GRID computing enables applications to be executed on an arbitrary computer in an intranet or cluster. This performs well for applications that have a limited set of input or output data. Applications that require accessing large amounts of data have traditionally been less well suited for such an architecture due to slow access to the data. This is especially true for Windows applications. These applications require an infrastructure that either copies data to the node before the application starts, or directly maps a remote network drive so the data can be accessed remotely from the application. The first case requires a network capable of streaming large chunks of data at high speed and local storage to temporary store the data. The latter case requires high streaming capacity or low latency access to data or both, depending on the application data access pattern. Either case can be set up using regular Window mechanisms and standard networking protocols (TCP/IP). Performance problems arise however because the networking and remote file system accesses include large protocol processing overhead and latency which significantly delay the application in completing its job. Replacing Gigabit Ethernet with 10Gigabit Ethernet as the remote connection medium will partly improve the streaming capabilities, but as the amount of CPU processing power needed per byte transferred is constant and independent of the Ethernet technology used, both the system overhead and the latency will remain high due to the processing overhead in the TCP/IP protocols.
The Dolphin Express Fast File Transfer technology overcomes these performance problems by safely bypassing the network- and operating system- protocols used for regular remote file access. The Dolphin Express hardware provides the underlying reliable system interconnect that enables applications to safely complete these file operations using a tiny user space software library. Processing overhead and latency are minimized resulting in up to 7 times faster file transfers than when using Ethernet. Channel bonding of multiple Dolphin Express links is supported for higher throughput and transparent fail-over between multiple channels.
Typical users of the Dolphin Express Fast File Transfer need to quickly move large amounts of data between computers (e.g. for backup, HDTV video processing).
Dolphin Express Fast File Transfer has been demonstrated to fully saturate two 200 MB/s striped raid disk systems. A single Dolphin Express channel connection is measured to provide more than 700 MB/s transfer rate. Channel bonding nearly doubles the performance which results in file transfers up to 7 times the rate of using Gigabit Ethernet. The Dolphin Express software includes options to perform disk and interconnect bandwidth measurements.
Dolphin Express Fast File Transfer is built for the Windows operating system and supports heterogeneous connection to Linux systems as both the application client and file server.
To use Dolphin Express to transfer files to a remote file system, one maps the remote file system using standard Windows 'map network drive' or using NFS with Linux. To establish a connection between Linux and Windows, the remote drive must be mapped using Samba. Dolphin Express will automatically detect mapped drives and offer these for file transfer if they also are connected with Dolphin Express hardware.
The Fast File Transfer capabilities of Dolphin Express can be accessed in several ways:
File operations by drag and drop
Dolphin Express Windows software contains a GUI similar to the standard Windows Explorer GUI where files and directories can be dropped into the GUI window to trigger a remote copy. A picture of the GUI is displayed below.
File operations in the shell
Dolphin Express provides a small utility called dis_copy.exe that enables files to be moved between local and remote drives from within a Windows shell or a bat file.
The Fast File Transfer capability is available now for 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and CCE in the Dolphin Express Windows software bundle version 3.2.2 and newer (64 bit GUI available on request). The Dolphin Express Linux version and channel bonding will be available later. Please check with Dolphin for availability. Dolphin Express Fast File Transfer can be used with any Dolphin adapter card or topology. Please contact Dolphin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information.