A broad and growing range of possibilities are available to designers of a cluster when choosing an interconnection technology. As the price of network hardware in a cluster can vary from almost free to several thousands of dollars per computing node, the decision is not a minor one in determining the overall price of the cluster. Many very effective clusters have been built from inexpensive products that are typically found in local area networks. However, some recent network products specifically designed for cluster communication have a price that is comparable to the cost of a workstation. The choice of network technology depends upon a number of factors, including price, performance, and compatibility with other cluster hardware and system software as well as communication characteristics of applications that will use the cluster.
[...] I/O attached message-based systems includes all commonly-used wide-area and local-area network technologies, and includes several recent products that are specifically designed for cluster computing. I/O attached shared storage systems include computers that share a common disk subsystem. Memory attached systems are less common, since the memory bus of an individual computer generally has a design that is unique to that type of computer. However, many memory-attached systems are implemented in software or with memory mapped such as Memory Channel . [...]
[...] As Fiber Channel matures it may become more widely used as a general-purpose cluster interconnection technology HIPPI or HIgh Performance Parallel Interface, is a gigabit network that was first designed for interconnecting high-performance parallel computers with network attached storage devices. When the first 800Mbps HIPPI standard was developed in the late 1980's, it was considered revolutionary. The standard has gone through several versions and now bears the name Gigabit System Network (GSN). GSN is the highest bandwidth and lowest latency interconnect standard, providing full duplex transmission rates of 6400Mbps (800 Mbytes/s) in each direction. [...]
[...] In addition, its low latency, high bandwidth, and programmability make it competitive for cluster computing QsNet QsNet from Quadrics Supercomputers World Ltd. is a high bandwidth, low latency interconnection for commodity symmetric multiprocessing computers. QsNet is constructed from two QSW designed sub-systems: A network interface comprising one or more network adapters in each node· A high performance multi-rail data network that connects the nodes together. The network interface is based on QSW's "Elan" ASIC. The Elan III integrates a dedicated I/O processor to offload messaging tasks from the main CPU, a 66Mhz 64-bit PCI interface, a QSW data link 400Mhz byte-wide, full duplex link), MMU, cache and local memory interface. [...]
[...] Li, Scalable Coherent Interface IEEE Communications Magazine,Vol No August p. 52-63. N. Boden, et. al. Myrinet A Gigabit-per-Second Local-Area Network. IEEE Micro, Vol No.1, February 1995 http://www.myri.com/ C. Reschke, T. Sterling, D. Ridge, D. Savarese, D. Becker, and P. Merkey A Design Study of Alternative Network Topologies for the Beowulf Parallel Workstation Proceedings, High Performance and Distributed Computing http://www.beowulf.org/ The Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, http://www.gigabit-ethernet.org/ M.A. Baker, S. Scott, A. Geist and L. Browne, GigaBit Performance under NT, the 3rd International PC-NOW Workshop at IPDPS 2000, Cancun, Mexico, [...]
[...] Additionally, several types of network hardware that are specifically designed for cluster computing have been developed and made commercially available. Developers of network products are beginning to implement features such as the support of heartbeat monitoring for fault tolerance and specific protocols to deal with streaming, groups and object technologies, to fulfill the needs of specific applications. The wide selection of available network hardware and software support makes the decision of selecting a cluster interconnection technology a difficult task. Indeed, the number of product choices appears to be increasing rather than decreasing, as some products such as ATOLL and QsNet have come onto the market in just the last couple of years. [...]
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