Saturday, January 11, 2014

SMB Direct hardware requirements in Windows Server 2012 or later

In Windows Server 2012 or later, Microsoft announced one of new features in SMB 3.0 which  is SMB Direct. SMB Direct requires network adapters to "Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)" protocol capability. 

According to "Improve Performance of a File Server with SMB Direct", network adapters that have RDMA can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU.

Network adapters need to support RDMA technology. How about switches requirement?

It depends on which kinds of network adapters are selected.

  • TCP/IP based protocol
  • Works with any 10GbE switch
  • RDMA traffic routable
Using network adapters with "iWARP", you don't need to care about the compatibility of 10 GbE switch.

Remark: iWARP stands for Internet Wide Area RDMA protocol.

RoCE: RDMA over Converged Ethernet
  • Ethernet-based protocol
  • Works with high-end 10GbE/40GbE switches (Data center bridging (DCB) with Priority Flow Control (PFC))
  • RDMA traffic not routable via exiting IP infrastructure
We need a switch with "Data center bridging (DCB) with Priority Flow Control (PFC)" function when we use RoCE.

  • Not an Ethernet-based protocol
  • Requires InfiniBand switches
  • Requires a subset manager (on the switch or the host)
  • RDAM traffic not routable via existing IP infrastructure

To use "InfiniBand", we need InfiniBand switches.

Further information and references:

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights!

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