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Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Elizabeth White, Andreas Grabner, Jim Kaskade, Pat Romanski

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Obsidian Welcomes Mellanox and its MetroX Product into the Long Haul InfiniBand Market

Mellanox's recent announcement at the Supercomputing 2012 event of a soon to be released product capable of extending 10Gbits/s InfiniBand fabrics over as much as 10 km has been welcomed by the market pioneer and leader, Obsidian.

The importance of range-extension for the very high performance but intrinsically short-reach InfiniBand protocol is not lost on Obsidian, which first demonstrated the capability with its Longbow products at the same Supercomputing conference seven years earlier in Seattle.

Obsidian's CVO, Dr. David Southwell recalls: “In 2005, Obsidian demonstrated three wide area InfiniBand links encapsulated inside standard SONET and ATM WAN protocols, connecting the show's internal super network - SCInet – to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California (1,300 km), Intel's HPC facility in Dupont, WA (100 km) and a cross country path to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. While the 5,000 km link to NRL was by far the longest InfiniBand link demonstrated at that time, it was the relatively short 100 km run to Intel's Dupont facility that possibly did more to raise the awareness of the potential for long haul InfiniBand. Then Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, using partners Intel, Cisco and Obsidian, was able to make use of the high performance link during his key note address to migrate a large HPC data set to an Intel supercomputer in Dupont, allowing the results to rapidly migrate back in real time during his talk – actually an early demonstration of HPC cloud before the term had been coined.”

Dr. Southwell continued, “While Obsidian’s team of experts have gone on to develop a suite of capability sets including native InfiniBand routing, encryption/authentication, long-distance standards-based WDM devices, file migration software, diagnostic tools and more recently in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NASA Ames Research Center subnet management for compound topologies, we remain very passionate about long haul InfiniBand. We understand the demands of spanning HPC LAN and optical WAN domains in a single device, of rigorous standards compliance and carrier grade reliability. As Mellanox attempts to expand their sphere of expertise starting with stretched LANs of up to 10km with a view to stepping up to the full gambit of optical capability in the future, we wish them every success in our marketplace.”

“I can recall when Dr. Southwell and I met with Eyal several years ago to discuss incorporating long haul IB in their SDR switch,” remarked Bill Halina, Obsidian’s Chairman, “in the fast paced technology world it’s truly inspiring to see vision turn into reality and ultimately find its way into everyone’s home.”

Meet the Obsidian team at SC12 (Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT) in booth #4052 from November 12th to 15th.

About Obsidian Strategics

Obsidian Strategics™ is the developer of Longbow™, a series of InfiniBand products featuring range extension, routing and encryption. Longbow technology allows an InfiniBand fabric, normally a short-range network used in high-performance computing, to be extended via optical fiber over varying distances. Longbow connects across Campus, Metro or Global networks to enable unparalleled real-time backup over long-distance, high-bandwidth video transmission and efficient movement of large data sets to compute and storage resources.

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