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High-Performance Local Area Communication With Fast Sockets

Steven H. Rodrigues, Thomas E. Anderson, and David E. Culler
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720


Modern switched networks such as ATM and Myrinet enable low-latency, high-bandwidth communication. This performance has not been realized by current applications, because of the high processing overheads imposed by existing communications software. These overheads are usually not hidden with large packets; most network traffic is small. We have developed Fast Sockets, a local-area communication layer that utilizes a high-performance protocol and exports the Berkeley Sockets programming interface. Fast Sockets realizes round-trip transfer times of 60 microseconds and maximum transfer bandwidth of 33 MB/second between two UltraSPARC 1s connected by a Myrinet network. Fast Sockets obtains performance by collapsing protocol layers, using simple buffer management strategies, and utilizing knowledge of packet destinations for direct transfer into user buffers. Using receive posting, we make the Sockets API a single-copy communications layer and enable regular Sockets programs to exploit the performance of modern networks. Fast Sockets transparently reverts to standard TCP/IP protocols for wide-area communication.
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Last changed: 22 Apr 2002 ml
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