CERN collaborates with Voltaire on grid technology project

May 19, 2004

Geneva, Switzerland and Bedford, Massachusetts, US, 17 May 2004. The European Particle Physics Laboratory CERN and Voltaire, a leading provider of InfiniBand solutions for high performance Grid computing, announced today that Voltaire is contributing to the CERN openlab for DataGrid applications. CERN openlab is an industrial partnership which aims to create and test new Grid computing technologies for storing and analyzing the huge quantities of data that will be produced by the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest scientific instrument on the planet, which will start operations in 2007. Voltaire specializes in providing InfiniBand solutions, which enable high performance Grid computing applications to run on commodity servers and storage.

The CERN openlab is a collaboration between CERN researchers and the five partner companies Enterasys Networks, HP, IBM, Intel, and Oracle. Together, these partners are building the CERN opencluster, a state-of-the-art cluster for testing prototype Grid applications of increasing power and functionality. The open, collaborative environment of the partnership places an emphasis on a common development programme for data-intensive Grid computing based on open standards.

Voltaire is the first company to join the CERN openlab collaboration as a contributor, a status created to allow smaller high-tech companies with promising solutions to take part in this collaboration for a one-year period, along with the principal partners, who are sponsoring the collaboration over three years.

CERN and its academic partners around the globe are pioneering a worldwide Grid called the LHC Computing Grid (LCG) which is expected to be the largest data-intensive application of the decade. The LCG will represent the key link between the LHC detectors and nearly ten thousand scientists and tens of thousands of computers around the world. This computing Grid will be used to analyse data from the LHC, sifting through petabytes of particle collision data, (a petabyte is a million gigabytes) looking for clues to the origins of the Universe. The LCG will rely on clusters of computers at CERN and at hundreds of partner universities and institutes. The InfiniBand technology from Voltaire was chosen for CERN openlab because it provides the CERN opencluster interconnects with four essential features: low latency, very high bandwidth, low CPU overhead and powerful connectivity to storage.

"The high bandwidth, low CPU overhead and scalability of Voltaire's InfiniBand solutions are particularly interesting to the computer clusters used for high performance analysis in the LCG," said Sverre Jarp, Chief Technical Officer of CERN openlab, "With InfiniBand, data can be streamed into our CERN opencluster very quickly with minimal loss of CPU cycles, so we can retain as many cycles as possible for the data analysis itself."

"Voltaire brings a new dimension to the CERN openlab partnership," says Wolfgang von Rüden, Head of CERN openlab and of CERN's IT Department. "We need to be able to work with leading IT companies, big and small, in order to evaluate the most promising technologies for the LCG. Voltaire's contribution to CERN openlab shows that this can be done, and provides a win-win scenario for CERN, our established industrial partners and Voltaire."

"It is a privilege to work in the CERN openlab with our partners and industry leaders such as IBM, HP and Oracle", added Ronnie Kenneth, chairman and chief executive officer, Voltaire. "Together with CERN and these companies, we aim to build, test and verify cutting-edge solutions for the future of cluster-based Grid computing."

About CERN
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's largest particle physics research centre near Geneva, Switzerland. Technological development at CERN has given the world advances varying from contributions to medical imaging to the World Wide Web. Founded in 1954, the laboratory was one of Europe's first joint ventures and has become a shining example of international collaboration. From the original 12 signatories of the CERN convention, membership has grown to the present 20 member states.

About Voltaire, Inc.
Voltaire is a leading provider of high performance InfiniBand solutions for enterprise data centers and HPC environments. Voltaire's InfiniBand solutions deliver significant return on investment to the data center by improving the performance and utilization of clustered databases, shared servers and storage. For HPC customers, Voltaire leads the industry with the largest InfiniBand Trade Association-certified switch to support clusters scaling from hundreds to thousands of nodes. With business headquarters near Boston, Massachusetts, Voltaire is certified by the IBTA's Integrator's List. More information about Voltaire is available at or by calling 1-800-865-8247.
Further Information:
CERN: François Grey
IT Communications Team
CERN IT Department

Christy Lynch
PR Manager


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