Accelerating Data Movement with RoCE

April 29th, 2015

On April 14-16, Ethernet designers and experts from around the globe gathered at the Ethernet Technology Summit 2015 to discuss developments happening within the industry as it pertained to the popular networking standard. IBTA’s Diego Crupnicoff, co-chair of the Technical Working Group, shared his expertise with attendees via a presentation on “Accelerating Data Movement with RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE).” The session focused on the ever-growing complexity, bandwidth requirements and services of data centers and how RoCE can address the challenges that emerge from new enterprise data center initiatives.

Here is a brief synopsis of the points that Diego covered in his well-attended presentation:

People are living in an ever-increasing digital world. In the last decade, there’s been an explosion of connected devices that are running many applications and creating massive amounts of data in the process that must be accessible anytime, anywhere.


Over time, the data center has emerged as the workhorse of the networking industry, with the increased pace of the ‘information generation’ generating many new data center initiatives, such as the cloud, virtualization and hyper-converged infrastructure. Expectations for enhanced accessibility to larger sets of data are straining enterprise data networks, bringing about a variety of new challenges to the industry, including the following needs:

• Scale and Flexibility
• Overlays & Shared Storage
• Reduce Latency
• Rapid Server-to-Server I/O
• Big Storage, Large Clusters
• New Scale-out Storage Traffic

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) has had difficulty keeping up with some traffic stemming from newer, more demanding applications. In these cases, packet processing over TCP saturates CPU resources, resulting in networks with low bandwidth, high latency and limited scalability. The industry was in need of a capability that would bypass the CPU altogether to enable faster, more efficient movement of data between servers.

The advent of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) did just that, utilizing hardware offloads to move data faster with less CPU overhead. By offloading the I/O from the CPU, users of RDMA experience lower latency while freeing up the CPU to focus its resources on applications that process data as opposed to moving it.

Recently, RDMA expanded into the enterprise market and is now being widely adopted over Ethernet networks with RDMA over Converged Ethernet or RoCE. The RoCE standard acts as an efficient, lightweight transport that’s layered directly over Ethernet, bypassing the TCP/IP stack. It offers the lowest latency in the Ethernet industry, which enables faster application completion, better server utilization and higher scalability. Given these advantages, RoCE became the most widely deployed Ethernet RDMA standard, resulting in millions of RoCE-capable ports on the market today.

For additional details on the benefits of RDMA for Ethernet networks, including RoCE network considerations and use cases, view the presentation in its entirety here.

Mike Jochimsen, co-chair of the Marketing Working Group (MWG) at IBTA

Mike Jochimsen, co-chair of the Marketing Working Group (MWG) at IBTA

IBTA Member Companies to Exhibit and Present at Ethernet Technology Summit 2015

April 14th, 2015


The Ethernet Technology Summit 2015 kicks off today at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The three-day conference offers seminars, forums, panels and exhibits for Ethernet designers of all levels to discuss new developments, share expertise and learn from prominent industry leaders. Sessions run April 14-16 and exhibits are open April 15-16.

IBTA members exhibiting at the show include:

• Cisco – Booth #201-203
• Mellanox Technologies – Booth #304
• QLogic Corporation – Booth #300-302

Be sure to stop by their booths and ask about their RDMA solutions.

Additionally, Diego Crupnicoff, co-chair of the Technical Working Group from member company Mellanox Technologies, will participate in the “Forum 1B: Ethernet in Data Centers (Data/Telco Centers Track)” session on Wednesday, April 15 from 8:30 to 10:50 a.m.

Specifically, Diego will present on “Accelerating Data Movement with RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE)” and how RoCE addresses the challenges that are emerging from new data center initiatives. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about RoCE and other enhancements required to meet the ever-growing needs of an optimized, flexible data center.

In addition there are other presentations, panel discussions, and keynotes given by representatives of IBTA members Broadcom, Cisco, Intel, Mellanox, Microsoft, Molex, and QLogic. For a complete schedule and description of the 2015 Summit sessions, click here.

Bill Lee

IBTA Publishes Updated Integrators’ List & Announces Plugfest #27

March 17th, 2015

We’re excited to announce the availability of the IBTA October 2014 Combined Cable and Device Integrators’ List – a compilation of results from the IBTA Plugfest #26 held last fall. The list gathers products that have been tested and accepted by the IBTA as being compliant with the InfiniBand™ architecture specifications, with new products being added every spring and fall, following each Plugfest event.

The updated Integrators’ List, along with the bi-annual Plugfest testing, is a testament to the IBTA’s dedication to advancing InfiniBand technology and furthering industry adoption. The list demonstrates how our organization continues to ensure InfiniBand interoperability, as all cables and devices listed have successfully passed all the required compliance tests and procedures.

Additionally, the consistently-updated Integrators’ List assures vendors’ customers and end-users that the manufacturers’ equipment included on the Integrators’ List has achieved the necessary level of compliance and interoperability. It also helps the IBTA to assess current and future industry demands providing background for future InfiniBand specifications.

We’ve already begun preparations for Plugfest #27, taking place April 13-24, 2015 at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory in Durham, N.H. For more information, or to register for Plugfest #27, please visit the IBTA Plugfest website.

For any questions related to the Integrators’ List or IBTA membership, please visit the IBTA website:

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

IBTA Releases New Update to InfiniBand Architecture Specification

March 10th, 2015

Today, the IBTA announced Release 1.3 of the InfiniBand Architecture Specification Volume 1. Dedicated to our mission to maintain and further the specification, we worked to incorporate capabilities to help keep up with the increasing customer demand for expedited data transfer and accessibility. This effort resulted in a fresh version of the specification, which incorporates new features that enable computer systems to match the continuous high performance computing and data center needs required for increased stability and bandwidth, as well as high computing efficiency, availability and isolation.

The rapid evolution of the computer and internet have left existing interconnect technologies struggling to keep pace. The increasing popularity of high-end computing concepts like clustering, CPU offloads and movement of large amounts of data demand a robust fabric.

Additionally, I/O devices are now expected to have link-level data protection, traffic isolation, deterministic behavior and a high quality of service. In order to help meet these needs, the IBTA developed InfiniBand Architecture (IBA) in 2000 and has continued to update the specification suite as the industry evolves.

As a result of this initiative, the updated Volume 1.3 enables notable improvements in scalability with deeper visibility into switch-fabric configuration for improved monitoring of traffic patterns and network maintenance. The updated specification allows for more in-depth cable management with greater accessibility to cables for improved diagnostics mechanisms allowing for shorter response times and improved messaging capabilities, thus improving overall network performance.

Tweet: Learn more about the recent updates to the #InfiniBand architecture specification here:

Bill Lee

Author: admin Categories: InfiniBand, Volume 1 Specification Tags:

IBTA Tests Compliance & Interoperability with Top Vendors at Plugfest #26

February 17th, 2015

In preparation for the IBTA’s upcoming Integrators’ List and April Plugfest, we wanted to give a quick recap of our last Plugfest, which included some great participants.

Every year, the IBTA hosts two Compliance and Interoperability Plugfests, one in April and one in October, at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Interoperability Lab (IOL) in Durham, New Hampshire. The Plugfest’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for participants to measure their products for compliance with the InfiniBand architecture Specifications as well as interoperability with other InfiniBand products.

This past October, we hosted our 26th Plugfest in New Hampshire. A total of 16 cable vendors participated, while our device vendors included Intel, Mellanox and NetApp. Test equipment vendors included Anritsu, Keysight (formerly Agilent) and Tektronix. Overall, 136 cables and 13 devices were tested, and the data is broken out below:


The Integrators’ List, a compilation of all the products tested and accepted to be compliant with the InfiniBand architecture specification, will go live in about a month, so stay tuned!

Plugfest #27 will take place from April 13 to April 24. The cable and device registration deadline is Wednesday, March 16, while the shipping deadline is Wednesday, April 1. Check out the IBTA website for additional information on the upcoming Plugfest.

Tweet: Excited for Plugfest 27? Get a recap of last year's event here:…at-plugfest-26/

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Rupert Dance, IBTA CIWG

Author: admin Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Storage with Intense Network Growth and the Rise of RoCE

February 4th, 2015

On January 4 and 5, the Entertainment Storage Alliances held the 14th annual Storage Visions conference in Las Vegas, highlighting advances in storage technologies utilized in consumer electronics, the media and entertainment industries. The theme of Storage Visions 2015 was Storage with Intense Network Growth (SWING), which was very appropriate given the explosions going on in both data storage and networking.


While the primary focus of Storage Visions is storage technologies, this year’s theme acknowledges the corollary between storage growth and network growth. Therefore, among the many sessions offered on increased capacity and higher performance, the storage networking session was specifically designed to educate the audience on advances in network technology – “Speed is the Need: High Performance Data Center Fabrics to Speed Networking.”

More pressure is being put on the data center network from a variety sources, including continued growth in enterprise application transactions, new sources of data (aka, big data) and the growth in streaming video and emergence of 4K video. According to Cisco, global IP data center traffic will grow 23% annually to 8.7 zettabytes by 2018. Three quarters of this traffic will be inter-data center, or traffic between servers (East-West) or between servers and storage (North-South). Given this, data centers need to factor in technologies designed to optimize data center traffic.

Global Data Center IP Traffic Forecast, Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2013-2018

Global Data Center IP Traffic Forecast, Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2013-2018

Global Data Center Traffic By Destination, Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2013-2018

Global Data Center Traffic By Destination, Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2013-2018

Storage administrators have always placed emphasis on two important metrics, I/O operations per second (IOPS) and throughput, to measure the ability of the network to server storage devices. Lately, a third metric, latency, has become equally important. When balanced with the IOPS and throughput, low latency technologies can bring dramatic benefits to storage.
At this year’s Storage Visions conference, I was asked to sit on a panel discussing the benefits of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for storage traffic. I specifically called out the benefits of RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). Joining me on the panel were representatives from Mellanox, speaking about InfiniBand, and Chelsio, speaking about iWARP. The storage-focused audience showed real interest in the topic and asked a number of insightful questions about RDMA benefits for their storage implementations.

RoCE in particular will bring specific benefits to data center storage environments. As the purest implementation of the InfiniBand specification in the Ethernet environment, it has the ability to provide the lowest latency for storage. In addition, it capitalizes on the converged Ethernet standards defined in the IEEE 802.1 standards for Ethernet, include Congestion Management, Enhanced Transmission Selection and Priority Flow Control, which collectively allow for lossless transmission, bandwidth allocation and quality of service. With the introduction of RoCEv2 in September 2014, the technology moves from support for a (flat) Layer 2 network to become a routable protocol supporting Layer 3 networks, allowing for use in distributed storage environments.
Ultimately, what customers need for optimal Ethernet-based storage is technology which will balance between IOPS, throughput, and latency while allowing for flexible storage placement in their network. RoCE addresses all of these needs and is becoming widely available in popular server and storage offerings.

Mike Jochimsen, co-chair of the Marketing Working Group (MWG) at IBTA

Mike Jochimsen, co-chair of the Marketing Working Group (MWG) at IBTA

Tweet: Get a recap from the IBTA's #SWING & #RoCE panel from #StorageVisions:…e-rise-of-roce/

The IBTA Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

December 15th, 2014

Since 1999, the IBTA has worked to further the InfiniBand specification in order to provide the IT industry with an advanced fabric architecture that transmits large amounts of data between data centers around the globe. This year, the IBTA is celebrating 15 years of growth and success.

In its mission to unite the IT industry, the IBTA has welcomed an array of distinguished members including Cray, Microsoft, Oracle and QLogic. The IBTA now boasts over 50 member companies all dedicated to furthering the InfiniBand specification.

The continued growth of the IBTA reflects the IT industry’s dedication to the advancement of InfiniBand. Many IBTA member companies are developing products incorporating InfiniBand technology, including FDR, which has proven to be the fastest growing generation of InfiniBand technology: FDR adoption grew 76 percent year over year from 80 systems in 2013 to 141 systems in 2014. Most recently, the Top500 list announced that 225 of the world’s most powerful computers chose InfiniBand as their interconnect device in 2014.

2014 also marked the release of RoCEv2. RoCEv2 is an extension of the original RoCE specification announced in 2010 that brought benefits of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) I/O architecture to Ethernet-based networks. The updated specification addresses the needs of today’s evolving enterprise data centers by enabling routing across Layer 3 networks. By extending RoCE to allow Layer 3 routing, the specification can provide better traffic isolation and enables hyperscale data center deployments.

Below is a timeline that further illustrates the IBTA’s advancements over the past 15 years that have helped to bring InfiniBand technology to the forefront of the interconnect industry.


Volume 1 – General Specification
Volume 2 – Physical Specification

Bill Lee

The IBTA Welcomes New Member Netronome

December 1st, 2014

Netronome, a developer of high-performance networking solutions for cloud, data center, carrier-grade and enterprise-class communications products, spoke with us recently about their choice to join the IBTA.

Netronome joined the IBTA in order to gain better access to and contribute to the latest RoCE and InfiniBand-related specifications. They currently see a need to implement and interoperate with RoCEv2-based RDMA solutions and hope to utilize their work related to RoCE specifications to develop certain applications in the data center.

Initially, Netronome has been involved with the IBXoE working group, but is also interested in the work of the Software Working Group and the Compliance and Interoperability Working Group as well.

For more information on Netronome and their offerings, please visit

Bill Lee

Tweet: The IBTA welcomes new member Netronome. Read more here:

Author: admin Categories: IBTA Membership Tags:

IBTA 2014 Annual Members Meeting

October 15th, 2014

The IBTA recently hosted its annual general meeting for members in September. Barry Barnet and Jim Pappas, co-chairmen of the IBTA Steering Committee, presented the state of the association and the chairs of each working group presented their group activities over the past year and what’s ahead. The chairs specifically elaborated on the responsibilities of their working group and updated attendees on how their activities contribute to larger association goals. Each working group has put in a lot of effort on the development of the specification, including the recently released RoCEv2 spec. The IBTA plans to carry out these online meetings annually in order to keep members updated and involved in association activities.

For those members who missed the meeting, or want to view it again, we’ve posted the recording and the accompanying presentation in the Members Area.

Bill Lee

Tweet: Read about the IBTA's recent annual members meeting and access the presentation here:

IBTA Announces New RoCE Specification

September 16th, 2014

Big news! The IBTA today announced the updated specification for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), RoCEv2. This is a huge development and one that will expand RoCE’s adoption.

The benefits of the first RoCE spec released in 2010 were many:

  • Low latency and CPU overhead (eliminated the multiple data copies inside the server)
  • High network utilization
  • Support for message passing, sockets and storage protocols
  • Supported by all major operating systems

RoCEv2 extends the original RoCE specification by enabling routing across Layer 3 networks and as a result provides better isolation and enables hyperscale data center deployments. This addresses the needs of today’s evolving data centers which require more efficient data movement over a variety of network topologies.

With a number of vendors including Dell and Zadara Storage recently adopting RoCE, this new specification comes at the perfect time. Major cloud providers and Web 2.0 companies are also adopting RoCE in order to combat the challenges of running compute intensive applications and processing massive amounts of data in hyperscale networking environments.

Representatives from IBTA member companies including Emulex, IBM, Mellanox, Microsoft and Software Forge, Inc. participated in the development of this new standard, which will help enterprises to more widely adopt RoCE and improve infrastructure efficiency.

For more information, read the full IBTA announcement.

Bill Lee