Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


The challenges of XDP hardware offload

To improve the historically mediocre performances of the Linux kernel regarding high-speed networking, the community has been working hard over the last years. In particular, eBPF (extended Berkeley Packet Filter) programs, when attached to XDP (eXpress Data Path) hooks at the driver level, provide a fast in-kernel programmable data plane.

Because XDP is so low-level, the only way to move packet processing further down to earn additional performances is to involve the hardware. In fact, it is possible since kernel 4.9 to offload eBPF programs directly onto a compatible NIC, thus offering acceleration while retaining the flexibility of such programs.

Building the compatible NIC, and optimising the offload process are not trivial. The objective of this talk is to present the current state of eBPF offload, the challenges that have been overcome, and the ones that lay ahead.


Quentin Monnet