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Industry Ratifies RoCEv2 for Improved Hyperscale Computing

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

The Infiniband Trade Association (IBTA) announced the ratification of the latest interconnect specification for hyperscale and compute intensive operations, RoCEv2. With a steering committee composed of industry vendors, including Cray, IBM, HP, Mellanox, Oracle and Intel, the IBTA introduced remote direct memory access (RDMA) over converged Ethernet version 1 in 2010, providing a powerful tool for compute intensive hyperscale operations in need of an interconnect solution. Now RoCEv2 introduces the ability to route over Layer 3 (L3) networks. Read: 40+ Certs to Help Advance Your Networking Career

"The RoCEv2 standard enables multi-vendor, interoperable solutions delivering RDMA that spans hyperscale network environments," says Barry Barnett, co-chair of the InfiniBand Trade Association. "This in turn paves the way for broader adoption within enterprise environments in order to improve infrastructure efficiency and lower total cost of ownership."

Routing across L3 networks allows greater flexibility in how you choose to connect clusters in your environment. L3 routing connections are transparent to applications, allowing information to pass easily from memory to memory. With so much growth happening in this area, data centers can use all the flexibility they can get. RoCEv1, along with the widely used Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) connection protocol, allows for routing exclusively over Layer 2 networks. Other benefits improved upon by RoCEv2 include lower latency and CPU overhead, higher network utilization message support of storage protocols, sockets and message passing.

One interconnect solution company is already ready to fully support the new RoCEv2 protocol. Mellanox announced support for RoCEv2 in its 10Gb/40Gb Ethernet ConnectX-3 Pro and SwitchX-2 switches. The ConnectX-3 Pro card utilizes a PCIe Gen3 connection and is designed for use in cloud and hyperscale environments with throughput of 10/40/56Gb per second.Comparison of RoCEv2 to other protocols. Image courtesy of Mellanox.Comparison of RoCEv2 to other protocols. Image courtesy of Mellanox."Major Web 2.0 and cloud providers are adopting a converged infrastructure and scale out storage to cope with massive scale, virtualization, mobility challenges, and the explosion of unstructured data. RoCEv2 finally brings together all the necessary ingredients to make network convergence over Ethernet a reality," says Michael Kagan, CTO of Mellanox Technologies.

On a phone call with Mellanox, the company explained that the process of ratification for RoCEv2 included a review which began with the technical networking group, then forwarded to the IBTA and eventually handed off to the steering committee. Testing included early adopters from the IT industry including member companies of the IBTA.

According to Mellanox, companies have already been warming up to RoCE. Microsoft uses RoCE enabled at 40GbE to help save on its Azure cloud storage, while Dell sees an advantage for customers using RoCE for server-based caching using Dell's Fluid Cache for SAN.

Many different deployments may benefit from the updated protocol, including Hadoop, block and object storage, and relational database servers, while software designed for RoCEv1 will also work for RoCEv2.

For more information on RoCEv2 take a look at the Open Fabrics Alliance's rundown of the new protocol.