Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


OVS, DPDK and Software Dataplane Acceleration

Open vSwitch with netdev DPDK

Open vSwitch is a production quality, multilayer virtual switch.

In this talk we discuss the integration of the DPDK dataplane into Open vSwitch. We examine the performance improvements when using the DPDK dataplane in Open vSwitch and the challenges of using an alternative dataplane from the Linux kernel.

Currently DPDK presents the best alternative high speed software data path for support of high speed interfaces in OVS. We have seen DPDK/OVS provide throughput that can compete with hardware switching fabrics at close to 40Gb line rates. However, DPDK presents challenges when compared with the Linux kernel datapath. DPDK lacks refinements available from over 20 years of development of Linux kernel networking and devices. Different semantics in DPDK for provisioning interfaces, the user experience in that they need architecture knowledge for optimum performance, and a challenging debugging environment are a few of these challenges.

For those less familiar, we will begin our talk with a discussion of how DPDK integrates with OVS by way of the netdev API. We will cover how to use, deploy and debug OVS with DPDK. We will cover issues of achieving high performance in real-world scenarios such as host-guest, and guest to guest.

Finally, we talk about the future of supporting ever higher demands for fast packet switching in OVS and the role of DPDK and other paradigms for acceleration.


Photo of Kevin Traynor Kevin Traynor