[Ofa_boardplus] Jason's draft preso to the Linux Plumbers' Conference

Christoph Lameter christoph at lameter.com
Thu Aug 31 17:37:43 PDT 2017

Which companies are participating in the IWG? It seems that Mellanox
is at this point the overwhelming provider of most of the Infiniband
technology with just minor niches occupied by others. Our own
experience with trying to use technology from Qlogic on a single
system (2011) failed miserably. Intel is moving to Omnipath. Others
simply focus on Ethernet to have a vendor neutral shared standard.

It seems to us therefore (Jump Trading) that there is a trend for
interconnect technology to become vendor specific whereas the APIs to
access the interconnect (RDMA subsystem in the kernel) provide a
common way of using these fabrics by essentially providing a hardware
abstraction layer for fabrics in the Linux Kernel.

Given this I would like to see a list of participants in the IWG and
if its is as dominated as I think it is by Mellanox then we should
slowly shut down the program and focus on the software layer while
continuing to provide a forum for the exchange of innovative ideas
about fabrics.

On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 7:28 PM, Jim Ryan <jimdryan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ok, I think I see your point. Your consciously blending membership dues with
> interop program participation to make a point. I don't want to argue that
> point, but I do want to be painfully clear about something. The approach we
> take is conscious and, for example, specifically contrary to, for example
> the IBTA. We view interop as a program of value to participants who make the
> biz decision to fund it. The IBTA, in contrast, views testing as a member
> benefit available to all based on membership dues.
> Those of us who have been involved with this issue, actually for years,
> share your frustration, if I may characterize it as such, with the apparent
> indifference on the part of the vast majority of members. There have been
> important contributions in the past in the form of donated equipment, but
> I'll quickly ack this has been from a small number of donors and not
> recently. The actual components are, AFAIK, left behind after testing. I
> have requested another call for donations but, for whatever reason, that
> hasn't happened.
> I *do* have to ask you to not use terms along the lines of "membership
> funding"; there is no such thing. There is participant funding and a degree
> of "membership" indifference. I'm trying to ack an element of your argument
> but continue to make the distinction clear.
> Re the quality of testing, that's a challenge for the IWG. One of, if not
> *the* most important thing they're responsible for is quality of testing. If
> something is broken there, I'm not aware of it, and we need to come to
> understand this.
> Finally, I realized I failed to respond to a point you made earlier. It's
> kinda delicate, but important. The OFA is specifically not "chartered" to
> develop specs and the IBTA and others are. There are IP provisions that need
> to exist if this is part of our mission or not. I can give you boring
> details if you want to hear more.
> The reason this is delicate is because the OFIWG has had to go right to the
> edge of what we can do, to use MAN pages to document expected API
> functionality. We have agreed this is short of a spec, but you get the
> point; it's a fine but important distinction.
> I hope this helps, Jim
> On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 4:50 PM, Jason Gunthorpe
> <jgunthorpe at obsidianresearch.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 04:05:49PM -0700, Jim Ryan wrote:
>> > First, Jason, it appears you're working under a misunderstanding
>> > which I think Bill tried to correct, but perhaps he could have used
>> > different words. The interop program is self-funding in the sense
>> > the cost of the testing is borne
>> No, I do understand this very well.
>> The fact IWG participation is optional, and that it is billed on a
>> cost recovery basis, is not relevant to my point. I am observing that
>> of all the funds the membership chooses to send to the OFA, 50% are
>> directed to UNH-IOL (by the direct choice of the membership).
>> While at the same time the membership cannot be bothered to properly
>> equip UNH-IOL to actually test the software, and does not seem
>> interested in the logo program.
>> So, exactly why, is the membership choosing to continue fund this?
>> > Re the logo program being out of date and maybe valueless, I can
>> > simply say two things. I know of vendors for whom this *testing* is
>> > extremely important. I view that info as being confidential so as
>> > loathsome as it is to me, I have to ask you to trust me. Notice I'm
>> > not making the same claim for the logo.
>> From what I can see the testing is far less useful than I assumed it
>> was. Maybe your sources are also operating under poor assumptions?
>> Jason
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