back to article You know what storage needs? More doughnuts to flatten us up

The hierarchy of adapters, switches, routers and directors involved in storage networking is unwieldy, complex and costly and needs replacing with a flatter scheme of direct connections between servers and storage devices. That’s the networking message from start-up Rockport Networks. It says that current fat tree and spine- …

  1. Simon Harris

    Must be getting old

    When I saw 'more doughnuts' my first thought was 'surely we're not going back to the days of magnetic core storage'!

  2. Bleu

    Bring back

    ferrite-ring memory! Millions and billions of tiny doughnuts!

    Size and energy consumption of the memory units might be little problems.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You youngsters have no idea what we're talking about, do you?

    My thoughts exactly, Simon and Bleu.

    I was thinking someone managed to nano-scale and maybe cool it to superconducting temperatures. I hereby give El Reg the permission to patent the concept.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Storage Dudes are a conservative bunch

    Do we honestly think they'll move away from Fibre-Channel?

  5. Storage_Person

    Fine for Fixed Configurations...

    ...but if you want to expand later on you need to pay up front for a configuration that can handle your largest expected number of nodes. Given the speed of increase of capacity in most shops it's going to be a hard sell unless you're aiming at large specific configurations (e.g. HPC) rather than general-purpose compute.

  6. Steve Chalmers

    Torus has its place, but there are downsides

    The torus approach works best in fixed installations: imagine needing to add a few more devices to an existing, running torus. In the end, when we used even a basic ring back in the early days of Fibre Channel (Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop, or FC-AL), the industry learned quickly that we needed to wire that loop in a star with wiring hubs to make adding/removing/failing/repairing devices straightforward. Even then, loop reconfiguration was disruptive enough that in the end low cost switching (the exact wiring needed for leaf-spine) won out.

    The torus approach also needs to have the failure (immediate workaround, repair, return to normal) cases thought out well. A torus with hardware which forwards through a node in 80ns is doing so in hardware based on tables loaded into each ASIC by some sort of software control plane. There are a lot of "interesting" cases (black holes, forwarding loops, non simultaneous changes to forwarding tables by software, ...) beyond the basic operation described in this article.

    Will be interesting to see where this torus design finds its home, and among what customers.

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