IBM SoftLayer Provides Platform for Supercomputing in the Cloud

IBM announced that its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure now supports InfiniBand, which enables high-performance computing in the cloud.

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IBM has announced that SoftLayer has added InfiniBand links to its cloud services portfolio as a networking option for customers using bare metal servers.

Big Blue officials said adding InfiniBand support enables very high network throughput and low latency between bare metal servers. This is ideal for computationally intensive activities common to energy companies and big data applications, and it makes high performance computing (HPC) even more accessible on the cloud.

InfiniBand is an industry-standard networking architecture that delivers high transfer speeds—up to 56G bps—between compute nodes. That is the equivalent of transferring data from more than 30,000 Blu-ray discs in a single day. The architecture provides additional features that contribute to InfinBand's superior reliability, availability and serviceability over legacy PCI bus and other proprietary switch fabrics and I/O solutions.

"As more and more companies migrate their toughest workloads to the cloud, many are now demanding that vendors provide high speed networking performance to keep up," said SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby, in a statement. "Our InfiniBand support is helping to push the technological envelope on what can be done on the cloud today. It showcases our innovation when collaborating with customers to help them solve complex business issues."

InfiniBand brings SoftLayer customers even lower latency between bare metal servers, applicable to private clusters of servers with up to hundreds of compute nodes. This is ideal for computing solutions for applications such as life sciences and genomics, computer-aided engineering, financial services, electronics design and reservoir simulation. By reducing latency between bare metal servers in these private clusters, customers can easily manage massive amounts of data faster more effectively and efficiently, IBM said.

"Bringing InfiniBand capability to the cloud is driven by the growing need for extremely high levels of speed and performance for scenarios such as HPC and big data," said Philbert Shih, managing director for Structure Research, in a statement. "This type of offering will help enable engineers and scientists to build, compute, and analyze simulations in real time leveraging hundreds of compute nodes. Being able to share and analyze data at this speed will only accelerate cloud adoption from this use case, while making HPC performance more accessible across a wide variety of industries."

IBM said the introduction on InfiniBand on SoftLayer will especially benefit customers who are leveraging ready-to-run clusters complete with code name IBM Elastic Storage, IBM Platform LSF or Platform Symphony workload management. InfiniBand will be available on SoftLayer through the IBM Platform Computing team, expected in the third quarter of 2014.