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OpenFabrics Software Users and Developers Receive InfiniBand Virtualization Update at the 2016 OFA Workshop

April 26th, 2016

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The InfiniBand architecture is a proven network interconnect standard that provides benefits for bandwidth, efficiency and latency, while also boasting an extensive roadmap of future performance increases. Initially adopted by the High Performance Computing industry, a growing number of enterprise data centers are demanding the performance capabilities that InfiniBand has to offer. InfiniBand data center use cases vary widely, ranging from physical network foundations transporting compute and storage traffic to enabling Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in cloud service providers.

Today’s enterprise data center and cloud environments are also seeing an increased use of virtualized workloads. Using virtualized servers allows data center managers to create a common shared pool of resources from a single host. Virtualization support in the Channel Adapter enables different software entities to interact independently with the fabric. This effectively creates an efficient service-centric computing model capable of dynamic resource utilization and scalable performance, while reducing overhead costs.

Earlier this month at the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop 2016 in Monterey, CA, Liran Liss of member company Mellanox Technologies provided an update on the IBTA’s ongoing work to standardize InfiniBand virtualization support. He explained that the IBTA Management Working Group’s goals include making the InfiniBand Virtualization Annex scalable, explicit, backward compatible and, above all, simple in both implementation and management. Liss specifically covered the concepts of InfiniBand Virtualization, and its manifestation in the host software stack, subnet management and monitoring tools.

The IBTA effort to support virtualization is nearing completion as the annex enters its final review period from other working groups. If you were unable to attend the OFA Workshop 2016 and would like to learn more about InfiniBand virtualization, download the official slides or watch a video of the presentation via insideHPC.

Bill Lee

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