May 12, 2020
Agreement will advance industry standardization of open-source fabric management
The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is an open source-based organization whose mission is to develop and promote software that enables maximum application efficiency by delivering wire-speed messaging, ultra-low latencies and maximum bandwidth directly to applications with minimal CPU overhead. The OFA develops, tests, supports and distributes open-source Advanced Network Software – a suite of high-performance APIs and associated software for current and future High-Performance Computing (HPC), cloud and enterprise data centers.
The Gen-Z ConsortiumTM is an industry organization developing an open-systems fabric-based architecture designed to provide high-speed, low-latency, secure access to data and devices. The Consortium is tasked with developing specifications to define memory-centric fabric technology. Gen-Z has established key partnerships with multiple open standards-based organizations as part of an ongoing commitment to innovation and ecosystem advancement.
The OFA and Gen-Z Consortium recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement to advance the industry standardization of open-source fabric management. An open-source fabric management framework that is adaptable to existing and emerging fabrics is beneficial to the industry as it preserves client software investment as fabrics change and as new fabrics emerge.
The intersect between the two organizations is primarily based upon fabric management and the corresponding software. The MoU creates the framework for a series of technical exchange meetings between the two organizations to determine future activities. In keeping with the OFA’s open-source orientation, meetings will be held in an open environment.
Potential activities outlined in the agreement include joint development of a roadmap guiding future enhancements and development of the libfabric API as well as an abstract fabric manager built on the concepts of Distributed Management Task Force’s (DMTF) Redfish® standard. Redfish is a widely adopted infrastructure management interface industry standard that is designed to be scalable, allowing it to target systems ranging in size from small clusters all the way up to the largest HPC systems. Developments supporting fabric management for high-performance memory, processor and accelerator interconnect fabrics will continue to evolve, leveraging the concepts of Redfish.
“The agreement between the Gen-Z Consortium and OFA sets the groundwork for future activities that will benefit both organizations and the industry at large,” said Gen-Z Consortium President Kurtis Bowman. “We look forward to working with the Open Fabrics Alliance in the future to promote and advance open-source fabrics.”
“The OFA is driven by its simple mission statement, which is to accelerate the development, support and adoption of next generation fabrics and fabric interfaces for the benefit of the advanced networks ecosystem – including interconnects such as Gen-Z,” said OFA Chair Paul Grun “A guiding principle of the OpenFabrics Interfaces (OFI) project has been its ‘consumer driven’ approach, whereby development of the libfabric suite is driven by requirements articulated by its consumers. Thus, the OFA believes that collaboration with the Gen-Z Consortium will provide further valuable insights into the uses and applications of the libfabric API, leading to continued improvement in the suite as a whole.”
Gen-Z Consortium releases Fabric Management Specification 0.7 Draft
As an additional example of dedication to this agreement, the Gen-Z Consortium also recently released its Gen-Z Fabric Management Specification 0.7 Draft to the public. The draft specification defines in-band management for composable compute, memory and storage using industry-standard protocols; and outlines key system features and requirements which must be supported by the Gen-Z fabric’s management stack.
The draft specification can be downloaded on the Consortium’s website here.
About the OpenFabrics Alliance
The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is a 501(c) (6) non-profit company that develops, tests, supports and distributes through open source Advanced Network Software – a suite of high-performance APIs and associated software for current and future HPC, cloud, and enterprise data centers. Advanced Network Software is used by business, scientific research, and cloud applications that require fast fabrics, efficient storage and low-latency computing. ANS is open source technology and is included in major Linux distributions and other leading operating systems. The OFA supports ANS through an annual workshop devoted to high performance networking, and offers interoperability testing to ensure interoperability between ANS and vendor-provided solutions. For more information about the OFA, visit https://www.openfabrics.org/
About the Gen-Z Consortium
The Gen-Z Consortium has released 11 publicly accessible specifications, including the protocol Core Specification 1.1, physical layer definitions, form factors and interconnect specifications. The Consortium has also showcased multiple live demonstrations of Gen-Z technology, including remote memory attached across a Gen-Z link. For more information or to join, visit https://genzconsortium.org/