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Fiber - coming to a supercomputer near you

By Donna Donnawitz
March 13, 2013

Something unusual is going in businesses - data is becoming the most important corporate asset. The products companies make, they are just a method for transactions. The real value is data. This is clear in the rise of big data as a key trend in just about every business sector, including government and healthcare, two of the most historically conservative industries from a technological perspective. But what is a business supposed to do to keep up with big data? Increasingly, the answer seems to be taking advantage of supercomputing.

Many experts agree that supercomputers provide an important solution for data analysis and simulations that cannot be achieved through traditional data center environments. There's just one problem - supercomputers are really complex and expensive.

Despite this issue, a growing number of organizations from academia to the natural resources sector are considering supercomputing as an important research and big data asset. This creates an environment in which advanced networking solutions, particularly fiber-optic cabling solutions, are becoming more important.

Considering the rise of supercomputing
Many experts agree that supercomputing is gaining prevalence in a wider range of sectors. While scientists and some government organizations have been using the technology for a long time, many traditional businesses are identifying supercomputers as an important resource to support big data operations. The rising importance of supercomputers is being met by much more accessible solutions, such as systems using GPUs to replace CPUs for primary processing functionality.

As supercomputer use increases in a wide range of sectors, many organizations are finding themselves in a position where strategic network upgrades are important. Fiber-optic cabling, in particular, is integral to maximizing the value of supercomputing systems.

Considering fiber to support supercomputer use
Supercomputers depend heavily on interconnected architectures that have to share data between one another. This creates an environment in which extremely rapid data transit between processing units has to be prioritized. In theory, copper cabling is able to keep up with this requirement, at least within a single supercomputing unit. However, many high-performance computers stretch over multiple racks and cabinets that also need to be connected. In such a setup, copper can prove extremely limiting.

Fiber-optic cabling can be the solution to network performance issues in some supercomputer setups. While an all-fiber setup is sometimes possible, organizations trying to access supercomputing resources on a budget can benefit substantially by using media converters to enable interoperability between fiber and copper cabling systems.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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