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Shared Memory: Standards Scale Up with SGI Altix UV*

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Shared Memory: Standards Scale Up with SGI Altix UV*

Executive Summary

Shared-memory systems gave way to clusters in high performance computing (HPC) because of the perceived price/performance benefits of industry-standard processors and operating environments, leaving behind proprietary architectures that scaled well but which were based on more expensive RISC processors (or later, Itanium® processors) and customized UNIX implementations. This cost savings came at a cost: the loss of shared-memory programming capabilities and performance benefits in the wholesale movement to MPI on distributed-memory clusters. SGI, a long-time architecture differentiator, has held true to that path through significant upheavals in the company’s fortune, and now the vision is coming full circle with Altix UV, a scalable shared-memory model based on Intel® Xeon® processors and Linux. Some of the features of Altix UV are:

• There is scalability to 2,048 cores and 16TB of globally shared memory, the architectural limit of Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family.

• NUMAlink 5 interconnect and hub, Intel® QuickPath Interconnect (Intel® QPI), and MPI Offload Engine provide an environment for scaling MPI codes in a shared-memory environment.

• There is support for numerous topologies and programming models, allowing end users to suit the computer to the application.

Under new management, SGI has focused its roadmaps and remains committed to HPC, and the company is seeing an increase in its adoption rates. Ultimately SGI’s fortunes with Altix UV will be tied to how far people are willing to push their codes and their imaginations.

Read the full Shared Memory White Paper."