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Innovations Include FabricPath Technology for Data Center Scalability, WAN Optimization Solutions, and new Cloud Services

Cisco has announced new technology that supports its Data Center 3.0 strategy to help customers increase the flexibility of their data centers as they become more virtualized and cloud-based. The new technology advances Cisco's underlying unified fabric capabilities that help customers enhance the efficiency of information delivery in physical and virtualized data center environments, and manage public and private cloud resources more effectively.

"The F-Series modules on the Cisco Nexus 7000 series are currently deployed in LLNL's high performance computing infrastructure, offering us a high density 10GE and low latency networking solution.  This technology has enabled LLNL to build large storage network fabrics to support the world class supercomputing systems vital to the laboratory's national security research and development missions," said Matt Leininger, deputy for advanced technology projects at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

"NASA's Nebula cloud computing project based at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is using Cisco's FabricPath Switching System to develop a method to connect local virtualized servers to other cloud networks. NASA also uses the system to interconnect local cloud development and research networks through the Ames Internet eXchange (AIX)," said Ray Obrien, Nebula project manager at NASA Ames.

Announced today is Cisco FabricPath, networking technology that dramatically increases network scalability, resource agility, asset efficiency, and performance in the data center.  Cisco also announced new enhancements for Cisco Nexus and Catalyst data center switching platforms, Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) extensions, and new Cisco services. Comprising the richest set of networked data center solutions in the industry, Cisco's data center and virtualization vision combines unified fabric and unified computing to provide a foundation for reliable, efficient, agile, and highly secure data centers.

Key Highlights

Data Center Scalability, Resource Allocation and Performance 

  • Cisco FabricPath:  A feature of Cisco's data center operating system, NX-OS, Cisco FabricPath addresses emerging data center and cloud computing challenges posed by sophisticated virtualization requirements, dynamic workload mobility needs, and clustered application environments found in high-performance computing.  Based on Cisco's efforts in support of the emerging Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) standard, FabricPath provides ground-breaking data center-wide scalability, resiliency and performance. 
  • Cisco Nexus 7000 F-series I/O module: A new module for the Cisco Nexus 7000 data center switch provides next-generation performance with 32 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity with low latency, reduced power, and improved return on investment.  Designed for access and aggregation layer applications, the I/O module delivers up to 320 gigabits per second of switching capacity and supports both Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, providing an easy migration path while protecting existing technology investments.  It supports the Data Center Bridging and TRILL standards with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to be enabled in the near future through a software upgrade.
  • Cisco FabricPath Switching System (FSS): The FabricPath Switching System is an integrated, validated, hardware and software system that delivers the FabricPath functionality to build massively scalable domains. It is based on the FabricPath feature of NX-OS and FabricPath-capable hardware, such as the Nexus 7000 with F-Series I/O modules.Cisco Nexus 7000 Data Center Switching Platform

 

Application Performance Optimization

Cisco WAAS accelerates application traffic over the wide area network, enabling enterprises to consolidate applications into data centers and utilize cloud computing, while ensuring performance and productivity for users in remote sites or on the go.

  • WAAS as an on-demand service for the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2:  Cisco WAAS can now be deployed in the branch office as an on-demand service direct from select models of the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2, providing increased business agility and greater operational simplicity.
  • Web and software-as-a-service (SaaS): A new version of Cisco WAAS, version 4.2, offers performance optimization for Web applications deployed in the data center, or hosted in the cloud and delivered as a service (SaaS).
  • Windows-server-on-WAAS (WoW): Cisco WAAS 4.2 provides better support for Windows-server-on-WAAS (WoW), with fast access to data center and cloud applications, and locally hosted Windows services, on a single platform.
  • WAAS Mobile for the Cloud: WAAS Mobile 3.5 for the cloud can now be easily deployed in a public cloud infrastructure for faster application performance for mobile users.

Higher Performance Data Center Switching

  • Cisco Catalyst 4948E Switch: Building upon the success of the Cisco Catalyst 4900 Series Switches with more than 10 million ports sold, Cisco introduces the 4948E Switch with increased capacity, superior performance, microburst protection for predictable latency, plus automation and visibility. The switch also supports wire-speed IPv6, in addition to auto-provisioning and smart call-home features.

New Cisco Services for Data Center Deployment 

  • New Cisco Cloud Enablement services:  Backed by a broad ecosystem of industry-leading partners, Cisco today launched a set of services to help customers transform the data center. Cloud Enablement Services, including strategy, planning, design, and implementation, help customers successfully transition the data center to a cloud infrastructure to quickly realize the benefits of a cloud operational model. 
  • Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions: Cisco is also introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for IT Services, including new versions of the Tidal Enterprise Scheduler and Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator products that provide real-time IT process orchestration and batch automation to simplify data center management and increase operational efficiency and performance.
  • Cisco Validated Design guides: Cisco validated design guides serve as blueprints for ready-to-deploy IT across a variety of domains, including Cisco Virtualized Multi-Tenant Data Center (VMDC) solutions for private cloud design.
Price and Availability
The Cisco Nexus 7000 F-Series I/O module entry-level pricing is $35,000.  Cisco's Enhanced Layer 2 License for FabricPath is priced at $25,000.  Both products are scheduled to be available in the third quarter of 2010.  Cisco WAAS Release 4.2 software for the ISR G2 starts at $2,500 and is available now.   The Cisco Catalyst 4948E is available now and is priced from $10,995.

New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago.

While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher, Dr Albert van Dijk, may not surprise many people, it provides scientific evidence of the shift. The long-term trend in total water availability in soil and groundwater between 1980 and 2008 (red areas have experienced declines over this period, blue areas increases). The dry state of the catchments show that a return of rainfall does not automatically mean streamflows will return to previous rates.  Credit: CSIRO

The finding follows the first ever national and comprehensive analysis of 30 years of on-ground and satellite observations of Australia's water resources.

Dr Albert van Dijk told the the Sixth International Scientific Conference on the Global Energy and Water Cycle in Melbourne yesterday that the analysis provides a valuable, new insight into the country's water balance.

"The data shows the first signs of diminishing water availability in Australia appeared somewhere between 1993 and 1996 when the rate of water resource capture and use started to exceed the rate of streamflow supply," Dr van Dijk said.

Dr van Dijk's work is part of the water information research and development alliance between the CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and Bureau of Meteorology in which scientists are building an observation and modelling system that will provide water balance estimates across Australia.

Long-term on-ground records and 30 years of satellite observations are combined with models that integrate and analyse the data within a powerful supercomputer system that provides comprehensive, detailed and reliable information about the nation's water resources.

"If this technology had been available to us in the mid-1990s, the onset of dry conditions could have been detected earlier," Dr van Dijk said.

"The results of the study underscore the importance of good water information for water resource planning."

The data also reveals that the impact of the drought on Australia's current water resources is broadly consistent with both the historical trend and climate change predictions.

"Parts of Australia have had record low rainfall the last several years, but our records aren't very long and the drought may still be within natural limits."

"What makes the situation appear so much worse is that the sixties and seventies were quite wet. That's also when we started capturing river flows in large reservoirs for our growing cities and irrigated agriculture. In retrospect it appears we have become over-reliant on what is now looking like 'bonus' rainfall during that time."

The observation system that is developed will assist the Bureau in conducting regular water resource assessments and produce national water accounts.

After running a series of complex supercomputer simulations, researchers have found that flaws in the structure of magnetic nanoscale wires play an important role in determining the operating speed of novel devices using such nanowires to store and process information. The finding*, made by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of Maryland, and the University of Paris XI, will help to deepen the physical understanding and guide the interpretation of future experiments of these next-generation devices.

Magnetic nanowires store information in discrete bands of magnetic spins. One can imagine the nanowire like a straw sucking up and holding the liquid of a meticulously layered chocolate and vanilla milkshake, with the chocolate segments representing 1s and the vanilla 0s. The boundaries between these layers are called domain walls. Researchers manipulate the information stored on the nanowire using an electrical current to push the domain walls, and the information they enclose, through the wire and past immobile read and write heads.

Interpretations of experiments seeking to measure how domain walls move have largely ignored the effects of "disorder"—usually the result of defects or impurities in the structure of the nanowires. To see how disorder affects the motion of these microscopic magnetic domains, NIST researchers and their colleagues introduced disorder into their computer simulations.

Their simulations showed that disorder, which causes friction within the nanowires, can increase the rate at which a current can move domain walls.

According to NIST physicist Mark Stiles, friction can cause the domain walls to move faster because they need to lose energy in order to move down the wire.

For example, when a gyroscope spins, it resists the force of gravity. If a little friction is introduced into the gyroscope's bearing, the gyroscope will fall over more quickly. Similarly, in the absence of damping, a domain wall will only move from one side of the nanowire to the other. Disorder within the nanowire enables the domain walls to lose energy, which gives them the freedom to "fall" down the length of the wire as they move back and forth.

"We can say that the domain wall is moving as if it were in a system that has considerably greater effective damping than the actual damping," says NIST physicist and lead researcher Hongki Min. "This increase in the effective damping is significant enough that it should affect the interpretation of most future domain wall experiments."

President Obama today named Warren Washington, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), as one of 10 eminent researchers to be awarded the National Medal of Science. The recipients of the science medal and of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation will receive their awards-the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers, and inventors-at a White House ceremony later this year.

"The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity," President Obama said. "Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity, and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions."

"We are delighted that Warren's many years of dedicated research in climate science are being recognized with this extraordinary honor," said Roger Wakimoto, NCAR director. "His scientific leadership, innate diplomacy, as well as the mentorship to future generations of scientists have deeply and profoundly impacted our field."

Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR, added: "It is a well-deserved honor for Warren as well as the atmospheric sciences, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the UCAR and NCAR community.  Warren is a wonderful scientist who has been at the forefront of climate modeling for 40 years.  Even more importantly, he is a kind and generous person."

Washington is an internationally recognized expert on atmospheric science and climate research and a pioneer in using computer models, which employ fundamental laws of physics to predict future states of the atmosphere, to study Earth's climate. He has served as a science advisor to former presidents Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush, published almost 200 papers in professional journals, and garnered dozens of national and international awards. He also served on the National Science Board for 12 years and was its chair for 2002 to 2006.

Washington became one of the first developers of groundbreaking atmospheric computer models in collaboration with his colleague, Akira Kasahara, when he came to NCAR in the early 1960s. With support from NSF and the Department of Energy, Washington subsequently worked to incorporate the oceans and sea ice into climate models. Such models were used extensively in the 2007 assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which Washington and a number of scientists at NCAR and around the world shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

"I am very pleased to receive this honor, which recognizes not only my work but that of my many colleagues whom I've had the pleasure of working with for more than 45 years," Washington said. "Akira Kasahara and Jerry Meehl, at NCAR, contributed significantly to the development of computer climate models, and support from NSF and the Department of Energy enabled us to make research advancements that I hope will contribute to mankind's ability to sustain this planet." 

As the second African-American to earn a doctorate in the atmospheric sciences, Washington has served as a role model for generations of young researchers from many backgrounds, mentoring numerous undergraduate and graduate students. In 1999, Washington won the Dr. Charles Anderson Award from the American Meteorological Society "for pioneering efforts as a mentor and passionate support of individuals, educational programs, and outreach initiatives designed to foster a diverse population of atmospheric scientists."

Washington was born and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He became interested in science in grade school, going on to earn a bachelor's degree in physics and master's degree in meteorology from Oregon State University, and then a doctorate in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. In 1963, he joined NCAR as a research scientist.

-----National Medal of Science-----

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Nominees are selected by a committee of presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in, and contributions to, the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences, as well as chemistry, engineering, computing, and mathematics.

This year's recipients are:

Yakir Aharonov, Chapman University, CA

Stephen J. Benkovic, Pennsylvania State University, PA

Esther M. Conwell, University of Rochester, NY

Marye Anne Fox, University of California, San Diego, CA

Susan L. Lindquist, Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, MA

Mortimer Mishkin, National Institutes of Health, MD

David B. Mumford, Brown University, RI

Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California, San Francisco, CA

Warren M. Washington, National Center for Atmospheric
Research, CO

Amnon Yariv, California Institute of Technology, CA

Voltaire Switches Accelerate Top 4 Supercomputers on Green500 List Demonstrating Performance and Efficiency Leadership

 

Voltaire Ltd’s switches are connecting the world’s most energy efficient supercomputers, according to the findings of the latest Green500 list announced by Green500.org. Voltaire switches serve as the high-performance interconnect for the top 4 and 26 of the top 100 most energy efficient supercomputers on the list.

“Voltaire is known for delivering performance as evidenced by our InfiniBand leadership position on the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, said Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing, Voltaire. “This new Green500 list showcases Voltaire’s strength in delivering energy efficient fabrics for high performance systems. Voltaire’s unique combination of performance and efficiency is important for commercial data centers that need to reduce costs and energy usage without compromising on performance.”

Voltaire Grid Director InfiniBand switches deliver 20 or 40 Gb/s bandwidths and low latency with less than 5 watts per port power consumption.

“Insufficient power and cooling continue to dominate as the greatest data center facility problems,” said John Phelps, Research VP, Gartner. “In a recent poll of infrastructure and operations managers, combined power and cooling deficiencies were identified as the greatest data center facility problem for 67% of users.”

The Green500 (www.green500.org) is a list ranking the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world and serves as a complementary view to the Top500 (www.top500.org) list of the most powerful supercomputers.

More information about Voltaire’s Grid Director InfiniBand switches is available at http://www.voltaire.com/Products/InfiniBand/Grid_Director_Switches and a free whitepaper, “Reducing Data Center Energy Costs Up to 50% by Consolidating and Virtualizing Your Network” is available at http://www.voltaire.com/unifiedfabric.