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ASU and Obsidian Collaboration Will Boost Bandwith Over Existing Optical Networks

November 3, 2008

Arizona State University (ASU) and Obsidian Strategics, the leading developer of InfiniBand range extension, routing and encryption technology, have announced a unique public-private partnership to explore faster, more efficient data server/transfer technologies for use at the ASU High Performance Computing Initiative (HPCI) facilities, on the ASU campus in downtown Tempe.

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 establish:

— a test bed from which to further explore/optimize high-bandwidth, low-latency switching, routing and encryption technologies and applications, pushing the limits of today’s leading HPC solutions;

— a real-world production environment capable of large-scale remote transfer of, or access to, research and scientific data sets along with geographically separated data replication (disaster tolerance for very large, valuable data sets).

ASU and others could utilize 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, while Obsidian would work closely with researchers and network administrators to ensure the most advanced and appropriate features are developed, tested and implemented on the network.

“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,” says Dr. Dan Stanzione, Director of the HPCI, at ASU. “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.”

Obsidian’s Longbow products drive point-to-point optical connections that enable high-speed data transfer in minutes, in what would otherwise take hours, even days to pass from one researcher to another over current networking infrastructures.

“Arizona State University is committed to growing the infrastructure to support- our researchers,” says Dr. Rick Shangraw, ASU’s Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs. “The partnership with Obsidian places us at the cutting edge of high bandwidth computing at a time when this type of infrastructure is critical to building strong partnerships with our sponsors and collaborators.”

Obsidian’s Longbow solutions seamlessly stretch these connections over global distances – leveraging existing optical networks while preserving local link performance. The Longbow technology was designed to meet the mission critical demands of the Department of Defense’s next generation Large Data communications architecture.

“The ASU-Obsidian partnership can showcase new ways to leverage regional optical networks, promoting more efficient utilization of large-scale computers and storage, reducing overall energy consumption, and massively improving remote access – in a way that facilitates state-wide collaboration,” says Dr. David Southwell, President of Obsidian Strategics.

This initiative is supported by the Canadian Consulate-Phoenix, which plays a key role in making strategic introductions across the State’s universities, research facilities, local community, and commercial companies. Adds Bill Halina, Obsidian’s Chairman, “The Canadian Consulate has been a great help in making early inroads for us and it’s up to all of us now to find creative solutions in funding and the support models to ensure growth of this initiative.”

About Obsidian:

Obsidian Strategics Inc. is the developer of Longbow Technology, a family of communications products delivering very fast, lossless transmission over optical networks. Longbows allow an InfiniBand fabric, normally a short-range network used in high-performance computing, to be transparently extended via optical fiber. Different models connect over Campus, Metro, Regional or Global Area Networks to offer unparalleled high-bandwidth, low-latency access to InfiniBand compute and storage resources. Integrated InfiniBand routing, encryption and other functions that enhance deployment in commercial environments. Obsidian is available online at http://www.obsidianstrategics.com

About the ASU High Performance Computing Initiative (HPCI):

The Ira A. Fulton High Performance Computing Initiative at Arizona State University serves as the center for research, education, and application of high performance computing systems on the ASU campus. The HPCI maintains state-of-the-art, large scale computing and storage systems for a diverse group of more than 500 ASU researchers, and participates in a number of regional and national cyber infrastructure initiatives. The HPCI can be found online at http://hpc.asu.edu/.




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