Fulcrum Microsystems has announced the FocalPoint FM6000 series of fully integrated wire-speed 10G and 40G Ethernet switch chips, which incorporate the company's new and innovative Alta high-speed Ethernet switching architecture.

One key new feature of the FM6000 series switches is Fulcrum's FlexPipe low-latency packet-processing pipeline, which can parse, modify and apply multiple rules to traffic at more than 1 Billion packets per second in a completely deterministic manner. FlexPipe also can be upgraded in the field to support future datacenter networking protocols as they emerge.

The FM6000 series devices are based on Fulcrum's Alta switch architecture that, in addition to FlexPipe, features flexible 10G and 40G Ethernet port logic and third-generation RapidArray output-queued shared-memory architecture. Alta-based FocalPoint devices achieve unprecedented performance while maintaining low cut-through packet latencies of less than 300nS, regardless of configuration or features enabled. Fulcrum's pioneering efforts in developing low-latency Ethernet switch technology has made FocalPoint the preferred datacenter fabric building-block for applications such as financial trading and computer clustering in today's virtualized and high-scale datacenters.

Virtualization is increasing the density of server farms and enabling datacenter operators to efficiently deploy cloud services. In addition, new server architectures include multi-core processors, increasing network bandwidth requirements. The FlexPipe packet-processing pipeline in the FM6000 series devices delivers full line-rate performance across up to 72 ports, offering non-blocking throughput for thousands of virtualized flows.

"Our Dell'Oro forecasting models show that 10GE server ports will grow dramatically in coming years, which will drive demand for high density 10Gb switches and also the demand for 40Gb Ethernet uplinks," said Alan Weckel, director of Ethernet research for Dell'Oro Group. "Given this expected demand, the launch of this switch from Fulcrum is very timely."

FlexPipe allows the functionality of several key logic blocks, such as the packet parser and egress frame modification unit, to be upgraded to support new datacenter networking standards or proprietary performance-enhancing application tags. With this functionality, switch manufacturers can sell switching systems that are field upgradable with support for emerging datacenter interconnect topologies such as TRILL and SPB, as well as emerging virtualized networking standards such as 802.1bg (Edge Virtual Bridging) and 802.1bh (Port Extenders).

There are nine devices in the FM6000 series, each offering a different port configuration and total bandwidth, ranging from 160Gbps to 720Gbps. FM6000 series switches can be used to build very high port-count top-of-rack or end-of-row datacenter switches with industry-leading latency, performance, and scale. With the ability to drive SFP+ direct-attach copper cable directly without the need for an external PHY, the FM6000 series reduces the latency, cost and power of these top-of-rack switch designs. To enable network convergence, the FM6000 supports the efficient mix of storage, HPC and LAN data traffic with extensive QoS and datacenter bridging (DCB) features such as PFC, ETS, and QCN, simultaneously supporting lossless operation alongside bandwidth and latency guarantees. Additionally, system-wide management features offer line rate per-flow monitoring and policing for clear visibility and a single point of management, reducing overall system complexity.

"Fulcrum is changing the game again by delivering standards-based switching solutions that provide advanced features and shatter all established benchmarks for high bandwidth, low latency and power efficiency," said Mike Zeile, Fulcrum Microsystems president and COO. "The FM6000 series, with our revolutionary Alta architecture, is helping define the future of virtual computing by delivering the performance needed for next-generation datacenter fabrics."

Configuration and Availability

All nine members of the FocalPoint FM6000 series will be generally available in 2Q 2011.

Providing Expertise and Equipment Demonstrate Force10’s Commitment to Better Understand Technology Issues Concerning Computer Security

 

Force10 Networks has announced that it recently provided the networking infrastructure, including an E-Series core switch/router, C-Series resilient switch/router and an S-Series switch as well as engineering expertise, to the recent 26th Chaos Communication Congress (26C3) in Berlin, Germany. The annual four-day conference, organized by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), offered lectures, workshops, project presentations and other activities to more than 3,000 attendees and some 9,000 remote participants.

“Since 1984, the Chaos Communication Congress has served as the pre-eminent destination for hackers in Europe to exchange ideas and work on projects that help them better understand issues related to computer technologies, security, society and networking,” said Elisa Jasinska, CCC. “We are glad Force10 provided us with high performance network equipment and valuable technical support so we were able to keep the activities operating smoothly throughout the conference.”

In addition to the lectures and workshops, the 26C3 conference featured a hack center, which is considered a huge laboratory for technological research in a wide range of fields, including operating and testing network hardware and software. Drawing from a long-term successful cooperation between the CCC and Force10, the CCC selected the Force10 E600 as a single core switch and the C300 and S50 solutions in the distribution layer and implemented them to anchor the network infrastructure for the conference and the hack center activities.

“As a technology-driven organization, Force10 strongly supports the primary mission of the 26C3 conference, which is to cultivate and share knowledge with concern to computer and network technologies and security,” said Marc Bruyere, Senior Customer Support Engineer, Force10 Networks. “Because we take this effort very seriously, we were excited to provide resources in equipment and expertise to best support the CCC and the work being done during the conference.”

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.

Molecular worm algorithm navigates inside chemical labyrinth

With the passage of a molecule through the labyrinth of a chemical system being so critical to catalysis and other important chemical processes, supercomputer simulations are frequently used to model potential molecule/labyrinth interactions. In the past, such simulations have been expensive and time-consuming to carry out, but now researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new algorithm that should make future simulations easier and faster to supercompute, and yield much more accurate results.

"Currently the major limiting factor in running molecular simulations for a large number of structures before they can be screened for useful materials is the need to visually analyze the structures to set up successful simulations," says Maciej Haranczyk, a computational chemist and a 2008 Glenn T. Seaborg Fellow in Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division. "With our approach, such structural analysis can be done automatically, which speeds up the whole process of material screening."James Sethian (seated) and Maciej Haranczyk, of the Mathematics Group in Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division, have developed a molecular worm algorithm that makes it easier and faster to simulate the passage of a molecule through the labyrinth of a chemical system.  Credit: Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs

Haranczyk is co-author of a paper that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled: "Navigating molecular worms inside chemical labyrinths." The other author of this paper is James Sethian, who heads the Mathematics Group of Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division, and is also a professor in the Mathematics Department of the University of California, Berkeley.

A key to the success of this new algorithm was its departure from the traditional treatment of molecules as hard spheres with fixed radii. Instead, Haranczyk and Sethian constructed "molecular worms" from blocks connected by flexible links. These molecular worms provide a more realistic depiction of a molecule's geometry, thereby providing a more accurate picture of how that molecule will navigate through a given chemical labyrinth, as Sethian explains.

"In practice, most molecules of interest, even the simplest solvents or gases, rarely have a spherical shape, and treating molecules as such may lead to errors," he says. "Our molecular worms are able to change shape during the traversing of a chemical labyrinth, which allows them to reach areas not accessible to either a single large spherical probe or a rigid real-shape probe. This significantly extends the range of probes and structures that can be efficiently examined."

As a molecule navigates through a chemical system, its access to a particular site or place within that system determines the extent to which catalysis and other chemical reactions may occur. Many of these critical sites are either buried in clefts, pockets or hidden cavities, or else represent channel systems. The accessible volume of a chemical system – the free volume available to a penetrating molecule - is also critical to the system's physical properties, including diffusion, viscosity and electrical conductivity. Predicting whether a molecule will be able to traverse through a given chemical labyrinth is the first question that a simulation must answer, followed by identifying the shortest transverse route, finding the largest probe that can transverse though the system, and calculating accessible volume.

This figure shows a molecular worm representing a butane molecule as it navigates through the chemical labyrinth of a typical alkane-cracking zeolite. The alogorithm was used to compute the shortest...

"The required calculations become quite expensive as one needs to include interactions of all the atoms of the penetrating molecule with all the atoms in the labyrinth, and this procedure has to be repeated at every step of the simulation," Haranczyk says. "Additionally, in molecular dynamics only one trajectory per molecule is investigated. Since a penetrating molecule can be bouncing off the walls of a system before it finds a way out, mapping accessible volume in a chemical labyrinth may require the running of a very long simulation to actually see the molecule moving through."

Haranczyk, looking to automate the process by which the void spaces of porous materials are analyzed, had an idea for a probe that would walk through the inside a material and map it. Sethian had been working on mathematic techniques that can be used in robotic navigations and path planning, as well as a host of algorithms for computing geometries in complex settings.

"What's exciting here is to bring together two disparate worlds to build a new technology" says Sethian. The two scientists pooled their expertise to develop the molecular worm algorithm, which they first tested on a zeolite material. Zeolites are microporous minerals that have been widely used since the late 1950s as chemical catalysts, membranes for separations, and water softeners. They are especially useful as alkane-cracking catalysts in oil refinement.

"There are 190 zeolite structures known to exist today, but they constitute only a very small fraction of the 2.5 million structures that are feasible on theoretical grounds," Haranczyk says. "The development of a database of hypothetical zeolite structures has long been regarded as an important step toward designer catalysts as it could, in principle, be screened for zeolites of any property. However, brute-force screening of all possible zeolite structures through molecular dynamics characterization is computationally infeasible, hence the need for rapid triaging based on an initial analysis of various properties."

The successful testing of the molecular worm algorithm on a typical alkane-cracking zeolite opens an immediate door to its use in screening for new zeolites as well as a wide variety of other porous materials. The algorithm should also prove valuable in the search for materials that can capture carbon emissions before they enter the atmosphere. With further refinements, it could also one day be applied to proteins, especially enzymes.

"Being at the frontier of science and solving a very complex problem that has not been addressed before is always very exciting," Haranczyk says.

 

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.

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