OpenFabrics Alliance 2021 Virtual Workshop Recap

/ / Consortium News

Annual Workshop Explores All Areas of High Performance Networks and Networking Software, Takes a Closer Look at Emerging OFA Initiatives

The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) wrapped up its virtual workshop last March and once again delivered valuable updates and industry insights to its expanding pool of attendees. Through a collection of technical presentations, Birds of a Feather sessions, and a Keynote, the event sparked engaging discussions within the OFA Community and helped set the stage for two emerging OFA initiatives – the Fabric Software Development Platform (FSDP) and the OpenFabrics Management Framework (OFMF).

The 2021 Virtual Workshop was held from Monday, March 15 – Friday, March 19 and continued to leverage a virtual format given the ongoing challenges stemming from the global pandemic. That said, the OFA plans to resume its traditional, in-person event format in Columbus, OH, from March 14-17, 2022. Additional details on the 2022 OFA Workshop will be available in the coming months.

Synergistic Evolution Across Interconnects and Fabrics to Benefit Future Compute Infrastructure

The OFA was thrilled to have Dr. Debendra Das Sharma of member company Intel Corporation open the event with a keynote, “Evolution of Interconnects and Fabrics To Support Future Compute Infrastructure.” Dr. Das Sharma covered the mega-trends transforming the compute landscape as well as how the evolution of interconnects and fabrics will be critical to enabling the future directions of the industry overall. His keynote generated a lot of attendee questions throughout the address, which set the tone for lively exchanges for the remainder of the workshop program.

For further details, download the presentation slides and view the keynote recording.

A Community Deep-Dive into Emerging OFA Initiatives – OFMF and FSDP

Birds of a Feather sessions have become a mainstay at OFA Workshops in recent years and the 2021 program featured two separate forums highlighting new OFA initiatives that will be pillars for the organization moving forward. An OFA Workshop BoF session is an ideal forum for gauging OFA community interest in an emerging topic, disseminating information on it, and networking with others who share interest in that topic.

First, moderators Michael Aguilar, Paul Grun, Russ Herrell and Jeff Hilland presented updates on the budding OFMF effort, which was first introduced at the OFA Virtual Workshop 2020. At a high level, the OFMF is designed to provide on-demand fabric subnets and route management that match performance requirements for bandwidth, latency, and security. During the session, the moderators provided a sample of Use-Case descriptions that are under development to outline the software functionality of the key components of the Fabric Manager.

In addition to providing a general overview and status update on the OFMF, the moderators pressed attendees to identify further Client and Provider use cases that the OFMF Working Group should be targeting. Furthermore, they emphasized the need to step through the use cases to validate Redfish fabric extensions and develop a proof-of-concept code by the end of the year.  

The slides from the OFMF BoF session are available for download.  

The second BoF session dove into the topic of an OFA Logo Program and was led by Tatyana Nikolova and Doug Ledford. The OFA is currently evaluating the value of a logo program that leverages its new FSDP cluster as the foundation for logo testing. Immediately prior to the BoF, Tatyana gave an introduction into the FSDP for attendees to help set the stage for this discussion. For details on Tatyana’s introductory session, download the slides or view the presentation recording.  

The moderators addressed vendors from the larger ecosystem, gauging their interest in the logo program overall and the requirements that should be met by said program. They also asked network consumers if they see any value to having logo certified hardware and posed a similar question regarding the requirements that should be met.

The slides from the OFA Logo BoF session are available for download.  

View Workshop Presentations and Material on Demand

This year’s virtual program focused on all areas related to high performance networks and networking software, with a special emphasis on the following topics:

  • Networks and the Convergence of HPC, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
  • Evolving Networks in the Commercial World
  • Networking Ecosystem and the Community
  • Networking Technology Nuts and Bolts

As an open source organization, the OFA freely publishes the resulting materials of each annual Workshop for the benefit of the wider networking community. You can find the complete collection of this year’s Workshop presentations and video recordings on the 2021 Virtual OFA Workshop page.

As the OFA Community and networking industry continues to evolve, so too will the annual OFA Workshop to ensure that all opinions, voices, and inputs are heard, considered, and built upon. The OFA values collaboration among its members and the community as a whole. If you have any questions, or suggestions on how to make the next event even better, please email press@

Thank you to the 2021 OFA Virtual Workshop speakers and attendees for their excellent contributions to this year’s program. Also, a special thanks goes out to Intel Corporation, our OFA Virtual Workshop 2021 Gold Sponsor.

We hope to see you in person next year for OFA Workshop 2022!