SATAnet

Contents
1 » Unified communications and storage3 » Applications
2 » Approximate comparisons with other interconnects
Unified communications and storage PCB

Through a single interface and single protocol, SATAnet unifies both remote storage and high-performance networking between multiple computers.

  • Compatible with any system which can use Serial ATA hard discs (not just PCs).
  • Recognised by BIOSes as a standard SATA disc.
  • Recognised and used by operating systems as a standard SATA disc.
  • Install, boot, and use any OS (inc. Microsoft™ Windows™) transparently over the network.
  • Manage network-wide storage in a centralised way.
  • Implement transparent distributed RAID for speed and fault tolerance.
  • Run multicomputer/clustering software directly over the same interface.
  • Packet-based communication with circuit-switching option.
  • Support for TCP/IP and MPI under Linux.
  • Configurable “in-flight processing” — transform and manipulate data packets as they pass through the network.
  • Algorithm control — let the network co-ordinate the synchronisations and scheduling of your algorithm.
  • “Intelligent storage” allows arbitrarily powerful storage facilities, including self-modifying files and even mounting the entire world-wide web as if it were stored on a local disc.

Special features

Serial ATA is now a ubiquitous interface for local disc drives, i.e. connecting drives directly to a motherboard. However, there are times when having a local disc is undesireable — in particular they generate substantial noise and heat.

Now, the invention of SATAnet allows remote storage to be accessed exactly as if it were a local disc. No changes are needed to the BIOS or Operating System, and nor is there any need for additional drivers. This gives local disc speeds with remote storage benefits.

Through inventive use of the Serial ATA protocol, SATAnet provides complete networking capabilities between two or more computers, most notably useful in High-Performance Computing clusters where there are large benefits of high-bandwidth, low-latency communication combined with remote storage and wide hardware and operating-system compatibility.

Approximate comparisons with other interconnects
Product Bandwidth (MByte/s) Latency (µs)
Myrinet 2000 247 / 495 3.2 / 2.6
Myri-10G 1200 2
Quadrics QsNet 900 1
Infiniband 156 1.3 ~ 2.6
GbE 125 60 ~ 100
10GbE 1250 21
SATAnet (I) 150 ~ 300 1

SATAnet bandwidths will increase as newer, faster Serial ATA standards arise. 450MByte/s and 600MByte/s bandwidths are planned. In addition, multiple ports per node can be utilised, allowing greater per-node bandwidth limited only by the motherboard chipset capabilities and/or PCI/PCI-E SATA expansion cards.

Networking characteristics

Applications
HPC clustersup to ~128 nodes, databases, computation, render farms, simulators
Power-saving clustersPhysically discless clusters, but nodes see a local disc
“Commodity clusters”4-node to 16-node deskside systems for private use by researchers, developers, and enthusiasts
Specialist applicationsApplications which can benefit from hardware accelerated data processing
Intelligent storageCan provide more than normal controllers (e.g. abstraction — discs, internet, etc.; copy on write; dividing physical discs amongst multiple clients; data mining; etc.)

Technology in brief

A cluster communication interconnect which can be utilised without special drivers by any platform which supports Serial ATA connectivity regardless of architecture and operating system.

The unique approach also offers “centralised distributed” storage, allowing a physically remote disc to be accessed as a local disc — reduces heat, noise, and vibration, improves cooling, and removes points of failure within cluster nodes.

Technology reports


SATAnet homepage

Function


Arrangement

Special features

Operating modes

Performance


Networking characteristics

Storage characteristics

Related technology


Cortica

See also


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