1.3 Overview

The SMB2 RDMA Transport Protocol defines a framing for the exchange of arbitrary upper-layer data over RDMA-capable networks in a peer-to-peer fashion. The protocol allows for bidirectional traffic of variable size and does not require any particular upper-layer communication pattern, such as client-server. Accordingly, the protocol is well-suited to support SMB2 exchanges, which exhibit a mix of client and server requests and responses, asynchronous unsolicited messages from server to client, unacknowledged requests such as cancellation, and an extremely wide range of sizes.

RDMA networks provide high-bandwidth and low-latency data services, and adapters supporting RDMA typically provide a local control interface offering extremely low processing overhead for sending and receiving messages. Additionally, the RDMA functions of the network provide for further reduction of overhead by moving bulk data directly between memory buffers on each peer, under the control and protection of upper layers such as SMB2. The results can radically reduce network overhead on a cycles per byte transferred basis.

The SMB2 RDMA Transport Protocol also defines interfaces and peer-visible descriptors for registering buffers which enable RDMA access, advertised to the peer for read or write on a specific connection. These buffer descriptors allow the upper layer to steer direct placement traffic, without requiring the upper layer to interface with the RDMA lower layer directly.

The following figure depicts an initial exchange of traffic beneath a typical SMB2 Protocol stack.

Data transfer

Figure 1: Data transfer