The World's Most Powerful Network Runs on CABLExpress Fiber Optics

The World's Most Powerful Network Runs on CABLExpress Fiber Optics

By: Kent Goldsmith | Engineering Manager

 

The SC16 conference in Salt Lake City is well-known in the computing industry for hosting the fastest performing network in the world – SCinet. Thousands of attendees and exhibitors gather to this must-attend event to rely on that network alone to showcase their latest research in high bandwidth-driven computing and networking systems.

The best part? SCinet is run over CABLExpress fiber optic cable assemblies. The worst? When fiber cable assemblies stop working properly, it can lead to downtime.

I had the honor of serving on the team that helped get SCinet running. I'd like to share the story of how it all came together with you.

The moment of truth

Our team of assemblers collectively held our breaths as the equipment was fired up. Would it work?  Would we be successful in lighting up the world’s most powerful network?

The seconds seemed like hours as we awaited the moment of truth...

We have a go! High fives all around!

After months of planning, test runs and generous donations from cutting-edge industry vendors around the world, we were all put to the test. All of that hard work finally paid off. As you could probably guess, many of us hardly knew each other but couldn’t help but feel connected in our sense of accomplishment – a great moment in networking history. 

Networking and computers are the new frontiers. Times have changed, no longer are brawny Vikings the ones discovering new lands. The discoverer now has a pocket protector with taped glasses and is reaching further than mankind has ever gone before.

What’s the big deal?

I am personally very proud of this moment. So what am I making a such a big deal about? Let me tell you…

SCinet is a very high-performance network that is only built once a year, supporting the annual International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis )aka the Supercomputing Conference). This is an international effort involving over 200 volunteers; without their services and equipment this event would not be possible.

SCinet offers a mind-blowing bandwidth within the conference as well as the broader internet. To put it into perspective, more than 5 Tbps are provided internally to the conference. Yes, you read that correctly – 5Tbps.

This network runs a plethora of data streams, allowing the attendees and exhibitors to comfortably rely on the bandwidth to run a number of 100G Ethernet demonstrations, high-performance networking, and bleeding-edge technologies, protocols, hardware and software.

All in a day’s work

In a day and age where everything claims to be over-the-top creativity, out-of-the-box innovation and pushing the envelope, this feat stands out as truly noteworthy! It’s amazing how such a small group of people can collaboratively work together to set up a such a complex and advanced network in just a few days.

Sure, there was lots of pre-planning, but a significant key to this success was brought about by the on-site personnel. IT-minded people share a strong bond – one that can’t be denied. We all cut our teeth in such grinding, nail-biting situations like overnight transitions. The success of this massive implementation relied on that grit, much like the bond that military personnel share from boot camp. 

I will look back and have great memories of this event. I am so proud of it and happy to have been chosen to help. I'd like to congratulate all of my peers who helped achieve this momentous milestone!


Ready to move to emerging speeds? Download our white paper, Meeting 40/100G Ethernet and 32GFC, 128GFCp Light Budgets with a Structured Cabling Design.