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libfabric support of usNIC in Open MPI

November 17, 2014 at 8:00 am PST

I’ve previously written about libfabric.  Here’s some highlights:

Today, we’re pleased to announce the next step in our libfabric journey: my team at Cisco (the UCS product team) is contributing an open source plugin to Open MPI that uses the libfabric APIs.

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Top 5 Reasons the HPC Community Should Care About libfabric

November 12, 2014 at 10:26 am PST

I’ve mentioned libfabric on this blog a few times: it’s a set of next-generation APIs that allow direct access to networking hardware (e.g., high-speed / low latency NICs) from Linux userspace (kernel access is in the works).

To give you a little perspective: the libfabric APIs are aimed at a lower layer than MPI.  libfabric seeks to unify and extend competing networking APIS – sockets, Linux Verbs, PSM, etc., to allow the production of extremely high performance code that is truly portable.

“…ummm, sure.  Why do I care?” you say.

I’m glad you asked!  Sean Hefty — one of the principal designers of libfabric — and I came up with this handy Top 5 list to tell you exactly why you care.

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usNIC provider contributed to libfabric

October 20, 2014 at 5:54 am PST

Today’s guest post is by Reese Faucette, one of my fellow usNIC team members here at Cisco.

I’m pleased to announce that this past Friday, Cisco contributed a usNIC-based provider to libfabric, the new API in the works from OpenFabrics Interfaces Working Group.

(Editor’s note: I’ve blogged about libfabric before)

Yes, the road is littered with the bodies of APIs that were great ideas at the time (or not), but that doesn’t change the fact neither Berkeley sockets nor Linux Verbs are really adequate as cross-vendor, high-performance programming APIs.

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InsideHPC podcast: MPI collaboration with OpenFabrics

January 30, 2014 at 11:03 am PST

In my last blog post, I described a new collaboration between the MPI community and the OpenFabrics verbs community.

The collaboration started with the OpenFrameworks group asking the MPI community to list its requirements for a lower layer network API to the OpenFabrics OpenFrameworks working group.

In that last blog post, I posted an abbreviated set of slides with the first part of this MPI community feedback.  Since then, I have finished collating the feedback from the MPI community and have assembled a full set of slides.

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A fun thing happened on the way to the OpenFrameworks discussion today…

January 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm PST

A few months ago, Sean Hefty from Intel started an effort to design a new low-level network API to replace libibverbs.

That is, it’s not libibverbs 2.0 — it’s a new API that aims to both expand the scope of what libibverbs did, and also to address many of its much-criticized shortcomings.  Sean and Paul Grun even held a BoF about the proposed “libfabric” at SC’13.

Design discussions have been progressing within the “OpenFrameworks” working group in OpenFabrics. Progress has mainly occurred in the form of emails and weekly conference calls. Two weeks ago, Sean asked me to gather feedback about what an MPI implementation would want from a new underlying network API, and present that feedback to the libfabric group.

So I asked the MPI community.

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