LSI Logic demos InfiniBand attached storage prototype

LSI Logic announced that a prototype storage system that connected directly over InfiniBand had been demonstrated. This prototype was a proof of concept of direct attachment of an LSI Logic Storage System over the InfiniBand interface.

Announcement highlights

LSI Logic Storage Systems has provided storage systems both through major OEMs and direct under its MetaStor label. These systems have support SCSI and Fibre Channel attachment and have high performance characteristics. This announcement was a demonstration of taking its MetaStor E4400 system and attaching it to servers over an InfiniBand interface. While not a commercially offered product, the feasibility of having storage directly attached was demonstrated. Additionally, LSI Logic Storage Systems showed their capability in adapting a current technology protect to natively attach to the new interface.

The attachment was accomplished by changing the host interface of the E4400 from fibre channel with the TachLite interface chips to a PCI attached InfiniBand target channel adapter from Intel. The most significant part of this attachment was the ease with which the software was changed to handle InfiniBand. The communication used was Encapsulated SCSI Protocol and specific driver code on the Intel TCA handled the protocol sequences. The LSI Logic Storage Systems software would handle the SCSI commands as is from Fibre Channel and interacted with the driver software for the

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Intel TCA.

The native interface for InfiniBand is a virtual interface architecture implementation where remote DMA is used to transfer data between the target and the host. An alternative is to use encapsulated SCSI protocol to wrapper SCSI commands to be transmitted over InfiniBand. The encapsulated SCSI protocol is most likely to be the implementation for storage devices initially.

LSI Logic Systems demonstrated not only the feasibility of the storage attachment but demonstrated some of the performance improvements expected from InfiniBand.

Evaluator Group comments:

InfiniBand is inevitable for interfaces into high-end servers. Storage attached over InfiniBand will also happen as some point in time. The prototype demonstration proved not only the capability but also the fact that the attachment of existing architectures is relatively straightforward.

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This was first published in November 2001

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