Network Communication in a Supercomputing System
Mainstream network technologies for supercomputers include Ethernet, FC, and InfiniBand. FC is primarily designed for connecting storage devices. Due to its technical limitations, FC is only used widely in the storage domain. Both Ethernet and InfiniBand are open-network interconnect technologies. Ethernet focuses more on the versatility of the network protocols, with a unified protocol for both local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). Therefore, Ethernet has been used widely in almost all network data transfer domains. With the data transfer speed of Ethernet gradually increasing to the same level or even above the FC, a lot of storage devices start to use Ethernet for interconnect as well. An example is the storage protocol ISCSI, which supports data transfer on Ethernet. On the other hand, InfiniBand is designed for making up the disadvantages of Ethernet and FC, as well as to meet the demands on performance and intelligence of the communication network and storage network. The performance of InfiniBand is far better than Ethernet and FC and includes intelligent features such as SDN. In recent years, InfiniBand has gradually become the dominating network technology in supercomputer systems.