next up previous
Next: Overview of Trapeze and Up: Network I/O with Trapeze Previous: Abstract

Introduction

  Storage access is a driving application for high-speed LAN interconnects. Over the next few years, new high-speed network standards -- primarily Gigabit Ethernet -- will consolidate an order-of-magnitude gain in LAN performance already achieved with specialized cluster interconnects such as Myrinet and SCI. Combined with faster I/O bus standards, these networks greatly expand the capacity of even inexpensive PCs to handle large amounts of data for scalable computing, network services, multimedia and visualization.

These gains in communication speed enable a new generation of network storage systems whose performance tracks the rapid advances in network technology rather than the slower rate of advances in disk technology. With gigabit-per-second networks, a fetch request for a faulted page or file block can complete up to two orders of magnitude faster from remote memory than from a local disk (assuming a seek). Moreover, a storage system built from disks distributed through the network (e.g., attached to dedicated servers [11,12,10], cooperating peers [3,13], or the network itself [8]) can be made incrementally scalable, and can source and sink data to and from individual clients at network speeds.

The Trapeze project is an effort to harness the power of gigabit-per-second networks to ``cheat'' the disk I/O bottleneck for I/O-intensive applications. We use the network as the sole access path to external storage, pushing all disk storage out into the network. This network-centric approach to I/O views the client's file system and virtual memory system as extensions of the network protocol stack. The key elements of our approach are:

This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 gives a broad overview of the Trapeze project elements, with a focus on the features relevant to high-speed block I/O. Section 3 presents more detail on the adaptive message pipelining scheme implemented in the Trapeze/Myrinet firmware. Section 4 presents some experimental results showing the network storage access performance currently achievable with Slice and Trapeze. We conclude in Section 5.


next up previous
Next: Overview of Trapeze and Up: Network I/O with Trapeze Previous: Abstract
Jeff Chase
8/4/1999