SNIA and Dr. J. Metz talk NVMeOF at #SFD16

This is the second time, I’ve been in attendance for a briefing at a Storage Field Day event. Both times have been very informative, interesting, and compelling.

In contrast to most of my postings, the following post will be a bit more technical than my usual fare.

Let’s look at what SNIA does, to start. SNIA is a special case in the industry. The goal is to perform a service to the industry. Amongst these, the two most important, are defining standards, and providing education. In addition, SNIA helps to develop and promote standards across all storage related industry vendors. The idea is that in an effort to remove barriers for interoperability, and leveraging driver, and hardware standards, SNIA helps to ensure that these sets of software and hardware components can become consistent, then the industry has a reliable set of tools in which to secure and future-proof both existing and emerging technologies. Incidentally, NVMExpress refers to the organization supporting the standard.

So, @DrJMetz, long an industry advocate, and expert at certain esoteric technologies presented us at the Field Day event. His purpose was to talk about both NVME (A disc standard using solid state disc, with a PCIe bus rather than connectivity over SATA, or SAS) and NVMeOF (the Interconnect of devices using these discs, over Fabric). These relate to a storage technology, interconnect, an ORG, and a standard, involving key areas, such as manageability, performance and scalability.

One of the goals of NVMe, and the NVMeOF is to optimize the stack, and remove some of the barriers inherent to the SCSI protocol. In terms of command set, and device interaction, SCSI has been the way up until now, but the much faster disc, and interconnect using the PCIe bus, bringing the disc device closer to the processor a newer approach has become requisite, and NVMeOF has become the standard for interacting with these storage, and as 3DCrosspoint has become closer to reality, the NVMe protocol will treat memory and disc as similar things.

For interaction an RNIC must be used. Fortunately, most of the current batch of faster Network Interface Cards also support the RNic standards. For best results, of course, it’s appropriate for consistency’s sake that the brand of NIC to support this. As a result, of brand/model consistency, the RDMA, or Remote Direct Memory Access, translation can take place across this fabric, and also allows for daisy chaining the queue pairs. Both extension and expansion of the storage devices will take place across this fabric. And will require no multichannel MUX, as more traditional approaches would need to handle this queue event.

Meanwhile, while I covered a lot of technobabble in this posting, I’d be very pleased if you’d take a look at the video, wherein J Metz presents this amazing new enabling technology, and defines it far better than I could possibly:

Here’s a good document regarding NVMeOF:

This is my first #SFD16 posting, but the event was so compelling, and so many great vendors were representing, that I can assure you I’ll be writing more.



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