Speaking at the HotInterconnects 2015 conference, Intel revealed details about its Omni-Path Architecture (OPA), a next-generation fabric technology designed for high performance computing (HPC). Aimed at the data-center market, this interconnect technology promises lower latency, increased note bandwidth and lower power consumption. You can learn more about the technology at The Tech Report.
Omni-Path is interesting in part because of the intense difficulty of the problem it has to address: allowing the hundreds or thousands of nodes in a supercomputer to communicate with one another at high speed while keeping delays at a minimum. Intel says Omni-Path is meant to scale from "small clusters to the largest supercomputers." To make that happen, the chipmaker has taken on the task of designing nearly every piece of the puzzle needed to establish a new interconnect fabric, from the host adapters to switches, software, and tools. Some of the core technology comes from Intel's acquisition of InfiniBand IP from Cray, and other bits come from its acquisition of a company called True Scale. Much of the software comes from the existing Open Fabric Alliance. At the end of the day, though, Omni-Path looks to be Intel's own product and very much a rival for other standards—and for products from firms like Mellanox.