There’s a lot of interest in the idea of having composable infrastructure that enables compute, storage and networking elements of a data center to be dynamically invoked as necessary. But thus far, most of the progress when it comes to composable infrastructure has been limited to compute, storage and networking technologies that all come from the same vendor.
At the Supercomputing 2017 conference this week, Liqid Computing announced the general availability of a switch that makes use of PCIe to make it possible to deploy a composable architecture made up of disparate compute, storage and networking components.
Sumit Puri, vice president of marketing for Liqid Computing, says the Liqid Grid fabric switch essentially turns all elements of a data center into pods that can be managed using Liqid Command Center software that can be accessed via a graphical user interface or a REST-based application programming interface (API). That approach provides IT organizations with more flexibility because additional capacity can also now be brought on by demand, says Puri.
“All the elements of the data center share are connected over the same PCIe fabric,” says Puri.
At the conference, Liqid Computing, in collaboration with Orange Silicon Valley, the innovation arm of Orange, built a prototype of a supercomputer using graphical processor units (GPUs) interconnected using the Liqid switch. The Liqid switch makes use of NVMe technology from Kingston Technology to eliminate any latency issues, adds Puri. Liqid and Kingston have cross-licensed each other’s technologies.
Providers of IT infrastructure have been making a case for pre-integrated systems that provide access to composable infrastructure that requires an IT organization to standardize on their IT infrastructure. There are always benefits to reducing the number of vendors in any IT environment. But IT organizations are also wary of getting locked into specific platforms. As PCIe and NVMe technologies continue to evolve, it may not be too much longer before most of the benefit of a composable infrastructure becomes readily accessible without requiring IT organizations to commit to one converged or hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) environment.