Mendel says: It is time for low latency

Those of you who have been reading my blog or listening to my various conference talks since I arrived at VMware last year know I have been arguing there is an important convergence underway between HPC and Enterprise IT requirements. In large part this is being driven by fundamental changes within Enterprise computing, specifically the move towards massive, horizontally-scaled infrastructure to deliver scalable services externally in the cloud or internally for strategic business advantage.

As you’d expect with my background, I’ve been looking at this from an HPC perspective, noting that the HPC community has been heavily invested for decades in scale-out cluster provisioning, management, monitoring, etc. And they have built expertise around hardware architectures to support scale-out computing, most particularly in the design of high-performance interconnect fabrics. These fabrics support the link-level bandwidths and latencies as well as the fabric bisection bandwidths needed to enable both highly-parallel computations as well as ubiquitous, high-performance access to shared resources like storage in a high-scale environment.

Imagine my delight when I came across a position paper espousing the same view titled It’s Time for Low Latency by Stephen Rumble, Ryan Stutsman, Mendel Rosenblum, and John Ousterhout that was presented at HotOS ’11 (http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~rumble/papers/latency_hotos11.pdf). And what a coincidence that the paper’s third author is none other than VMware’s well known co-founder, Mendel Rosenblum.

The paper approaches the importance of low latency from an Enterprise perspective, citing numerous reasons why a high-performance interconnect will benefit the modern datacenter and its applications. The paper is styled as a call to action for OS and system designers to heed the need to pay significant attention to making low latency communication available to current and emerging Enterprise applications, including Big Data applications.

The paper is a quick read and well worth the time.

Josh Simons, VMware

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