Purpose-built hardware appliances for routing, load balancing, firewalling and other network services are giving way to virtual instances designed to run on x86-based servers. This trend is broadly defined as network functions virtualization (NFV).
It’s part of the shift toward ‘software-defined’ environments where an orchestration system invokes a series of network functions to deliver a set of services to a consumer.
The trend is taking hold in part because x86-based machines are cheaper and easier to scale than specialized hardware appliances.
However, a challenge with hypervisor networking is performance. How do you get the throughput you need out of an x86 server when the tastiest hardware bits of the CPU core and NICs are abstracted away?
Today on Packet Pushers Priority Queue, we’re going to discuss the hypervisor performance bottleneck, some of the workarounds that exist today, and the commercial-grade virtual acceleration for hypervisor networking with our sponsor, 6WIND. Yann Rapaport, product manager at 6WIND, joins us for the discussion.
We’ll talk about the reasons why virtual switches struggle to fill physical pipes, walk through the packet flow through a hypervisor, and talk about packet processing in Linux. We’ll look at some of the efforts to address performance issues, including SR-IOV, and OVS with DPDK.
We also drill into 6WIND’s technology, including Virtual Accelerator, Turbo Router, and Turbo IPSec.
For more information about 6WIND, see the Packet Pushers blog 6WIND Offering Accelerated L3 Virtual Appliances.
Hardware Versus Software Switching – 6WIND Whitepaper
6WIND Offering Accelerated L3 Virtual Appliances – Packet Pushers