Wind River claims 20X in performance for its Linux Carrier Grade Server platform

May 06, 2014

Bernard Cole-May 06, 2014

Wind River said this week that it has achieved what it calls "industry-leading performance," with its new accelerated virtual switch (vSwitch) integrated within the company's Linux-based Grade Communications Server targeted at network functions virtualization (NFV).

According to Mike Langlois, general manager of the communications business for Wind Rive, the accelerated vSwitch can deliver 12 million packets per second to guest virtual machines (VMs) using only two processor cores on an industry-standard server platform, in a real-world use case involving bidirectional traffic.

"This performance represents 20 times that of the standard Open vSwitch (OVS) software used in typical enterprise data centers," he said, pointing out that when instantiated on multiple cores, this performance is achieved using up to 33% fewer CPU resources than other commercial solutions, with no requirement for specific hardware acceleration.

Langlois said that as network service providers adopt NFV architectures in order to reduce network operating expenses and accelerate the deployment of new value-added services, the vSwitch plays a key function within the infrastructure platform that runs virtualized network functions (VNFs).

OVS is an open source implementation of a distributed virtual multilayer switch and is used to provide a switching stack for hardware virtualization environments and at the same time support multiple protocols and standards used in computer networks.

"The performance of the vSwitch determines the bandwidth of network traffic processed by the VNFs and directly influences the overall cost performance of the platform," he said. "Since service providers will ultimately derive revenue from services based on virtualized applications, it is important to minimize the processor resources consumed by the vSwitch function and maximize the resources available for VNFs."

The 12 million packets per second performance that Wind River claims is based on the use of only two processor cores within a dual-socket Intel Xeon processor platform running at 2.9 GHz.

"This measurement is based on bidirectional network traffic running from the network interface card (NIC) to the vSwitch, through a VM and back through the vSwitch to the NIC," said Langois. "This represents a real-world NFV configuration, rather than a simplified configuration where traffic runs only from the NIC to the vSwitch and back to the NIC (bypassing the VM so that no useful work is performed).

"The performance of the vSwitch is fully deterministic and scales linearly with the number of processor cores allocated to run the function, providing the scalability required for NFV deployments with ongoing changes in bandwidth requirements."

Capable of supporting a number of different unmodified guest operating systems, the Wind River Vswitch implementation uses a standard Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor that runs virtual applications based on the Intel Data Plane Development Kit (Intel DPDK) and running the company's Advanced Virtual Port poll-mode virtual NIC driver. These unique features allow service providers and telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) to leverage the performance, scalability and reliability of the accelerated vSwitch without having to modify and re-validate their existing applications.

As a result, said Langois, the Vswitch makes possible telecom networks that deliver six 9s (99.9999%) reliability and uptime. "For example, the accelerated vSwitch provides fast convergence during live migration of VMs, while minimizing the impact of dirty page updates," he said.

"To allow for optimum resource allocation, it provides deterministic processing performance without the jitter of over 10% exhibited by the standard Open vSwitch. Finally, protocols such as LAG, VLAN tagging, and VXLAN provide the security features that are essential for telecom networks.”

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