• Published 2007


Meerkat is the result of a minimalist design philosophy, one that attempts to optimize cost/performance and keep design time short. It is at the extreme end of the multicomputer design space, one where all possible communication functions are moved into software, leaving just enough hardware to sustain high internode bandwidth. Chapter 5 showed that despite this minimal hardware, Meerkat performs well. However, statistics gathered by the simulator show that internode bus utilization is low when short messages predominate. In developing Meerkat, we knew that some applications would suffer as a result of our extreme approach. By being less extreme and allowing a slightly more complex network interface, could we retain Meerkat’s essential benefits, yet substantially improve performance on programs that use short messages? The answer proved to be "Yes." This chapter introduces Meerkat-2, a new network interface tailored to circuit-switched interconnects. On all workloads, Meerkat-2 performs better than its predecessor, especially on workloads with short messages. Section 6.1 outlines the models and measurements detailed in this chapter. Section 6.2 describes the Meerkat-2 interface, operating system implications, use of the interface by user-space code, and how Meerkat-2 compares to other network interfaces. Section 6.3 relates performance results of running benchmarks described in Chapter 5 on the network interface alternatives.

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@inproceedings{2007Chapter6T, title={Chapter 6 THE MEERKAT 2 NETWORK INTERFACE}, author={}, year={2007} }