Next-generation interconnect Intel Omni-Path released

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Intel Omni-Path Launch
Intel Omni-Path Launch

Today we have the formal release of Intel’s Omni-Path ecosystem. We did a discussion regarding what the release brings to the table in our Omni-Path overview and subsequent update a few months ago after we received an in-depth briefing on the technology. Today, just in time for SC’15 we have the formal release of the Intel Omni-Path technology. Intel and its ecosystem partners see Omni-Path as a high-speed interconnect build specifically for HPC applications. The technology is a clear shot across the bow of Mellanox who is the main driver of the competing Infiniband technology that has been a major success in the HPC world.

Intel Omni-Path Hardware

Intel has a full range of hardware releasing today including PCIe 3.0 adapters, switches, silicon for other OEMs to use, software and even cabling. The cabling Intel specifically noted that it wanted to cut down on vendor-locked cabling costs. As a result, it is taking a more open approach to cabling in order to lower the initial purchase price of Omni-Path deployments.

Intel Omni-Path Launch
Intel Omni-Path Launch

 

We had some hands on time with an engineering sample (you can see the second set of PCIe contact points) HFI adapter at IDF 2015.

Intel Omni-Path August 2015 - Adapter Shot
Intel Omni-Path August 2015 – Adapter Shot

Along with add-in cards, Intel will be releasing Knight’s Landing (KNL) with on package Omni-Path to lower costs. We will not see the formal release of KNL in 2015 however there are some deployments already up and running with the new chips. General availability for Knight’s Landing will be in Q1’2016. Knight’s landing will be the first compute package with integrated Omni-Path although we expect more integration to be announced in 2016 (e.g. with the Intel Xeon E5 series.)

Intel Knights Landing - Omni-Path
Intel Knights Landing – Omni-Path

Intel has Grid Director switches along with smaller rack switches. The Edge switches currently max out at 48 ports.

Intel Omnipath 48 port
Intel Omni-path 48 port

Intel also has a 24-port version but does expect other switch vendors to have their own designs.

Intel Omnipath 24 port
Intel Omnipath 24 port

Overall, Intel has enough of a launch platform to make Omni-Path a viable end-to-end solution.

Intel Omni-Path

Like 100 gigabit Ethernet and Mellanox’s EDR Infiniband technology, Omni-Path is another 100Gbps per port technology. We saw Intel update its 100Gb Ethernet strategy recently week but that is a more general purpose interconnect. Here is the formal information we have as of Hot Interconnects 2015 on Omni-Path:

Intel Omni-Path August 2015 - New for hot interconnects
Intel Omni-Path August 2015 – New for hot interconnects

Intel has started to release information around some of the pre-GA clusters that are currently available:

Intel SC15 Xeon Phi Knights Landing Update
Intel SC15 Xeon Phi Knights Landing Update

 

 

We are working to get samples of Omni-Path in the new datacenter lab along with competitive products. Intel is emphasizing putting together an ecosystem of hardware partners to make the new technologies a success. Time will see if Infiniband has too large of a lead in the market for Intel to dent.

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