NFSv4 Working Group                                      Tom Talpey
Internet-Draft                              Network Appliance, Inc.
Intended status: Standards Track                    Brent Callaghan
Expires: November 8, 2007 January 1, 2008                       Apple Computer, Inc.
                                                        May 7,
                                                       July 1, 2007

                       NFS Direct Data Placement

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   The RDMA transport for ONC RPC provides direct data placement for NFS
   data.  Direct data placement not only reduces the amount of data that
   needs to be copied in an NFS call, but allows much of the data
   movement over the network to be implemented in RDMA hardware. This
   draft describes the use of direct data placement by means of server-
   initiated RDMA operations into client-supplied buffers in a Chunk
   list for implementations of NFS versions 2, 3, and 4 over an RDMA

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
   2.  Transfers from NFS Client to NFS Server  . . . . . . . . . . 2
   3.  Transfers from NFS Server to NFS Client  . . . . . . . . . . 3
   4.  NFS Versions 2 and 3 Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   5.  NFS Version 4 Mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   6.  Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   7.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   8.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   9.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   10.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 8
   11.  Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
   12.  Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements  . . . . .  10 . 9
   Acknowledgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

1.  Introduction

   The RDMA Transport for ONC RPC [RPCRDMA] allows an RPC client
   application to post buffers in a Chunk list for specific arguments
   and results from an RPC call.  The RDMA transport header conveys this
   list of client buffer addresses to the server where the application
   can associate them with client data and use RDMA operations to
   transfer the results directly to and from the posted buffers on the
   client.  The client and server must agree on a consistent mapping of
   posted buffers to RPC.  This document details the mapping for each
   version of the NFS protocol [RFC1831] [RFC4506] [RFC1094] [RFC1813] [RFC3530] [NFSv4.1].

2.  Transfers from NFS Client to NFS Server

   The RDMA Read list, in the RDMA transport header, allows an RPC
   client to marshal RPC call data selectively.  Large chunks of data,
   such as the file data of an NFS WRITE request, MAY be referenced by
   an RDMA Read list and be moved efficiently and directly-placed by an
   RDMA READ operation initiated by the server.

   The process of identifying these chunks for the RDMA Read list can be
   implemented entirely within the RPC layer.  It is transparent to the
   upper-level protocol, such as NFS.  For instance, the file data
   portion of an NFS WRITE request can be selected as an RDMA "chunk"
   within the XDR marshaling code of RPC based on a size criterion,
   independently of the NFS protocol layer. The XDR unmarshaling on the
   receiving system can identify the correspondence between Read chunks
   and protocol elements via the XDR position value encoded in the Read
   chunk entry.

   RPC RDMA Read chunks are employed by this NFS mapping to convey
   specific NFS data to the server in a manner which may be directly
   placed.  The following sections describe this mapping for versions of
   the NFS protocol.

3.  Transfers from NFS Server to NFS Client

   The RDMA Write list, in the RDMA transport header, allows the client
   to post one or more buffers into which the server will RDMA Write
   designated result chunks directly.  If the client sends a null write
   list, then results from the RPC call will be returned as either an
   inline reply, as chunks in an RDMA Read list of server-posted
   buffers, or in a client-posted reply buffer.

   Each posted buffer in a Write list is represented as an array of
   memory segments. This allows the client some flexibility in
   submitting discontiguous memory segments into which the server will
   scatter the result.  Each segment is described by a triplet
   consisting of the segment handle or steering tag (STag), segment
   length, and memory address or offset.

      struct xdr_rdma_segment {
         uint32 handle;    /* Registered memory handle */
         uint32 length;    /* Length of the chunk in bytes */
         uint64 offset;    /* Chunk virtual address or offset */

      struct xdr_write_chunk {
         struct xdr_rdma_segment target<>;

      struct xdr_write_list {
         struct xdr_write_chunk entry;
         struct xdr_write_list  *next;

   The sum of the segment lengths yields the total size of the buffer,
   which MUST be large enough to accept the result.  If the buffer is
   too small, the server MUST return an XDR encode error.  The server
   MUST return the result data for a posted buffer by progressively
   filling its segments, perhaps leaving some trailing segments unfilled
   or partially full if the size of the result is less than the total
   size of the buffer segments.

   The server returns the RDMA Write list to the client with the segment
   length fields overwritten to indicate the amount of data RDMA Written
   to each segment. Results returned by direct placement MUST not be
   returned by other methods, e.g. e.g., by read chunk list or inline.  If no
   result data at all is returned for the element, the server places no
   data in the buffer(s), but does return zeroes in the segment length
   fields corresponding to the result.

   The RDMA Write list allows the client to provide multiple result
   buffers - each buffer maps to a specific result in the reply. The NFS
   client and server implementations agree by specifying the mapping of
   results to buffers for each RPC procedure. The following sections
   describe this mapping for versions of the NFS protocol.

   Through the use of RDMA Write lists in NFS requests, it is not
   necessary to employ the RDMA Read lists in the NFS replies, as
   described in the RPC/RDMA protocol. This enables more efficient
   operation, by avoiding the need for the server to expose buffers for
   RDMA, and also avoiding "RDMA_DONE" exchanges.  Clients MAY
   additionally employ RDMA Reply chunks to receive entire messages, as
   described in [RPCRDMA].

4.  NFS Versions 2 and 3 Mapping

   A single RDMA Write list entry MAY be posted by the client to receive
   either the opaque file data from a READ request or the pathname from
   a READLINK request.  The server MUST ignore a Write list for any
   other NFS procedure, as well as any Write list entries beyond the
   first in the list.

   Similarly, a single RDMA Read list entry MAY be posted by the client
   to supply the opaque file data for a WRITE request or the pathname
   for a SYMLINK request.  The server MUST ignore any Read list for
   other NFS procedures, as well as additional Read list entries beyond
   the first in the list.

   Because there are no NFS version 2 or 3 requests that transfer bulk
   data in both directions, it is not necessary to post requests
   containing both Write and Read lists.  Any unneeded Read or Write
   lists are ignored by the server.

   In the case where the outgoing request or expected incoming reply is
   larger than the maximum size supported on the connection, it is
   possible for the RPC layer to post the entire message or result in a
   special "RDMA_NOMSG" message type which is transferred entirely by
   RDMA.  This is implemented in RPC, below NFS and therefore has no
   effect on the message contents.

   Non-RDMA (inline) WRITE transfers MAY OPTIONALLY employ the
   "RDMA_MSGP" padding method described in the RPC/RDMA protocol, if the
   appropriate value for the server is known to the client.  Padding
   allows the opaque file data to arrive at the server in an aligned
   fashion, which may improve server performance.

   The NFS version 2 and 3 protocols are frequently limited in practice
   to requests containing less than or equal to 8 kilobytes and 32
   kilobytes of data, respectively.  In these cases, it is often
   practical to support basic operation without employing a
   configuration exchange as discussed in [RPCRDMA].  The server MUST
   post buffers large enough to receive the largest possible incoming
   message (approximately 12KB for NFS version 2, or 36KB for NFS
   version 3, would be vastly sufficient), and the client can post
   buffers large enough to receive replies based on the "rsize" it is
   using to the server, plus a fixed overhead for the RPC and NFS
   headers.  Because the server MUST NOT return data in excess of this
   size, the client can be assured of the adequacy of its posted buffer

   Flow control is handled dynamically by the RPC RDMA protocol, and
   write padding is OPTIONAL and therefore MAY remain unused.

   Alternatively, if the server is administratively configured to values
   appropriate for all its clients, the same assurance of
   interoperability within the domain can be made.

   The use of a configuration protocol with NFS v2 and v3 is therefore
   OPTIONAL. Employing a configuration exchange may allow some advantage
   to server resource management through accurately sizing buffers,
   enabling the server to know exactly how many RDMA Reads may be in
   progress at once on the client connection, and enabling client write
   padding which may be desirable for certain servers when RDMA Read is

5.  NFS Version 4 Mapping

   This specification applies to the first minor version of NFS version
   4 (NFSv4.0) and any subsequent minor versions that do not override
   this mapping.

   The Write list MUST be considered only for the COMPOUND procedure.
   This procedure returns results from a sequence of operations. Only
   the opaque file data from an NFS READ operation, and the pathname
   from a READLINK operation MUST utilize entries from the Write list.

   If there is no Write list, i.e. i.e., the list is null, then any READ or
   READLINK operations in the COMPOUND MUST return their data inline.
   The NFSv4.0 client MUST ensure that any result of its READ and
   READLINK requests fits within its receive buffers, lest an RDMA
   transport error result upon transfer.

   The first entry in the Write list MUST be used by the first READ or
   READLINK in the COMPOUND request.  The next Write list entry by the
   by the next READ or READLINK, and so on.  If there are more READ or
   READLINK operations than Write list entries, then any remaining
   operations MUST return their results inline.

   If a Write list entry is presented, then the corresponding READ or
   READLINK MUST return its data via an RDMA WRITE to the buffer
   indicated by the Write list entry.  If the Write list entry has zero
   RDMA segments, or if the total size of the segments is zero, then the
   corresponding READ or READLINK operation MUST return its result

   The following example shows an RDMA Write list with three posted
   buffers A, B, and C.  The designated operations in the compound
   request, READ and READLINK, consume the posted buffers by writing
   their results back to each buffer.

      RDMA Write list:

         A --> B --> C

      Compound request:

                       |                   |                   |
                       v                   v                   v
                       A                   B                   C

   If the client does not want to have the READLINK result returned
   directly, then it provides a zero length array of segment triplets
   for buffer B or sets the values in the segment triplet for buffer B
   to zeros so that the READLINK result MUST be returned inline.

   The situation is similar for RDMA Read lists sent by the client and
   applies to the NFSv4.0 WRITE and SYMLINK procedures as for v3.
   Additionally, inline segments too large to fit in posted buffers MAY
   be transferred in special "RDMA_NOMSG" messages.

   Non-RDMA (inline) WRITE transfers MAY OPTIONALLY employ the
   "RDMA_MSGP" padding method described in the RPC/RDMA protocol, if the
   appropriate value for the server is known to the client.  Padding
   allows the opaque file data to arrive at the server in an aligned
   fashion, which may improve server performance.  In order to ensure
   accurate alignment for all data, it is likely that the client will
   restrict its use of OPTIONAL padding to COMPOUND requests containing
   only a single WRITE operation.

   Unlike NFS versions 2 and 3, the maximum size of an NFS version 4
   COMPOUND is unbounded, even when RDMA chunks are in use.  While it
   might appear that a configuration protocol exchange (such as the one
   described in [RPCRDMA]) would help, in fact the layering issues
   involved in building COMPOUNDs by NFS make such a mechanism

   However, typical NFS version 4 clients rarely issue such problematic
   requests.  In practice, they behave in much more predictable ways, in
   fact most still support the traditional rsize/wsize mount parameters.
   Therefore, most NFS version 4 clients function over RPC/RDMA in the
   same way as NFS versions 2 and 3, operationally.

   There are however advantages to allowing both client and server to
   operate with prearranged sie size constraints, for example use of the
   sizes to better manage the server's response cache.  An extension to
   NFS version 4 supporting a more comprehensive exchange of upper layer
   parameters is part of [NFSv4.1].

6.  Security

   The RDMA transport for ONC RPC supports RPCSEC_GSS security as well
   as link-level security.  The use of RDMA Write to return RPC results
   does not affect ONC RPC security.

7.  IANA Considerations

   NFS use of direct data placement introduces a need for an additional
   NFS port number assignment for networks which share traditional UDP
   and TCP port spaces with RDMA services.  The iWARP [DDP] [RDMAP]
   protocol is such an example (Infiniband is not).

   NFS servers for versions 2 and 3 [RFC1094] [RFC1813] traditionally
   listen for clients on UDP and TCP port 2049, and additionally, they
   register these with the portmapper and/or rpcbind [RFC1833] service.
   However, NFS servers for version 4 [RFC3530] are required by that
   specification to listen on TCP port 2049, and are not required to

   An NFS version 2 or version 3 server supporting RPC/RDMA on such a
   network and registering itself with the RPC portmapper MAY choose an
   arbitrary port, or MAY use the alternative well-known port number for
   its RPC/RDMA service by IANA.  The chosen port MAY be registered with
   the RPC portmapper under the netid assigned by the requirement in

   An NFS version 4 server supporting RPC/RDMA on such a network must MUST
   use the alternative well-known port number for its RPC/RDMA service
   by IANA.  Clients SHOULD connect to this well-known port without
   consulting the RPC portmapper (as for NFSv4/TCP).  The
   following port is number
   assigned to an NFS service over an RPC/RDMA

     nfs-rdma 2050 transport is available
   from the IANA port registry [RFC3232].

8.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank Dave Noveck and Chet Juszczak for
   their contributions to this document.

9.  Normative References

      S. Bradner, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
      Best Current Practice,
      BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

      R. Srinivasan, "RPC: Remote Procedure Call Protocol Specification
      Version 2",
      Standards Track RFC,

      M. Eisler, Ed., "XDR: External Data Representation Standard",
      Standards Track RFC,

      "NFS: Network File System Protocol Specification",
      (NFS version 2) Informational RFC,

      B. Callaghan, B. Pawlowski, P. Staubach, "NFS Version 3 Protocol
      Informational RFC,

      R. Srinivasan, "Binding Protocols for ONC RPC Version 2",
      Standards Track RFC,

      S. Shepler, B. Callaghan, D. Robinson, R. Thurlow, C. Beame, M.
      Eisler, D. Noveck, "NFS version 4 Protocol",
      Standards Track RFC,

10.  Informative References

      Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA),
      Port Registry database,

      T. Talpey, B. Callaghan, "RDMA Transport for ONC RPC"
      Internet Draft Work in Progress,

      S. Shepler et. et al., ed., "NFSv4 Minor Version 1"
      Internet Draft Work in Progress,

      H. Shah et al, al., "Direct Data Placement over Reliable Transports",
      Standards Track RFC,

      R. Recio et al, al., "An RDMA Protocol Specification",
      Standards Track RFC,

11.  Authors' Addresses

     Tom Talpey
     Network Appliance, Inc.
     375 Totten Pond Road
     Waltham, MA 02451 USA

     Phone: +1 781 768 5329
     Brent Callaghan
     Apple Computer, Inc.
     MS: 302-4K
     2 Infinite Loop
     Cupertino, CA 95014 USA


12.  Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements

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