InfiniBand Trade Association Announces RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE)

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-04-19

NEW YORK -- The InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA), a global organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the InfiniBand architecture, has announced the release of a new capability, bringing the power of the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) I/O architecture to Ethernet-based business solutions.

The new specification is called RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), pronounced "Rocky." Products based on RoCE will reach the market during the coming year, IBTA officials said.

IBTA announced the news at the 2010 High Performance Computing Linux Financial Markets show and conference here on April 19.

RoCE, built on a foundation of the highly efficient use of computing resources, brings significant benefits to end users, IBTA officials said. By reducing the number of servers needed, eliminating cabling and improving application performance, RoCE can produce energy savings and reduce the footprint of Ethernet-based data centers. Its unique "one fat pipe" approach to server I/O gives the user great flexibility in deploying applications and is an excellent complement to virtualization strategies being deployed today. By attacking latency, RoCE increases performance in search, database, financial and high transaction rate applications.

"RoCE addresses a key concern of the enterprise - maximizing and protecting current investments in IT," said Cindy Borovick, research vice president, Datacenter Networks at IDC, in a statement. "RoCE leverages field-proven RDMA, ubiquitous Ethernet and fabric management solutions. This will benefit data center network end users by consolidating data, storage and clustered networking and reducing costs."

"The new RoCE specification, with a purpose-built and proven RDMA transport, provides the most efficient and lightweight transport over Layer 2 Ethernet," said Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing at Voltaire and member of the IBTA Steering Committee, in a statement. "RoCE is expected to enable the enterprise data center to serve more clients with a broader range of applications - all while providing faster response times and reducing the number of servers, cables and switches required."

RDMA and low latency clustering has dominated the high performance computing space, IBTA said. For data center and cloud environments, RDMA is enjoying increasing adoption in business solutions such as data warehousing, financial services and transaction processing. Low latency and RDMA capabilities in data center fabrics enable end-users to achieve significantly higher and deterministic transaction rates while increasing the efficiency of clustered servers and storage systems and reducing energy consumption - resulting in significant return-on-investment (ROI) benefits.

RoCE is implemented and downloadable today in the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) 1.5.1. Many Linux distributions, which include OFED, support a wide and rich range of middleware and application solutions such as inter-process communications (IPC), sockets, messaging, virtualization, storage area network (SAN), network attached storage (NAS), file systems and databases. RoCE can therefore deliver all three dimensions of unified networking on Ethernet - IPC, NAS and SAN, IBTA said. 

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