Introduction to the InfiniBand Core Software

InfiniBand support was added to the kernel in 2.6.11. In this paper, we describe the various modules and interfaces of the InfiniBand core software and provide examples of how and when to use them. The core software consists of the host channel adapter (HCA) driver and a mid-layer that abstracts the InfiniBand device implementation specifics and presents a consistent interface to upper level protocols, such as IP over IB, sockets direct protocol, and the InfiniBand storage protocols. The InfiniBand core software is logically grouped into 5 major areas: HCA resource management, memory management, connection management, work request and completion event processing, and subnet administration. Physically, the core software is currently contained within 6 kernel modules. These include the Mellanox HCA driver, ib_mthca.ko, the core verbs module, ib_core.ko, the connection manager, ib_cm.ko, and the subnet administration support modules, ib_sa.ko, ib_mad.ko, ib_umad.ko. We will also discuss the additional modules that are under development to export the core software interfaces to userspace and allow safe direct access to InfiniBand hardware from userspace.

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