ESnet Powers NRL’s 100 Gbps Remote I/O Demo at SC14

November 20, 2014

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), in collaboration with the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, the Center for Data Intensive Science (CDIS) at the University of Chicago, the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) and significant industry support, this week conducted a 100 gigabits per second (100 Gbps) remote I/O demonstration at the SC14 supercomputing conference in New Orleans.

The remote I/O demonstration illustrates a pipelined distributed processing framework and software defined networking (SDN) between distant operating locations. The demonstration shows the capability to dynamically deploy a production quality 4K Ultra-High Definition Television (UHDTV) video workflow across a nationally distributed set of storage and computing resources that is relevant to emerging Department of Defense data processing challenges.

The display is cycling through various 4Gbps streams where each stream has remote processing applied. In this case, the normal color bar sequence has "Shagadelic" filtering applied by processing at the first location and "edge detection" applied a second location along the path. Image: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The remote I/O strategy allows data processing to start as soon as data begins to arrive at the compute location rather than waiting for bulk transfers to complete. This is achieved at near 100% efficiency over global distances and with low CPU loading using RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) and Open Fabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED). The storage nodes generate multiple uncompressed, full quality 4K UHDTV video streams that fill a 100G link.

A single solid-state storage device at the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center offers remote access to that data over the ESnet's 100G testbed via a connection to Chicago, IL, that brings in iCAIR's StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility, then through New York City.

Video processing is accomplished in Oakland, Chicago, Washington, DC and New Orleans and shows the ability to process against remote data "on the fly" without first doing bulk data transfers. This demonstration showcases the remote process and management of ultra-capacity streams processing and networking over 100 Gbps WANs.

Future capabilities of the "Pipelines" processing framework application will automatically switch video sources and redistribute the processing. The Pipelines manager will dynamically redirect the data flow to line up with the processing options by using prearranged VLANs or by requesting the SDN controller to reconfigure the network such as the Software Defined Exchange capabilities at StarLight in Chicago.

Key participants in this demonstration also include Orange Silicon Valley, CenturyLink Government, EchoStreams Innovative Solutions, and EAI Design. Other significant capabilities were provided by Mellanox Technologies, Brocade, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Mid-Atlantic Crossroads.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.