A Unique Approach for Heterogeneous Data-Center Acceleration
Remote direct-memory access (RDMA) is a technology that has been in use for more than a decade. In server connectivity, data copying is a major source of processing overhead. In a conventional
networking stack, received packets are stored in the operating system’s memory and later copied to application memory. This copying consumes CPU cycles and also introduces latency. Network adapters
that implement RDMA enable writing data directly into application memory. Applications that transfer large blocks of data, such as networked storage and virtual machine migration, reap the greatest
efficiency gains from RDMA.
Because the network adapter (NIC) needs to know where to place data in memory, the network protocol must explicitly support RDMA. The first such protocol to achieve widespread adoption was InfiniBand,
which was designed around RDMA from the beginning. The techniques developed for InfiniBand were later adapted to Ethernet networks using new RDMA protocols—first iWARP and later RoCE.
Cavium is one of the leaders driving the RDMA ecosystem with the goal of extending the reach RDMA technologies beyond the server and across the network to access remote storage. Cavium FastLinQ
Series 10/25/40/50/100GbE adapters support Universal RDMA (RoCE, RoCEv2 and iWARP) and deliver the ultimate choice to customers.
With its FastLinQ 41000/45000 NICs, Cavium has taken the unique approach of handling both RoCE and iWARP. By delivering a
protocol-agnostic design, Cavium FastLinQ technology delivers the following benefits:
Future Proof Connectivity:
FastLinQ Universal RDMA enabled NICs offer customers a future-proof path to implementing RDMA. If, over the longer term, the RoCE or iWARP camp gains greater market adoption, the customer is
protected from NIC obsolescence. In addition, Cavium's support of 100G Ethernet gives customers a guaranteed roadmap to higher performance as it is required.
No vendor lock-in:
By selecting FastLinQ NICs, customers also avoid vendor lock-in, as these NICs interoperate with those from all other vendors offering RoCE or iWARP. If a customer ultimately decides to change
from iWARP to RoCE or vice versa, those systems already deployed using FastLinQ need not be requalified.
Front and backend Storage Connectivity:
For storage systems, FastLinQ NICs can be mixed and matched between front-end and back-end networks, maximizing reuse and minimizing spares. For example, a customer can use a 25GbE NIC initially
for a back-end connection and later reuse that NIC for a front-end link when the back end is upgraded to 50GbE or 100GbE.