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Current data-centers rely on TCP/IP over fast- and gigabit-Ethernet for data communication even within the cluster environment for cost-effective designs, thus limiting their maximum capacity. Together with raw performance, such data-centers also lack in efficient support for intelligent services, such as requirements for caching documents, managing limited physical resources, load-balancing, controlling overload scenarios, and prioritization and QoS mechanisms, that are becoming a common requirement today. On the other hand, the system area network (SAN) technology is making rapid advances during the recent years. Besides high performance, these modern interconnects are providing a range of novel features and their support in hardware (e.g., RDMA, atomic operations, QoS support). In this paper, we address the capabilities of these current generation SAN technologies in addressing the limitations of existing data-centers. Specifically, we present a novel framework comprising of three layers (communication protocol support, data-center service primitives and advanced data-center services) that work together to tackle the issues associated with existing data-centers. We also present preliminary results in the various aspects of the framework, which demonstrate close to an order of magnitude performance benefits achievable by our framework as compared to existing data-centers in several cases.
Date of Conference: 25-29 April 2006