OFA Details New Workshop Think Tanks to Tackle Industry’s Grand Challenges

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The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop 2018 is less than two weeks away and the Technical Program Committee (TPC) has finalized the three topic areas that will make up the inaugural OFA Think Tanks – Linux Containers, Remote Persistent Memory over Fabrics, and System Administration and Interoperability of Diverse Fabrics.

As first mentioned in a recent blog, among the many new networking and collaborative opportunities at this year’s Workshop are what the TPC has aptly named “OFA Think Tanks.”

Kicking-off the 2018 Workshop on Monday evening, April 9 at 6 p.m., the OFA Think Tanks will set out to explore and illuminate leading edge networking technical issues dubbed “Grand Challenges.”  The Think Tanks are designed to leverage the insights of Workshop attendees who are knowledgeable about various aspects of networks, but who may not necessarily be experts in the specific area covered by a given Think Tank. Open to all attendees, each Think Tank will work to define its specific industry challenge, identify both opportunities and obstacles, describe a path forward to address the challenge and disseminate its findings on the final day of the Workshop. It is the hope of the TPC and the OFA community overall that these exercises will result in extremely valuable industry collaboration and possibly the creation of new OFA technical working groups or sub-groups.

Below is a brief overview of the OFA Think Tank proceedings and summaries for each “Grand Challenge” for 2018.

OFA Think Tank – Proceedings: 

Monday, April 9
6:00-7:00p.m. Plenary Talk Overview the 2018 Think Tanks, introduction to each facilitator and Grand Challenge.
7:00-9:00p.m. Think Tank Opening Meetings Attendees to break-up into preferred Think Tank groups and begin discussion of assignments and stated goals.
Tuesday, April 10 – Thursday, April 12
  Follow-up Meetings Think Tanks to meet informally as determined by each group.
Friday, April 13
11:00a.m.-12:00p.m. Think Tank Reports Each Think Tank delivers its findings and recommendations.


OFA Think Tank – Grand Challenges:

Linux Containers

  • Challenge – Containers for RDMA are just being implemented. How must they be implemented in order to be of use to you?
  • Abstract – As network containers become commonplace within HPC networks, it is important for the industry to identify key requirements for deploying them in RDMA environments. This Think Tank will set out to define what containers will actually look like as an emerging RDMA deployment model for the existing HPC cluster environments – example: what about a bare metal OS that merely implements kernel support for the hardware and container capability, and then all other cluster jobs come from containers?

Remote Persistent Memory over Fabrics

  • Challenge – Some people think that Remote Persistent Memory over Fabrics is the Next Big Deal. But is it really?  If it is, what is needed to get it off the ground and to drive adoption?
  • Abstract – There has been a lot of buzz in the industry over the last few years related to Persistent Memory but much of that buzz has been associated with local Persistent Memory. There have been efforts to get a discussion about remote PM off the ground, but so far they have been relatively isolated efforts.  This Think Tank is focused on a) understanding if there is interest in remote persistent memory, and b) if so, what is needed to get the effort moving.

System Administration and Interoperability of Diverse Fabrics

  • Challenge – How to deal with the reality of diverse fabrics in modern systems?
  • Abstract – System Administrators are under pressure to deploy new fabric technologies in a continuous quest to improve application efficiency and programmer productivity. Increasingly, that means integrating multiple, heterogeneous fabrics and consequently a need to understand these fabrics and it requires grappling with issues ranging from application transportability to overall system design. System Administrators today are challenged to acquire an understanding of how these fabrics work and how they will behave in a heterogeneous environment. Major problems can arise in identifying the needed documentation and in transferring the accumulated knowledge that has been gained.

Registration is still open for OFA Workshop 2018 in Boulder, CO – April 9-13, 2018. Visit the Agenda and Abstract page for additional information on this year’s program and head to the Registration page to secure your spot.

See you in Boulder!

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