Trend alert: Remote Direct Memory Access goes the distance

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Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited.
Trend alert: Remote Direct Memory Access goes the distance
Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited.

It’s that time of year again; a time for reflection over the past 12 months. These days, however, one year can seem like a decade or more considering the speed at which technology is innovating, and in networking it’s been a great year for storage modernisation.

“What we have seen is that during 2017, remote direct memory access, more commonly referred to by its acronym RDMA, has become even more prevalent within the storage space,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at African value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited.

He points out that it is RDMA’s ability to give network hardware the power to directly move data from RAM in one machine to RAM in another – without involving the CPU – that aids its growing attractiveness in those seeking low latency and high bandwidth communication services.

“RDMA has a broad appeal and is currently being employed in a wide range of industries such as high-performance computing, finance services and insurance, and medical,” continues Jacobsz. It is also used in innovative data-driven technologies, including machine learning, Web.2.0, Big Data and cloud.

Furthermore, it is deployed in storage technology such as Storage: NVMe-oF (remote block access to NVMe SSDs), iSER (iSCSI Extensions for RDMA), Lustre, GPFS, HDFS, Ceph, EMC ScaleIO, VMware Virtual SAN, Dell Fluid Cache, Windows SMB Direct.

According to “RDMA Fabrics – Unlocking Enterprise Data Analytic” by Motti Beck, senior director, enterprise development at Mellanox Technologies and Carl Tung, senior product line manager at Broadcom, trends in these industries “…will accelerate the adoption of technologies, including RDMA network protocols such as IB and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), in enterprise deployments. As technologies such as Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) and NVMe-over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) support mature, the gap between On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) and traditional data warehousing is bound to shrink. In fact, several software and platform suppliers, such as IBM and Microsoft, are introducing newer in-memory databases for real-time analytics that are already pushing infrastructure to the edge.

“In such applications, RDMA networking, in the form of RoCE-enabled Ethernet NICs with advanced offloads, will not only minimise latency but also free up CPUs to increase overall processing power.” (EnterpriseTech)

Mellanox is today one of the major players in the RDMA space, and the brand’s technology solution is proudly distributed by Networks Unlimited in sub-Saharan Africa.

Staff Writer