“Declaration of a Switchless Network” Rockport Networks Release Table

Startup Rockport Networks has finished stealth mode and launched an exciting product. It’s a switchless network. Rockport claims that its Rockport Switchless Network products are faster and have lower latency than traditional switch-based networks.
ⓒ Rockport Networks

In a Lockport switchless network, the switching function is performed by an intelligent network card, and these NICs become nodes to form the network. Each NIC is equipped with an FPGA and up to 24 endpoints are passively cabled to dedicated 1U SHFL optical equipment.

SHFLs are passive devices that require neither power nor cooling, and can be interconnected to expand the network. It carries Ethernet and Infiniband traffic over the Lockport network, and the NIC is a small HHHL PCIe card.

Along with FPGA, Mellanox Connect X-5 driver is also used. All native libraries and commands are supported, as well as taking advantage of ConnectX-5’s network offload and performance enhancements.

“We aim to get data to its destination faster than any other technology,” said Doug Kawardin, CEO of Lockport Networks, in a statement. Eliminating the switch is a critical factor in achieving the benefits of being sustainable, not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of environment and business.”

Lockport Network’s operating system, rNOS, runs on the NIC, completely offloading network processing from the compute core or server operating system. rNOS is capable of self-discovery, self-configuration, and self-healing of the network, and continuously optimizes the optimal path across the network to minimize congestion and latency.

Because rNOS divides traffic into small operations called FLITs and prioritizes them according to their importance, critical traffic is not slowed down. In addition, FLITs are transmitted together in a cross-sequence, so other traffic is not disturbed by large frames or packets.

Network administrators configure, manage, and monitor networks using a tool called Autonomous Network Manager (ANM). ANM monitors all elements of the network and stores them in a time-series database, which stores 30 days of historical data so network administrators can look back on previous situations for troubleshooting.

Lockport also made a bold claim regarding switchless networks, which uses 34-69% less power and reduces cabling and rack space by 72% and 77%, respectively, compared to conventional switch-based technologies. As a result, it is argued that the carbon footprint of data centers can be reduced.

Lockport switchless networks have just hit the market, but are quickly gaining HPC customers. Its largest customer is the Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas. TACC owns Frontera, the world’s 10th largest supercomputer, and has installed a 396-node Lockport switchless network for HPC workloads for scientific research as well as production workloads such as quantum computing and pandemic-related life science research. is operating

In addition, Durham University, UK, which operates the COSMA HPC cluster, and Ohio State University, which operates the Ohio Supercomputer Center, are also using Lockport’s products. Rockport was founded in 2012 and has raised about $18 million in venture capital. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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