1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 23, 2017 5:50 AM by ferbs

    Difference between MLNX OFED and "Inbox" ?

    fused

      I've got a question I haven't yet found the answer for.

       

      Why is Mellanox OFED distribution needed at all? For example, take RHEL7.3, they essentially backported 4.4.x-4.5.x kernel stuff and they keep backporting fixes & features from upstream stable kernels, so what's the point?

      I do understand it's needed for very old kernels & userspace, where upstream is gone EOL long ago and nobody cares about that any longer. But what about up to date distros, like Ubuntu 16.04, I see your OFED is actually older (looking at rdma headers) than inhouse stuff.

       

      Does MLNX OFED, as added value, only bring updated drivers for hardware, a couple of funny scripts and nothing else?

       

      Would be wonderful to have a KB article explaining why I should install this thing (quite a lot of packages and kernel modules, btw) vs. just going with inhouse/inbox stuff.

      For ex., I see the following text on your driver page " Inbox drivers enable Mellanox High performance for Cloud, HPC, Storage, Financial Services and more with the Out of box experience of Enterprise grade Linux distributions." So, basically, you're stating Inbox drivers are pretty okay, all that right on MLNX_OFED download page... This is confusing.

      Oh, and one last thing, could you please add the description of term "Inbox drivers", as it's nowhere to be found on your site/KB. The only sane result on google was leading to some MS site explaining inbox vs. outbox. Wound be wonderful to have it here, as you use the term a lot.

       

      Thanks!

        • Re: Difference between MLNX OFED and "Inbox" ?
          ferbs

          The difference between upstream, Mellanox OFED and inbox RHEL drivers is major :

           

          Why is Mellanox OFED distribution needed at all? For example, take RHEL7.3, they essentially backported 4.4.x-4.5.x kernel stuff and they keep backporting fixes & features from upstream stable kernels, so what's the point?

          >>The point is that Mellanox cannot guarantee that most of the latest code that deals with functionality, bug fixes and performance optimizations (not necessarily in scripts that are added on top) related ConnectX-3/4/5 drivers, including ULPs, is included in each OS and kernel. The drivers constantly updating, and submitting and qualifying patches to upstream kernel revolves around a heavy process before it any commit actually gets accepted.  a commit  first gets to be accepted to upstream kernel and then cherry picked to a specific distro kernel. Mellanox OFED provided the options to make sure you are up to date regardless if your use case is IB, Ethernet or just an application using libibverbs.

           

          I do understand it's needed for very old kernels & userspace, where upstream is gone EOL long ago and nobody cares about that any longer. But what about up to date distros, like Ubuntu 16.04, I see your OFED is actually older (looking at rdma headers) than inhouse stuff

          >>That is not always the case. Actually, most of the packages in Mellanox OFED are quite different that the ones that come with RHEL 7.3 inbox driver. Take a look at  IPoIB, libmlx5, and others.

           

          Would be wonderful to have a KB article explaining why I should install this thing (quite a lot of packages and kernel modules, btw) vs. just going with inhouse/inbox stuff.

          >>You don't "have" to install the entire package, For Ethernet you can just use the Mellanox ethernet driver, with an extension of libibverbs if you use RDMA based applications. You can also use Mellanox OFED to specifically cherry-pick packages you need, or alternatavley create your own repository using RPMs that come shipped with it. The point is that you get presented with a number of options, and you get to choose. The recommended version is whatever proves to work with your environment in the most stable way.