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DPDK Summit 2023: A Technical Synthesis of Networking Evolution

By November 6, 2023Blog

The DPDK Summit 2023 was a showcase of technical breakthroughs and forward-looking discussions in the field of high-performance networking. The summit featured a range of presentations, each diving into new developments and future directions. Here are the highlights from the key talks.

Keynote Session: Welcome & Opening Remarks – Rashid Khan, Senior Director, Software Engineering RHEL Networking, Red Hat

Rashid commenced with a nod to the global audience, addressing the challenges and breakthroughs in DPDK’s trajectory. He extended his gratitude toward the contributions made by the DPDK Board of Governors, the project’s contributors, and the sponsors who fuel the initiative’s progress.

Augmenting P4 Software Pipelines with Accelerators. The IPsec Use-case – Cristian Dumitrescu & Radu Nicolau, Intel Corporation

Intel’s Cristian Dumitrescu and Radu Nicolau presented a method to boost P4 software pipelines using standalone software modules called extern blocks. Focusing on IPsec, they demonstrated how to employ DPDK libraries to add acceleration to P4 pipelines, enabling them to handle IPsec processing in parallel with regular pipeline functions. The IPsec block, working as an accelerator, is seamlessly integrated using packet queues and supports multiple security protocols without needing changes to the P4 pipeline code.

Leveraging DPDK for P4 SmartNIC Applications – ESnet

Sean Cummings and Chris Cummings from ESnet discussed the use of DPDK as an offload engine for P4 SmartNIC applications. They highlighted how DPDK can manage complex packet translations that P4 cannot, using their experience with a SIIT-DC NAT64 translator on FPGAs as a case study.

OVS and Offloading Frameworks Comparison – Red Hat

David Marchand from Red Hat analyzed tc-flower and rte_flow, two frameworks used for offloading complex packet processing to NICs within OVS. He provided insights into the performance and integration status of rte_flow compared to tc-flower.

rte_flow Offload to Virtio – Red Hat

Christophe Fontaine from Red Hat presented the application of rte_flow to virtual interfaces, explaining the benefits and the performance gains achievable, which elevate virtio’s capabilities from 4Mpps to line-rate.

VDUSE Performance Check – Red Hat

Maxime Coquelin from Red Hat compared the performance of VDUSE with other solutions like Vhost-user and VETH pairs in conjunction with Virtio-vDPA, building upon the previous year’s introduction to VDUSE’s architecture.

Cloud Native DPDK vCSR for 5G – Juniper Networks

Kiran KN and Shailender Sharma from Juniper Networks introduced a cloud-native virtual DPDK Cell Site Router (vCSR) designed for the 5G ORAN ecosystem. They detailed its architecture, integration with Juniper’s control plane, and its role in enhancing connectivity in a disaggregated RAN setup.

5G RAN and UPF Acceleration – NVIDIA

Elena Agostini and Gal Cohen from NVIDIA spoke about accelerating 5G RAN and UPF. Elena focused on the NVIDIA Aerial SDK’s use of DPDK for building a 5G software stack, while Gal discussed the benefits of using SmartNICs and DPUs for UPF, highlighting the scalability and performance enhancements provided by DPDK.

ABI Versioning in DPDK – AMD

Ferruh Yigit from AMD provided a thorough explanation of ABI versioning in DPDK. He discussed the application of ABI versioning, a topic that has seen limited use and understanding, offering a step-by-step guide and examples for its implementation in DPDK.

Advancing CI Pipelines: Insights by Aaron Conole of Red Hat, Inc.

Aaron Conole’s session revolved around the evolution of CI pipelines within the DPDK ecosystem. He took the audience through a brief history of CI infrastructure development and outlined the current landscape. The crux of his talk was the envisioned transformation of the CI pipeline into a decisive factor for patch acceptance. 

Using Sharable Mempools for Zero-copy Sharing Between Processes – Bruce Richardson, Intel 

This talk addresses the challenges in high-performance packet processing when multiple DPDK processes need to work cooperatively. Normally, splitting a workload across independent processes involves standard inter-process communication (IPC) methods that can be inefficient, as they usually require multiple data copies and complex descriptor manipulations. 

DPDK and Confidential Computing: A Dive by Zhifei Yang from TikTok

Zhifei Yang presented an intriguing session on integrating DPDK with Confidential Virtual Machines, a critical aspect of cloud security. He emphasized how cutting-edge technologies like AMD SEV, Intel TDX, and ARM CCA are empowering users to deploy services in the cloud without fully trusting the cloud provider. Yang pinpointed the unique challenges of running high-performance DPDK applications within CVMs, from the need for shared hugepages to the current suboptimal state of DPDK’s memory management in such environments.

Introducing Advanced IOMMU and VFIO in DPDK

Chenbo Xia and Yahui Cao from Intel led the conversation with an introduction to the integration of new VFIO and IOMMU frameworks within DPDK. The implementation of IOMMUFD in the Linux Kernel calls for DPDK’s alignment to utilize features like PASID/SSID and DMA Page Fault handling. The new VFIO Chardev framework also opens doors to more efficient VFIO device management, promising to refine DPDK’s hardware interactions.

Integrating Arm64 SVE with DPDK

Ruifeng Wang of Arm China talked about the integration of the Arm64 Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) into the DPDK libraries. This integration promises to enhance computational efficiency for network tasks on Arm architectures, leveraging the SIMD feature.

Challenges in DPDK-Based Application Development

Vivek Gupta from Benison Technologies shared insights into the complexities encountered in the development of various DPDK-based applications. He stressed the need for standard solutions that could ease the process of developing and migrating applications to DPDK.

Rust Meets DPDK: Aiming for Security and Performance

Harry van Haaren from Intel suggested leveraging Rust for DPDK functionalities to combine performance with safety. The use of Rust aims to prevent API misuse and provide an easier configuration experience.

Enhancing DPDK RAS through Application Engagement

Ajit Khaparde of Broadcom discussed improving the RAS features in DPDK by involving applications in the error recovery process. Such involvement is crucial for ensuring systems remain robust and reliable.

Bytebricks: A Leap Forward in VPN Frameworks

William Lam from TikTok introduced Bytebricks, a graph library-powered VPN framework that leverages DPDK for superior performance. The framework shows how to manage timers in a scalable way across multiple cores, with a focus on the implementation of the Wireguard protocol.

Sketch-Based Algorithms for Efficient Network Telemetry

Intel’s Leyi Rong talked about sketch-based algorithms in DPDK for network telemetry, which are essential for detecting large network flows while being memory-efficient and computationally effective.

DPDK Graph Library: An In-Depth Look

Jerin Jacob from Marvell provided a detailed overview of the DPDK graph library’s design and implementation, a feature that has enhanced DPDK’s data processing capabilities since its release.

Addressing Performance Issues in DPDK Distribution

Sivaprasad Tummala from AMD addressed the performance challenges faced with DPDK’s distribution packaging, which must cater to various CPU architectures, often at the cost of optimal performance.

dperf: Revolutionizing Network Load Testing

Lastly, Jianzhang Peng from Timeresearch showcased dperf, a network load tester based on DPDK that significantly outperforms traditional testing methods in performance, convenience, and cost.

DTS Working Group Update – Honnappa Nagarahalli, Arm; Juraj Linkes, Pantheon Technologies & Patrick Robb, UNH IOL Lab

The DTS Working Group update was an opportunity to understand the work that had been accomplished, the challenges that had been faced, and what lay ahead. Honnappa Nagarahalli, Juraj Linkes, and Patrick Robb discussed the tangible outcomes of their collaborations, the intricacies of their current projects, and provided a roadmap for future releases. Their talk delved into technical details and discussed how the group’s work aligned with the broader goals of DPDK.

DPI-enhanced DPDK for 5G User Plane – Tobias Roeder, ipoque, a Rohde & Schwarz company

Tobias Roeder’s presentation on DPI-enhanced DPDK threw a spotlight on the intersection of DPDK and 5G technologies. He delved into how deep packet inspection (DPI) could augment DPDK’s capabilities, particularly for the user plane in 5G networks. He talked about the successful application cases, performance benchmarks, and how the integration of DPI with DPDK features like rte_flow and RSS was contributing to the 5G revolution. His presentation rounded out with practical insights from deployments and simulations that mirrored current 5G user behaviors, providing attendees with a grounded perspective on the technology’s current and future impacts.

Closing Remarks – Thomas Monjalon, DPDK Maintainer, NVIDIA

As the summit came to a close, it was essential to reflect on the wealth of knowledge and innovations that had been shared. Thomas Monjalon, a seasoned DPDK maintainer from NVIDIA, concluded the event with his remarks. He recapped the summit’s highlights, underscored the importance of the community’s contributions, and charted the course for the future development of DPDK. He focused on the collaborative spirit that has been a hallmark of DPDK’s success and acknowledged the emerging trends and technologies that would shape its evolution.