The Common Communication Interface (CCI)
There are many APIs for connecting and exchanging data between network peers. Each interface varies wildly based on metrics including performance, portability, and complexity. Specifically, many interfaces make design or implementation choices emphasizing some of the more desirable metrics (e.g., performance) while sacrificing others (e.g., portability). As a direct result, software developers building large, network-based applications are forced to choose a specific network API based on a complex, multi-dimensional set of criteria. Such trade-offs inevitably result in an interface that fails to deliver some desirable features. In this paper, we introduce a novel interface that both supports many features that have become standard (or otherwise generally expected) in other communication interfaces, and strives to export a small, yet powerful, interface. This new interface draws upon years of experience from network-oriented software devel- opment best practices to systems-level implementations. The goal is to create a relatively simple, high-level communication interface with low barriers to adoption while still providing important features such as scalability, resiliency, and performance. The result is the Common Communications Interface (CCI): an intuitive API that is portable, efficient, scalable, and robust to meet the needs of network-intensive applications common in HPC and cloud computing.