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InfiniBand Trade Association E-Newsletter
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CONTENTS

RoCE and InfiniBand: Which should I choose?
Top 5 Reasons to Attend the OpenFabrics Alliance User and Developer Workshop, March 25 – 28, 2012
Member Company Spotlight: Samtec
InfiniBand: What about it?
 
BLOG HIGHLIGHT

Check out the latest happenings within the IBTA and InfiniBand community by viewing our blog.
CALENDAR

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OpenFabrics Alliance User and Developer Workshop, Monterey, California, March 25 – 28, 2012
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IBTA Plugfest 21, UNH-IOL, April 16 – 20, 2012
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FEBRUARY 2012

RoCE and InfiniBand: Which should I choose?
Taken from the IBTA blog

The IBTA wrapped up the four part fall Webinar Series in December, and if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend these events live, there is a recorded version available on the IBTA’s website. In the webinar series, we suggested the idea that it makes sense to take a fresh look at I/O in light of recent developments in I/O and data center architecture. We took a high level look at two RDMA technologies which were InfiniBand and a relative new comer called RoCE - RDMA over Converged Ethernet.

RDMA is an interesting network technology that has been dominant in the HPC marketplace for quite a while and is now finding increasing application in modern commercial data centers, especially in performance sensitive environments or environments that depend on an agile, cost constrained approach to computing, for example almost any form of cloud computing. So it’s no surprise that several questions arose during the webinar series about the differences between a “native” InfiniBand RDMA fabric and one based on RoCE. In a nutshell, the questions boiled down to this: What can InfiniBand do that RoCE cannot? If I start down the path of deploying RoCE, why not simply stick with it, or should I plan to migrate to IB?”

As a quick review, RoCE is a new technology that is best thought of as a network that delivers many of the advantages of RDMA, such as lower latency or improved CPU utilization, but using a Ethernet switched fabric instead of InfiniBand adapters and switches. This is illustrated in the diagram below. Conceptually, RoCE is simple enough, but there is a subtlety that is easy to overlook. Many of us, when we think of Ethernet, naturally envision the complete IP architecture consisting of TCP, IP and Ethernet. But the truth is that RoCE bears no relationship to traditional TCP/IP/Ethernet, even though it uses an Ethernet layer. The diagram also compares the two RDMA technologies to traditional TCP/IP/Ethernet. As the drawing makes clear, RoCE and InfiniBand are sibling technologies, but are only distant cousins to TCP/IP/Ethernet. Indeed, RoCE’s heritage is found in the basic InfiniBand architecture and is fully supported by the open source software stacks provided by the Open Fabrics Alliance. So if it’s possible to use Ethernet and still harvest the benefits of RDMA, what’s to choose between the two? Naturally, there are trade-offs to be made. Read more.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the OpenFabrics Alliance User and Developer Workshop, March 25 – 28, 2012
  1. Attend thought-provoking, technical sessions on RDMA fabrics.
  2. Discuss OFED successes to date and evolution for the future
  3. Meet and network with other industry leaders: architects, chief technologists, end users
  4. Hear about new transport initiatives for RDMA
  5. Learn what would be involved in adopting RDMA in your environment

If those aren’t reasons enough, be sure to check out the agenda and register today!

Member Company Spotlight: Samtec
By Will Ouyang

Each month we will be spotlighting one of our member companies to discover what they are doing in the marketplace and why they are a part of the IBTA. If you would like your company to be highlighted or have a specific announcement or event that should be included in the monthly e-newsletter, please email Rachel Austin.

Why is Samtec a member of the IBTA?
Since 2000, Samtec has actively pursued many high speed connector and cable designs, from micro pitch mezzanine connectors, to high density arrays, to ribbonized coax and twinax cables, to RF. With the acquisition of AlpenIO (now the Samtec Optical Group), Samtec has aligned itself with active optical cable technology, and leveraged its cabling expertise to produce the next generation of QSFP and InfiniBand solutions. Also, Samtec is now positioned to provide end-to-end signal integrity solutions, from the die to the I/O interfaces. We, at Samtec, believe the IBTA offers the guidance the industry needs in order to make the next generation of solutions more compelling.

How has Samtec found value in the IBTA?
Currently Samtec has already surpassed and qualified many QSFP to QDR speeds; we are actively pursuing FDR and next generation EDR solutions. In the coming year, Samtec intends to play a more active role in marketing InfiniBand technologies and to help enrich the ecosphere of InfiniBand products and solutions.

What should IBTA members know about Samtec?
Samtec is a privately held company with a 5-A1 Dun and Bradstreet Rating. Samtec products fall into three general categories - signal integrity, micro pitch, and rugged interconnects. Samtec is recognized as the service leader in the connector industry and has been ranked #1 in customer service for twelve of the past thirteen years by Bishop & Associates Customer Survey of the Electronic Connector Industry.

Samtec is actively pursuing many AOC solutions; including FDR, EDR and small form factors servicing the future needs of next generation chip to optics solutions and other solutions for HPC.

If you would like to learn more about Samtec and its participation in the IBTA, email: optics@samtec.com

InfiniBand: What about it?
Taken from the IBTA Blog

Recently, there has been a lot of conversation around InfiniBand. Members of the IBTA often take our knowledge of InfiniBand technology for granted, which is why we are happy to see more exploratory discussion and education conversations happening. If you’re interested in finding out more about InfiniBand the IBTA has a number of resources for you to check out, including a product roadmap, put together by the IBTA’s members.

Additionally, we wanted to share a recent blog post by Oracle’s Neeraj Gupta, which succinctly introduces the InfiniBand technology to those who may be unfamiliar with it.

Looking forward to more discussion and education on InfiniBand in the coming weeks.

Brian Sparks and Skip Jones
IBTA Marketing Working Group Co-Chairs

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