System Area Networks (SAN)
Updated: January 16, 2003
A system area network (SAN) is a high-performance, connection-oriented network that can link a cluster of computers. A SAN delivers high bandwidth (1 Gbps or greater) with low latency. A SAN is typically switched by hubs that support eight or more nodes. The cable lengths between nodes on a SAN range from a few meters to a few kilometers.
A SAN network adapter, a transport driver for the network adapter, or a combination of both exposes a private transport interface. However, because most networking applications are written to use TCP/IP through Windows Sockets, they cannot use a SAN directly. The Windows Sockets Direct components in Microsoft Windows operating systems allow these applications to benefit from using a SAN transparently without requiring modification.
Windows Sockets Direct is part of the following Windows operating systems:
Sockets Direct Protocol for InfiniBand Trade Association Specification v1.1
Sockets Direct Protocol (SDP) on InfiniBand has been derived from Microsoft Windows Sockets Direct technology. Microsoft has a pending patent application that it believes is necessary to implement the Sockets Direct Protocol (SDP) portion of the InfiniBand Trade Association Specification v1.1 (InfiniBand Specification). Microsoft may also have additional claims (issued or pending) that are necessary to implement SDP. In accordance with the InfiniBand Trade Association Membership Agreement, Microsoft is providing a license to implement SDP as part of an implementation of the InfiniBand Specification. The license for SDP offered by Microsoft is royalty-free, and covers all claims of patents or patent applications owned or controlled by Microsoft or its affiliates that meet the “Necessary Claims” definition set forth in the license agreement. You should consult your own legal counsel to determine whether or not it is appropriate for you to take Microsoft’s license for SDP at this time.
You may access the Royalty-Free Sockets Direct Protocol License Agreement here. If you would like to enter into this agreement, please print it out, have a person at your company with the appropriate authority sign it, and return it to Microsoft Corporation as directed in the license agreement.