Archive for May, 2015

RoCE Benefits on Full Display at Ignite 2015

May 27th, 2015


On May 4-8, IT professionals and enterprise developers gathered in Chicago for the 2015 Microsoft Ignite conference. Attendees were given a first-hand glimpse at the future of a variety of Microsoft business solutions through a number of sessions, presentations and workshops.

Of particular note were two demonstrations of RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) technology and the resulting benefits for Windows Server 2016. In both demos, RoCE technology showed significant improvements over Ethernet implementations without RDMA in terms of throughput, latency and processor efficiency.

Below is a summary of each presentation featuring RoCE at Ignite 2015:

Platform Vision and Strategy (4 of 7): Storage Overview
This demonstration highlighted the extreme performance and scalability of Windows Server 2016 through RoCE enabled servers populated with NVMe and SATA SSDs. It simulated application and user workloads using SMB3 servers with Mellanox ConnectX-4 100 GbE RDMA enabled Ethernet adapters, Micron DRAM and enterprise NVMe SSDs for performance and SATA SSDs for capacity.

During the presentation, the use of RoCE compared to TCP/IP showcased drastically different performance. With RDMA enabled, the SMB3 server was able to achieve about twice the throughput, half the latency and around 33 percent less CPU overhead than that attained by TCP/IP.

Check out the video to see the demonstration in action.

Enabling Private Cloud Storage Using Servers with Local Disks

Claus Joergensen, a principal program manager at Microsoft, demonstrated a Windows Server 2016’s Storage Spaces Direct with Mellanox’s ConnectX-3 56Gb/s RoCE with Micron RAM and M500DC local SATA storage.

The goal of the demo was to highlight the value of running RoCE on a system as it related to performance, latency and processor utilization. The system was able to achieve a combined 680,000 4KB IOPS and 2ms latency when RoCE was disabled. With RoCE enabled, the system increased the 4KB IOPS to about 1.1 million and reduced the latency to 1ms. This translated roughly to a 40 percent increase in performance with RoCE enabled, all while utilizing the same amount of CPU resources.

For additional information, watch a recording of the presentation (demonstration starts at 57:00).

For more videos from Ignite 2015, visit Ignite On Demand.

Bill Lee

InfiniBand Volume 1, Release 1.3 – The Industry Sounds Off

May 14th, 2015


On March 10, 2015, IBTA announced the availability of Release 1.3 of Volume 1 of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification and it’s creating a lot of buzz in the industry. IBTA members recognized that as compute clusters and data centers grew larger and more complex, the network equipment architecture would have difficulty keeping pace with the need for more processing power. With that in mind, the new release included improvements to scalability and management for both high performance computing and enterprise data centers.

Here’s a snap shot of what industry experts and media have said about the new specification:

“Release 1.3 of the Volume 1 InfiniBand Architecture Specification provides several improvements, including deeper visibility into switch hierarchy, improved diagnostics allowing for faster response times to connectivity problems, enhanced network statistics, and added counters for Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) to improve network management. These features will allow network administrators to more easily install, maintain, and optimize very large InfiniBand clusters.” - Kurt Yamamoto, Tom’s IT PRO

“It’s worth keeping up with [InfiniBand], as it clearly shows where the broader networking market is capable of going… Maybe geeky stuff, but it allows [InfiniBand] to keep up with “exascales” of data and lead the way large scale-out computer networking gets done. This is particularly important as the 1000 node clusters of today grow towards the 10,000 node clusters of tomorrow.” - Mike Matchett, Taneja Group, Inc.

“Indeed, a rising tide lifts all boats, and the InfiniBand community does not intend to get caught in the shallows of the Big Data surge. The InfiniBand Trade Association recently issued Release 1.3 of Volume I of the format’s reference architecture, designed to incorporate increased scalability, efficiency, availability and other functions that are becoming central to modern data infrastructure.” - Arthur Cole, Enterprise Networking Planet

“The InifiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) hopes to ward off the risk of an Ethernet invasion in the ranks of HPC users with a renewed focus on manageability and visibility. Such features have just appeared in release 1.3 of the Volume 1 standard. The IBTA’s Bill Lee told The Register that as HPC clusters grow, ‘you want to be able to see every level of switch interconnect, so you can identify choke-points and work around them.’” - Richard Chirgwin, The Register

To read more industry coverage of the new release, visit the InfiniBand in the News page.

For additional information about the InifiniBand specification, check out the InifiniBand specification FAQ or access the InfiniBand specification here.

Bill Lee