New InfiniBand Architecture Specifications Extend Virtualization Support

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ibtaToday the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) announced two new InfiniBand Architecture Specification updates centered around interoperability, virtualization, and low latency.

As performance demands continue to evolve in both HPC and enterprise cloud applications, the IBTA saw an increasing need for new enhancements to InfiniBand’s network capabilities, support features and overall interoperability,” said Bill Magro, co-chair of the IBTA Technical Working Group. “Our two new InfiniBand Architecture Specification updates satisfy these demands by delivering interoperability and testing upgrades for EDR and FDR, flexible management capabilities for optimal low-latency and low-power functionality and virtualization support for better network scalability.”

The new Volume 2 specification release expands interoperability and performance management functionality across the InfiniBand ecosystem for both high performance computing and enterprise data center networks. The Virtualization Annex extends support for multiple virtualized endpoints within InfiniBand hardware. Both of these publications will be essential to expanding the performance and scalability of future data centers.

The Volume 2 Release 1.3.1 specification adds flexible low-latency Forward Error Correction (FEC) upgrades. This new option enables a best of both worlds – low error rate with low latency. A second enhancement enables the subnet manager to optimize both signal integrity with the lowest power possible from the port. Improved cable management is enabled through updates to QSFP28 and CXP28 memory mapping. The new specification release also improves upon InfiniBand interoperability and test methodologies for the latest data rates, namely EDR 100 Gb/s and FDR 56 Gb/s. This enhancement is achieved through updated EDR electrical requirements, amended testing methodology for EDR Limiting Active Cables, and FDR interoperability and test specification corrections.

To support the ever-increasing deployment of virtualized solutions in HPC and enterprise cloud networks, the IBTA also published a new Virtualization Annex to the Volume 1 Release 1.3 specification. The Virtualization Annex extends the InfiniBand specification to address multiple virtual machines connected to a single physical port. With this new annex, an InfiniBand subnet manager has a more efficient view of each logical endpoint, which significantly reduces the burden on the subnet managers as networks leverage virtualization for system scalability.

The InfiniBand Architecture Specification Volume 2 Release 1.3.1 and Volume 1 Release 1.3 are available for public download.