switch.

This has been the way most people build their non-Ethernet switch
chips for a long time. There's still one copy. Don Becker has a funny
definition of "zero copy", he says that it means someone else does
the copy. This meets Don's defintion.

> c) for high speeds, circuit switching is where it's at, rather than classic 
> store and forward packet switching.

I haven't seen any modern switch doing circuit switching. Everyone uses
cut-through packet switching for non-Ethernet switches.

-- greg

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