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Afterburner: Architectural Support for High-Performance Protocols

Dalton, Chris; Watson, Greg; Banks, David; Calamvokis, Costas; Edwards, Aled; Lumley, John



Abstract: Current workstations are often unable to make link- level bandwidth available to user applications. We argue that this poor performance is caused by unneces- coping of data by the various network protocols. We describe three techniques that can reduce the num- ber of copies performed, and we explore one - the single copy technique - in further details. We present a novel network-independent card, called Afterburner, that can support a single-copy stack at rates up to 1 Gbits/s. We describe the modifications that were made to the current implementatioins of protocols in order to achieve a single copy between application buffers and the network card. Finally, we give the measured performance obtained by applications using TCP/IP and the Afterburner card for large data transfers.

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