Flash Gordon Alive and Well in San Diego

| January 31, 2012

Flash Gordon Alive and Well in San Diego, Dan Gatti, Big Data I/O Forum

The San Diego Supercomputer Center’s Gordon cluster is a BIG DATA  I/O project that will challenge Dr Ming’s ability to enter the atmosphere at warp speed. Composed of over 1,000 compute nodes based on the Intel Xeon processor E5 family.   The supercomputer also employs a number of unique capabilities to provide the data-intensive applications it was built to run.   One of these features is very fast access to storage via 64 I/O nodes incorporating 300TB of high performance SSD flash-based memory connected over the InfiniBand fabric. 

The Gordon cluster is the ‘Supernode’ architecture.    Each Gordon supernode consists of 32 HPC compute nodes and is capable of 240 GFLOPS/node and 64 GBof RAM per node.   Each supernode also incorporates 2 of the high speed I/O nodes detailed above.   When tied together by virtual shared memory, each of the system’s 32 supernodes has the potential of 7.7 TFLOP of compute power and 10 TB of memory.    An additional benefit of the cluster is the use of the supernodes are completely programmable, so the nodes can be allocated either as traditional HPC nodes, as supernodes, or as combinations of the two.  

Each of these I/O nodes is capable of more than 560K IOPS, or 35M IOPS for the full system, making it what SDSC believes is the fastest supercomputer ever commissioned by the NSF in terms of I/O operations.   For comparison purposes, the flash storage is large enough to store the entire 100,000 Netflix movie catalog (and still have room to spare), and is fast enough to deliver more than 200 Netflix movies in a single second.  

Another concept unique to the Gordon cluster is the ‘Supernode’ architecture.    Each Gordon supernode consists of 32 HPC compute nodes and is capable of 240 GFLOPS/node and 64 GBof RAM per node.   Each supernode also incorporates 2 of the high speed I/O nodes detailed above.   When tied together by virtual shared memory, each of the system’s 32 supernodes has the potential of 7.7 TFLOP of compute power and 10 TB of memory.    An additional benefit of the cluster is the use of the supernodes are completely programmable, so the nodes can be allocated either as traditional HPC nodes, as supernodes, or as combinations of the two.

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