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NCSA gets Extreme assistance

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Extreme Networks is assisting the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to power the Blue Waters petascale computing project, to implement high-speed network connectivity within the storage environment and externally with researchers across the nation.

The Blue Waters supercomputer provides sustained performance of one petaflop for a range of real-world science and engineering applications. NCSA selected the BlackDiamond X8 switch from Extreme Networks to support the 25PB (petabytes) of disk storage transported by the Ethernet network.

The system offers up to 1.1TBps of aggregate bandwidth over 40Gbps Ethernet featuring Extreme Networks BlackDiamond X8 at its core. Overall, the Blue Waters system connects 237 Cray XE6 cabinets using 380,000 AMD Opteron 6200 Series x82 processors and more than 30 cabinets of the Cray XK6 supercomputer with Nvidia Tesla GPU computing capabilities.

The Blue Waters project required the latest generation of performance, reliability, low latency and port density for 40 Gigabit Ethernet to enable scientists and engineers nationally to use the power of Blue Waters to tackle a wide range of challenging problems, from predicting the behaviour of complex biological systems to simulating the evolution of the cosmos.

'We are using the 40Gbit Ethernet network from Extreme to provide access to all the data movement machines for the Blue Waters environment; there are 78 host connections for that purpose,' said Michelle Butler, senior technical program manager for NCSA. 'The BlackDiamond X8 switch has been successfully running the network without fail.'