Posts Tagged ‘Data Center’

IBTA Launches the RoCE Initiative: Industry Ecosystem to Drive Adoption of RDMA over Converged Ethernet

June 23rd, 2015


At IBTA, we are pleased to announce the launch of the RoCE Initiative, a new effort to highlight the many benefits of RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) and to facilitate the technology’s adoption in the enterprise data centers. With the rise of server virtualization and big data analytics, data center architects are demanding innovative ways to improve overall network performance and to accelerate applications without breaking the bank in the process.

Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) is well known in the InfiniBand community as a proven technology that boosts data center efficiency and performance by allowing the transport of data from storage to server with less CPU overhead. RDMA technology achieves faster speeds and lower latency by offloading data movement from the CPU, resulting in more efficient execution of applications and data transfers.

Before RoCE, the advantages of RDMA were only available over InfiniBand fabrics. This left system engineers that leverage Ethernet infrastructure with only the most expensive options for increasing system performance (i.e. adding more servers or buying faster CPUs). Now, data center architects can upgrade their application performance while leveraging existing infrastructure. There is already tremendous ecosystem support for RoCE; it is supported by server and storage OEMs, adapter and switch vendors, and all major operating systems.

Through a new online resource, the RoCE Initiative will:

  • Enable CIOs, enterprise data center architects and solutions engineers to learn about improved application performance and data center productivity through training webinars, whitepapers and educational programs
  • Encourage the adoption and development of RoCE applications with case studies and solution briefs
  • Continue the development of specifications, benchmarking performance improvements and technical resources for current/future RoCE adopters

For additional information about the RoCE Initiative, check out or read the full announcement 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

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

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

Recent Trends toward RoCE Adoption

September 2nd, 2014

The RoCE specification was released back in April, 2010 to address the need for efficient RDMA in end to end Ethernet networks. With the increase in enterprise data traffic and the emergence of hyperscale infrastructure, the need for efficient networking continues to grow.  Here are the latest examples of RoCE in the field.

RoCE Accelerates Microsoft Windows Azure

Albert Greenberg, an architect with IBTA member Microsoft, describes in his keynote address to the Open Network Summit this year how they are using RoCE in their storage offering.  RoCE over 40GbE enabled line-rate performance with zero CPU usage.  At the same time they were able to use less CPUs than would otherwise be needed.

RoCE Used in Dell Fluid Cache for SAN pool

Dell’s Fluid Cache for SAN accelerates applications requiring high data I/O. The servers in this pool are connected to each other by RoCE NICs, making use of the technology to quickly move data between the nodes without facing bottlenecks from the slow operating system kernel.

RoCE Can Do What Ethernet Alone Cannot

IBTA member Applied Micro is continuing to roll out its X-Gene family of 64-bit processors. These processors support RoCE, giving 10GbE some of the low-latency capabilities that used to only be available to InfiniBand. The decrease in latency for Ethernet means transaction latencies also decrease, better positioning the X-Gene family to make a difference in modern workloads.

RoCE Provides Exceptional Performance for Storage Solutions

Zadara Storage announced a new high performance STaaS solution offer for private clouds that uses an Ethernet transport mechanism for exceptional performance at reduced costs. Developed as a collaboration with IBTA member Mellanox Technologies, this solution boosts application performance using the iSCSI Extensions for RDMA (iSER) over RoCE, delivering substantially improved latency and throughput and therefore delivering cost savings and converged enterprise storage for private clouds of all sizes.

RoCE Helps Data Centers Account for New Technology for the Cloud

With the huge acceleration of data centers to the cloud, low latency is becoming increasingly important to avoid bottlenecks and incorporate new technologies seamlessly. RoCE, says SYS-CON Media’s Barbara Porter, is one way to plan for the barrage of new technology that’s coming our way, and to reduce latency overall in the cloud.

Bill Lee

Emulex Joins the InfiniBand Trade Association

October 30th, 2013

Emulex is proud to be a new member of the IBTA.  The IBTA has a great history of furthering the InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) specifications, developing an active solution ecosystem and building market momentum around technologies with strong value propositions.  We are excited to be a voting member on the Organization’s Steering Committee and look forward tocontributing to relevant technical and marketing working groups, as well as participating in IBTA-sponsored Plugfests and other interoperability activities.

Why the IBTA?

Through our experience in building high performance, large-scale, mission critical networks we understand the benefits of RDMA.  Since its original implementation as part of InfiniBand back in 1999, RDMA has a well-proven track record of delivering better application performance, reduced CPU overhead and increased bandwidth efficiency in demanding computing environments.

Due to increased adoption of technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics, virtualization and mobile computing, more and more commercial IT infrastructures are starting to run into the same challenges that supercomputing was forced to confront around performance bottlenecks, resource utilization and moving large data sets.  In other words, data centers supporting the Fortune 2000, vertical applications for media and entertainment or life sciences, telecommunications and cloud service providers are starting to look a lot more like the data centers at research institutions or systems on the TOP500 .  Thus, with the advent of RoCE, we see an opportunity to bring the benefits of RDMA that have been well-proven in high performance computing (HPC) markets to the mainstream commercial markets.

RoCE is a key enabling technology for converging data center infrastructure and enabling application centric I/O across a broad spectrum of requirements.  From supercomputing to share drives, RDMA deliveries broad based benefits for fundamentally more efficient network communications.  Emulex has a data center vision to connect, monitor and manage on a single unified fabric.  We are looking forward to supporting the IBTA, contributing to the advancement of RoCE and helping to bring RDMA to mainstream markets.

Jon Affled

Jon Affeld, senior director, marketing alliances at Emulex

The changing data center landscape

June 4th, 2009

By Jeff Boles, Taneja Group

Recently, Taneja Group published what has become an annual report reviewing the state of InfiniBand in mainstream IT. Once again, the landscape has evolved in interesting ways this year, with virtual infrastructure and cloud computing being several of the forces driving InfiniBand adoption in the enterprise data center. Long story short, InfiniBand has proved itself as a capable platform for continued evolution, and vendors with products in this space have long ago figured out how to make the fabric into a platform. While us bleeding edge technologists speculate about what infrastructure as a service is going to look like, the most common names in InfiniBand have been turning the infrastructure fabric into a service enabled platform. Slightly different twists, as you will soon learn inside the report.

Read more…

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