Heavyweights Form Consortium to Fight Latency

Aiming to reduce latency and increase networking bandwidth on TCP/IP networks, seven tech industry giants band together to form a new specifications consortium.
Aiming to reduce latency and increase networking bandwidth on TCP/IP networks, a group of seven tech industry heavyweights Friday banded together to form a new specifications consortium.

The companies -- Adaptec, Broadcom, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Network Appliance -- said the Remote Directory Memory Access (RDMA) Consortium will develop the architectural specifications necessary to implement products that provide RDMA over TCP/IP networks, including Ethernet-based networks.

According to the consortium, demands for networking bandwidth and increases in network speeds are growing faster than the processing power and memory bandwidth of the compute nodes that process the networking traffic. This situation is only expected to get worse as the industry begins migrating to 10Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure.

Currently, communications over TCP/IP networks require data copy operations, which add latency and require significant CPU and memory resources.

RDMA eliminates that requirement and solves the processing power problem, according to the consortium, by moving much of the protocol processing to the Ethernet adapter.

Also, through RDMA, each incoming network packet has enough information to allow it to be placed directly into final destination memory addresses. In other words, it allows one computer to directly place information in another computer's memory, with minimal demands on memory bus bandwidth and CPU overhead. At the same time, it preserves memory protection semantics.

The consortium said it will create specifications for a complete RDMA solution, including RDMA, DDP (Direct Data Placement), and framing protocols over TCP/IP. It noted that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has expressed an interest in RDMA as a viable network practice, and is expected to charter an "RDMA over Internet Protocol Suite" Working Group in the next few months.

The consortium's membership agreement calls on the consortium to submit draft specifications to the appropriate IETF working groups for consideration.

The group said it expects to complete version 1.0 of the RDMA over TCP/IP architectural specifications in the second half of 2002. Its goal is to support product implementation by 2003-2004.

The RDMA Consortium is an open industry forum. Application information can be found at its Web site.

This article was first published on InternetNews, an internet.com site.

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