Low-latency computing platform speeds Big Data analytics

14th October 2015
Nat Bowers

IDT has launched a heterogeneous mobile edge computing platform that performs real-time Big Data analytics and deep learning with low-latency computing at the network edge. Developed at IDT’s Open High-Performance Analytics and Computing (HPAC) lab, the platform utilises modules currently in production and is based on innovations and collaboration with NVIDIA, Prodrive Technologies and Concurrent Technologies.

Sailesh Chittipeddi, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Global Operations, IDT, commented: “Network operators are looking for ways to add analytics capabilities on large amounts of unstructured data close to users, by pushing more compute capacity to the network edge, rather than sending data on the backhaul to the core of the network data centres. IDT’s Mobile Edge Computing Platform offers network and data centre operators, as well as systems integrators, a quick path to computing at the edge by connecting accelerators based on a heterogeneous architecture with IDT’s low-latency RapidIO products. This is becoming more important with high-bandwidth streaming video and associated analytics that need to happen close to the last mile where users are located."

The new platform is based on a 1U form factor server and features heterogeneous computing with NVIDIA Tegra K1 processors and x86 CPUs. The computing elements are connected using RapidIO fabric technology with about 100ns switching latency and 20Gb/s ports, with upcoming versions using RapidIO 10xN technology accelerated to 50Gb/s. The platform can be populated with appropriate mixes of processor types and accelerator capacity to optimise workloads for deep learning and analytics at the edge of the wireless network. Co-located with base stations, it is possible to support in ATCA form factors if required. The modular building blocks can be deployed by carriers for server functionality at the wireless base station, Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) or in the central office. And with distributed data centre functions becoming increasingly important for streaming video applications, the platform can also be deployed at the network point of presence.

Five 1U systems can be meshed together in a network that can support up to 60TFLOPS of computing capacity using the energy-efficient NVIDIA Tegra processors. In a central office, up to 40 1U systems can be connected in an industry-standard data centre rack to deliver up to half a petaflop of compute performance.

Pieter Janssen, CEO, Prodrive Technologies, added: "Prodrive Technologies has developed an extensive suite of RapidIO-based server and supercomputing solutions for a variety of markets. Our latest collaboration with IDT on heterogeneous computing is in the initial Mobile Edge Computing Platform, which builds on our RapidIO top-of-rack switching solutions already developed for both C-RAN and high-performance computing markets."

The initial Mobile Edge Computing Platform is focused on GPU and x86 technologies. Other versions in development are based on ARM, DSP, FPGA and PowerPC options.

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