ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology

RDMA

Within Dome, we are working on a way to have one computer look right into another one’s memory, copying and transferring the data only once. This is called RDMA, Remote Direct Memory Access. By minimizing data copy operations, we can save significant amounts of time and energy, both on data transfer and data access.

Let’s say your computer is part of a network. Now, when you retrieve data from another computer in the network, a whole chain of events is set in motion. The data is retrieved, copied various times, transferred to your computer and stored there for you to see. When big data is involved, this takes a lot of time and energy; ergo, it costs a lot of money.

We have designed and implemented a novel RDMA network protocol specifically tailored to the expected SKA workload. First power consumption measurements have confirmed the potential for energy savings using this data transfer protocol, compared to using the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP).