HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

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OpenVMS Cluster Systems

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G.2.1.1 OpenVMS VAX Version 6.0 or OpenVMS AXP Version 1.5, or Later

This section pertains to PEDRIVER running on OpenVMS VAX Version 6.0 or OpenVMS AXP Version 1.5, or later.

The retransmission mechanism is an adaptation of the algorithms developed for the Internet TCP protocol by Van Jacobson and improves on the old mechanism by making both the window size and the retransmission timeout interval adapt to network conditions.

  • When a timeout occurs because of a lost packet, the window size is decreased immediately to reduce the load on the network. The window size is allowed to grow only after congestion subsides. More specifically, when a packet loss occurs, the window size is decreased to 1 and remains there, allowing the transmitter to send only one packet at a time until all the original outstanding packets have been acknowledged.
    After this occurs, the window is allowed to grow quickly until it reaches half its previous size. Once reaching the halfway point, the window size is allowed to increase relatively slowly to take advantage of available network capacity until it reaches a maximum value determined by the configuration variables (for example, a minumum of the number of adapter buffers and the remote node's resequencing cache).
  • The retransmission timeout interval is set based on measurements of actual round-trip times, and the average varience from this average, for packets that are transmitted over the virtual circuit. This allows PEDRIVER to be more responsive to packet loss in most networks but avoids premature timeouts for networks in which the actual round-trip delay is consistently long. The algorithm can accomodate average delays of up to a few seconds.

G.2.1.2 VMS Version 5.5 or Earlier

This section pertains to PEDRIVER running on VMS Version 5.5 or earlier.

  • The window size is relatively static---usually 8, 16 or 31 and the retransmission policy assumes that all outstanding packets are lost and thus retransmits them all at once. Retransmission of an entire window of packets under congestion conditions tends to exacerbate the condition significantly.
  • The timeout interval for determining that a packet is lost is fixed (3 seconds). This means that the loss of a single packet can interrupt communication between cluster nodes for as long as 3 seconds.

G.2.2 HELLO Multicast Datagrams

PEDRIVER periodically multicasts a HELLO datagram over each network adapter attached to the node. The HELLO datagram serves two purposes:

  • It informs other nodes of the existence of the sender so that they can form channels and virtual circuits.
  • It helps to keep communications open once they are established.

HELLO datagram congestion and loss of HELLO datagrams can prevent connections from forming or cause connections to be lost. Table G-1 describes conditions causing HELLO datagram congestion and how PEDRIVER helps avoid the problems. The result is a substantial decrease in the probability of HELLO datagram synchronization and thus a decrease in HELLO datagram congestion.

Table G-1 Conditions that Create HELLO Datagram Congestion
Conditions that cause congestion How PEDRIVER avoids congestion
If all nodes receiving a HELLO datagram from a new node responded immediately, the receiving network adapter on the new node could be overrun with HELLO datagrams and be forced to drop some, resulting in connections not being formed. This is especially likely in large clusters. To avoid this problem on nodes running:
  • On VMS Version 5.5--2 or earlier, nodes that receive HELLO datagrams delay for a random time interval of up to 1 second before responding.
  • On OpenVMS VAX Version 6.0 or later, or OpenVMS AXP Version 1.5 or later, this random delay is a maximum of 2 seconds to support large OpenVMS Cluster systems.
If a large number of nodes in a network became synchronized and transmitted their HELLO datagrams at or near the same time, receiving nodes could drop some datagrams and time out channels. On nodes running VMS Version 5.5--2 or earlier, PEDRIVER multicasts HELLO datagrams over each adapter every 3 seconds, making HELLO datagram congestion more likely.

On nodes running OpenVMS VAX Version 6.0 or later, or OpenVMS AXP Version 1.5 or later, PEDRIVER prevents this form of HELLO datagram congestion by distributing its HELLO datagram multicasts randomly over time. A HELLO datagram is still multicast over each adapter approximately every 3 seconds but not over all adapters at once. Instead, if a node has multiple network adapters, PEDRIVER attempts to distribute its HELLO datagram multicasts so that it sends a HELLO datagram over some of its adapters during each second of the 3-second interval.

In addition, rather than multicasting precisely every 3 seconds, PEDRIVER varies the time between HELLO datagram multicasts between approximately 1.6 to 3 seconds, changing the average from 3 seconds to approximately 2.3 seconds.

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