On February 14-16, IBM will debut a new generation of
“super” computers with the televised introduction of Watson. With the help of
Juniper’s EX Ethernet Switches, running on the Junos operating system, IBM’s
Watson super computer will compete on the CBS television network game show
Jeopardy! over three episodes.
As the IBM team prepares for what is to be another historic
showdown of computer vs. human, a slough of television commercials and YouTube
clips have sent the media into a frenzy. Who will take the title of Jeopardy
champion? If history repeats itself like Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer from
1997 that defeated the reigning world chess champion, Watson will get
victoriously wheeled out of the studio, sure to get its own page in the history
books. However, unlike its predecessor, Watson must quickly decipher English
language clues ahead of its human competitors.
Can it be done against these Jeopardy champs? We’ll have to
wait to see but one thing we know: in
addition to IBM world-class servers, storage, software and years of innovation
to make the latest IBM super computer that is Watson, it also takes world-class
high performance networking. Powering
the networking required for Watson are 1 IBM
J16E (EX8216) switches populated with 15 10 GbE line cards and 1 GbE
line card, as well as 3 IBM J48E (EX4200) switches in a virtual chassis
configuration, all running Juniper’s Junos network operating system. Junos
enables IBM to easily manage and deploy those three IBM J48E switches in a
single virtual chassis configuration.
What is……a Virtual Chassis? This flexible, high scaling switch solution
brings together several switches to form one unit and allows customers to
operate the unit as if it were within a single chassis. Up to 10 of the IBM J48E switches can be
interconnected over 128 Gbps backplane providing up to a total of 480 access
ports. The J16E (EX8216) with its massively scalable 12.4 Tbps fabric, 2
billion packets-per-second (pps) line-rate performance and ability to aggregate
as many as 6,000 servers in a single domain, delivers high-performance
networking that is particularly well suited for mission critical supercomputing
platforms such as Watson. IBM trusted Juniper’s EX switches running Junos to
brand them as their own, and power the network required for Watson. Phew!
Wonder if that will be a
Together as industry thought leaders, IBM and Juniper are on
the cutting edge of innovative networking products and software. Through our
long standing strategic alliance, we offer data center solutions such as IBM
zBX, Smart Analytics, iDataplex and CSP2 (if need to spell that out for you,
please check out this innovative cloud platform at www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/communication_technology) that help
customers build cloud-ready data centers for their next generation
applications. As IBM advances the
capabilities of hardware and software, like in the Watson supercomputer, the
network becomes an increasingly important part of delivering applications that
rely on Juniper for the high performance networking solutions required.
As we wait for what we hope will be another monumental
television experience, IBM and Juniper are committed to excellence and innovation.
What is… The Future? Stay tuned!