ASU and Obsidian Collaboration Seeks to Boost Long-distance Bandwidth

Arizona State University (ASU) and Obsidian Strategics have announced a partnership to explore faster, more efficient data server/transfer technologies for use at ASU's Fulton High Performance Computing Initiative (HPCI) facilities, on the ASU campus in downtown Tempe.

The Longbow technology from Obsidian has been in use at ASU since 2006. It allows an InfiniBand network, normally a short-range network used within supercomputers, to be extended via optical fiber over varying distances. ASU uses the technology to link supercomputing, storage, and visualization resources around the campus. The network provides access to research computing resources, enabling users to perform what-if queries in real-time, for example.

ASU and Obsidian will join with others to advance the capabilities of the optical network linking the higher education facilities in Arizona as well as to adjacent states. This enhanced network will act as a test bed from which to further explore and optimize high-bandwidth, low-latency switching, routing, and encryption technologies and applications. It will also perform as a real-world production environment capable of large-scale remote transfer of and access to research and scientific data sets along with geographically separated data replication. This replication function will provide a form of disaster tolerance for very large data sets.

ASU and others could use the network infrastructure in a variety of existing and new endeavors in the area of biomedical research, distributed access to large-scale computation, and distributed large-scale storage.

"This partnership with Obsidian Strategics could provide ASU with bandwidth capacity that would rival any other state's current initiative and provide Arizona with a distinct advantage in speed and capabilities," said Dan Stanzione, director of the HPCI. "ASU is very excited to be a part of this initiative that could well draw international attention to, and investment in, the growing Arizona bioscience and technology corridor."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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