Automating the Discovery of NVMe-oF Subsystems over an IP Network

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Publish Date: 
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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NVMe/TCP has the potential to provide significant benefits in application environments ranging from the Edge to Data Center. However, to fully unlock its potential, we first need to overcome NVMe over Fabrics' discovery problem. This discovery problem, specific to IP based fabrics, can result in the need for the Host admin to configure each Host to access the appropriate NVM subsystems. In addition, any time an NVM Subsystem is added or removed, the Host admin needs to update the impacted hosts. This process of explicitly updating the Host any time a change is made does not scale when more than a few Host and NVM subsystem interfaces are being used. Also, due to the de-centralized nature of this process, it also adds complexity when trying to use NVMe-oF in environments that require high-degrees of automation. For these and other reasons, Dell Technologies, along with several other companies, have been collaborating on innovations that enable an NVMe-oF IP Based fabric to be centrally managed. These innovations, being tracked under’s Technical Proposals TP-8009 and TP-8010, enable administrators to set a policy that defines the relationships between Hosts and the NVM subsystems they need to access. These policies are then used by a Centralized Discovery Controller to allow each Host to automatically discover and connect to only the appropriate NVM subsystems and nothing else.

  • Explain NVMe-oF’s discovery problem.
  • Review the network topologies that can support the automated Discovery of NVMe-oF Discovery Controllers
  • Explore the differences between a FC SAN and an IP based SAN used to transport NVMe-oF/TCP
  • Understand the proposed discovery process through in-depth review of the discovery protocol.