The demo in action

At the 10th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop SARA1 demonstrated streaming of a high-resolution visualization over a 40 Gbit/s link between Amsterdam and Geneva. For this demo, SARA built a server with off-the-shelf components that is capable of transmitting well over 30 Gbit/s from disk to the network. Previously, clusters and grid setups were needed to reach these application speeds. This creates new possibilities for demanding applications. A systematic approach was used to tune the end-to-end performance, with studies on file systems, I/O system design, processor and interrupt affinity, link bonding and 40 Gbit/s interworking. The result is a remote visualization demonstration that shows how applications can benefit from an integrated approach towards end-to-end performance optimization.

A pre-rendered interactive visualization was streamed from 32 solid state disks on a single server in Amsterdam to a 61 Megapixel Tiled Panel Display in Geneva. By streamlining the application around system design of the I/O busses of the sending server, a disk-to-network throughput of over 34 Gbit/s (back-to-back) was achieved.

The visual content being streamed shows data from CosmoGrid, an astrophysical N-body simulation using 8,589,934,592 interacting particles. The simulation was performed on multiple supercomputers, including SARA’s Huygens. Displaying on a tiled panel display allows researchers to see very small details, as well as a bird’s eye view using a single display setup.

This project was done in collaboration with CERN, Ciena, Extreme Networks, Leiden University, University of Amsterdam. The work was sponsored by SURFnet / GigaPort 3,, European Fund for Regional Development, Pieken in de Delta, Province of North-Holland, Municipality of Amsterdam.

More information:

  1. Note that SURFsara was still called SARA at the time of demo, as it was not yet part of SURF.