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These pages were last modified 28/6/05.

The Virtual Interface Architecture

The Virtual Interface Architecture (VIA) is an industry standard for system-area user-level networking. Originally proposed by Compaq, Intel and Microsoft, it has received wide support and the same communications model is proposed for Infiniband.

We have developed an implementation that consists of a software layer over the CLAN network interface. The data transfer model is illustrated in the diagram above. When a connection is made between two applications, two message queues are setup between the endpoints to transfer control messages: the transfer queue and cookie queue. Data transfer proceeds as follows:

The functionality we have so far includes the send/receive data transfer model, polling and blocking modes of synchronisation (using tripwires), completion queues and all three reliability levels.

The performance of this implementation of VIA is comparable with existing hardware implementations, and our approach offers a number of advantages over other solutions:

Please note that the techniques disclosed here have been the subject of patent applications.

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