UK Company Highlights Role of its 10 Gigabit Ethernet Technology in GreenLight Project

San Diego, March 4, 2009  -- While engineers at Calit2 and elsewhere on the UC San Diego campus continue to build a testbed for monitoring and assessing the energy efficiency of cyberinfrastructure, the supplier of a key hardware component - a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch - is showcasing the project.

GreenLight Topology
GreenLight topology for 10GE link aggregation: When complete, the servers (blue) will connect to edge switches (red) via 1 Gbps links, and the edge switches will connect to each other via the 10 Gbps links of the Quadrics TG201 switch (green).

In a case study of Calit2's GreenLight Project, published this week, U.K.-based Quadrics, Ltd. notes that the "project run by the University of California, San Diego aims to measure the energy efficiency of new technologies such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet and their impact on cluster capacity and efficiency - and reduction of energy costs."

When it is built, the GreenLight Instrument will measure, monitor and help optimize the energy consumption of large-scale scientific applications from many different disciplines. "GreenLight uses 10 Gbps over dedicated optical fiber links, so end users move their clusters out of their faculty closets and into much greener configurations," GreenLight principal investigator Tom DeFanti is quoted saying.

GreenLight consists of an eco-friendly Sun Modular Datacenter container with 8 racks of servers. When fully populated, the servers will connect to seven edge switches via 1 Gbps links. The edge switches will, in turn, connect with 10 GigE uplinks to the Quadrics TG201-XA switch. The Quadrics switch "aggregates 10GE links from each of the edge switches. Five additional channel-bonded links will provide a 50-Gbps connection to the OptIPuter Core," notes the case study.

"The Quadrics TG201 24-port 10GiGE switch is a full-bisection bandwidth switch that enables us to richly connect the Greenlight Instrument into campus research networks," said Philip Papadopoulos, a San Diego Supercomputer Center scientist and co-PI on the GreenLight project. "We are driving DWDM optics directly from the switch to support as much as 80Gbit/sec on a single fiber pair."

Quadrics Switch
Quadrics TG201-XA 10GE switch
The Quadrics and other equipment will be used to test existing best-practices in getting more computational work done for fewer watts of energy. At the same time, GreenLight researchers will be closely monitoring the "green" performance of the switch itself, which Quadrics claims "use between 20% and 80% less power per port than other products in the 10 GigE market." The company says the TG201 switch was designed for minimum power consumption.

"Thanks to UC San Diego, the technology sector will acquire valuable insights to reduce the costs of running a business and to boost efficiency," said Luigi Lavorgna, Quadrics Director. "The private sector can benefit enormously from efficient products that the evolution of information technology has now made available, and in particular with the adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet products such as Quadrics TG201 switches."

In general, the case study notes, 10 GigE technology is scalable (it "provides computationally-intensive applications room to scale"); uses servers better, "as the high bandwidth proved by 10 GigE reduces the inefficiencies of network bottlenecks"; and reduces the number of connections required to obtain high bandwidth.

Media Contacts

Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,

Related Links
GreenLight Project
Quadrics Case Study