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OpenFabrics Alliance Announces Microsoft Inclusion of RDMA Enhanced Storage Capability in Windows Server 2012 Beta

The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) today announced that Microsoft has worked with the OFA community to include Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capabilities in the beta version of Windows Server 2012 (formerly known as Windows Server “8”). This includes RDMA support for remote file access with Server Message Block version 3 (SMB3) and a new kernel bypass RDMA application programmer interface (API). The new Windows Server operating system provides RDMA based file storage for virtualized workloads utilizing Windows Hyper-V and for Microsoft SQL Server 2012, providing support for RDMA over both Ethernet and InfiniBand.

“We are thrilled Microsoft is recognizing the growing industry acceptance of RDMA communications by embracing OFS in Windows Server 2012 including support for both InfiniBand and Ethernet-based RDMA transports, iWARP and RoCE,” said Jim Ryan, OpenFabrics Alliance chair. “This validates the OpenFabrics premise – RDMA-based networks are the future in cloud and enterprise data center applications - highest-speed, lowest latency, most efficient data movement and significant power savings.”

Jim Pinkerton, partner architect in the File Server Technologies development group, described Microsoft's strategy in moving RDMA into broad data center deployments at the recent OFA’s user and developer workshop.

“This move represents a further step in our on-going commitment to making cutting edge technology more accessible to the mainstream,” said Jim Pinkerton. "We have been contributing to the OpenFabrics for Windows community in the HPC space and are now providing the same RDMA capability to key enterprise workloads via the SMB3 file sharing protocol.”

The RDMA hardware and drivers supported in Windows Server 2012 Beta have been developed and tested by key members of the OFA. To date, Microsoft has qualified several 10GbE and InfiniBand adapters from Mellanox Technologies. For more information, see this presentation from this year’s OFA User and Developer Workshop. Windows Server 2012 Beta is available for download at http://technet.microsoft.com/evalcenter/hh670538.aspx.

“We are pleased to work with Microsoft to include InfiniBand and Ethernet drivers within Windows Server 2012 Beta, and to support RDMA-based server and storage interconnect solutions,” said David Barzilai, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “End-user applications utilizing our interconnect solutions, which deliver from 10Gb/s to 56Gb/s throughput, low latency and low CPU overhead, will benefit from a dramatic improvement in their performance, as well as significantly reduced CAPEX and OPEX.”

Stan Smith, OFA Windows Working Group chair, said, "We are proud to have OpenFabrics drivers and protocols ‘in-box’ for the Windows Server 2012 Beta release. End-users, Cloud and Data Center service providers will now be able to benefit from the application acceleration gains and the high efficiency solution Microsoft is now delivering.”

OFS enables RDMA-based networks and fabrics to provide computing efficiencies improvements as high as 92 percent and latencies as low as one microsecond at speeds up to 56Gb/s for InfiniBand and 40Gb/s for Ethernet. OFS also reduces data center power consumption up to 50 percent. OFS works with all major software distributions, is fabric and network independent, runs on all commodity processors, supports sockets and IP, and supports all common SAN, NAS and database access methods.

Cloud and Data Center server infrastructures utilizing OFS commonly experience 10 times performance improvement, 80 percent CPU cycle and power saving and simultaneously delivers potential overall amortized* monthly cost reduction, including CAPEX and OPEX, of up to 30 percent.

*See Presentation: Internet Scale Storage: Microsoft Storage Community – by James Hamilton.

About the OpenFabrics Alliance

The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is a 501(c) (6) non-profit company that develops, tests, licenses and distributes the OpenFabrics Software (OFS) – multi-platform, high-performance, low-latency and energy-efficient open-source RDMA software. OpenFabrics Software is used in business, operational, research and scientific infrastructures that require fast fabrics/networks, efficient storage and low-latency computing. OFS is free and is included in major Linux distributions, as well as Microsoft Windows Server 2012 beta. In addition to developing and supporting this RDMA software, the Alliance delivers training, workshops and interoperability testing to ensure all releases meet multivendor enterprise requirements for security, reliability and efficiency. For more information about the OFA, visit www.openfabrics.org.

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