back to article The optic NERVE of it: Intel declares WAR on InfiniBand

It's no surprise when Intel announces a new processor architecture – that's its main game, after all. However, along with the Knight's Bridge chips released at SC'14, the company seems to have declared war on the HPC mainstream, announcing an optical comms architecture designed to compete with InfiniBand. The Omni-Path …

  1. Denarius Silver badge

    so where is the cheap optical NIC

    Intel announced it was working on 3 years ago ? Not that those of us out of CBDs would ever need one. Big Swamps wet string suffices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so where is the cheap optical NIC

      That would be Thunderbolt Optical.....but the cable prices may make your eyes water.

  2. P. Lee

    Can we now have a proper external graphics card?

    I take it this puts the final nail in the idea of optical thunderbolt.

    1. ToddR

      Re: Can we now have a proper external graphics card?

      Isn't Thunderbolt an I/O interface?

      The Intel announcement is an interconnect for inter-processor distributed memory applications, like CFD.

  3. phil dude

    end to end latency..?

    we need <100ns for this to be very useful...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: end to end latency..?

      100ns app to app? Out of the stack into the adapter, out of that into a cable, through a switch through another cable, through another adapter and stack in 100ns?

      Methinks you'll be lucky.

  4. XNOR

    Omni Path is Infiniband

    A couple of days before the announcement an Intel developer posted some patches to the linux-rdma mailing list in support of the Intel Omni Path Architecture (apparently referred to as OPA within Intel). The patches update some of the handling of MAD (MAnagement Datagrams) used for fabric management and adds, for example, a new type of bigger "jumbo" management datagrams.

    If OPA uses the same basic message types (and acronyms) as IB, it is quite clear that OPA is based on the Infiniband protocol. Different physical interconnect. Some changes and extensions to higher level components like subnet management. But basically still IB underneath.

    1. Magellan

      Re: Omni Path is Infiniband

      Interesting. RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) is also "InfiniBand" over a different physical interconnect.

      1. XNOR

        Re: Omni Path is Infiniband

        In a decade and a half Infiniband has not made much headway out of the HPC camp and into the data center where Ethernet is king. RoCE is one attempt to bring the gospel of RDMA to these lands but Intel is backing another (iWARP).

        OPA is currently targeted at HPC clients as a "better Infiniband". It may or may not be a part of some grand plan for a converged network.

        1. ToddR

          Re: Omni Path is Infiniband

          I thought iWARP was long dead in the water?

  5. Scientist & Saint

    The thing is that Infiniband EDR is here now, and Omni-Path is not. Nor will be for a while yet.

    By the time it is a reality, IB HDR will be here.

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