3.1. Overview

3.1.1. Tested Physical Topologies

CSIT DPDK performance tests are executed on physical baremetal servers hosted by LF FD.io project. Testbed physical topology is shown in the figure below.:

+------------------------+           +------------------------+
|                        |           |                        |
|  +------------------+  |           |  +------------------+  |
|  |                  |  |           |  |                  |  |
|  |                  <----------------->                  |  |
|  |       DUT1       |  |           |  |       DUT2       |  |
|  +--^---------------+  |           |  +---------------^--+  |
|     |                  |           |                  |     |
|     |            SUT1  |           |  SUT2            |     |
+------------------------+           +------------------^-----+
      |                                                 |
      |                                                 |
      |                  +-----------+                  |
      |                  |           |                  |
      +------------------>    TG     <------------------+
                         |           |

SUT1 and SUT2 are two System Under Test servers (Cisco UCS C240, each with two Intel XEON CPUs), TG is a Traffic Generator (TG, another Cisco UCS C240, with two Intel XEON CPUs). SUTs run Testpmd/L3FWD SW SW application in Linux user-mode as a Device Under Test (DUT). TG runs TRex SW application as a packet Traffic Generator. Physical connectivity between SUTs and to TG is provided using different NIC models that need to be tested for performance. Currently installed and tested NIC models include:

  1. 2port10GE X520-DA2 Intel.
  2. 2port10GE X710 Intel.
  3. 2port10GE VIC1227 Cisco.
  4. 2port40GE VIC1385 Cisco.
  5. 2port40GE XL710 Intel.

From SUT and DUT perspective, all performance tests involve forwarding packets between two physical Ethernet ports (10GE or 40GE). Due to the number of listed NIC models tested and available PCI slot capacity in SUT servers, in all of the above cases both physical ports are located on the same NIC. In some test cases this results in measured packet throughput being limited not by VPP DUT but by either the physical interface or the NIC capacity.

Going forward CSIT project will be looking to add more hardware into FD.io performance labs to address larger scale multi-interface and multi-NIC performance testing scenarios.

Note that reported DUT (DPDK) performance results are specific to the SUTs tested. Current LF FD.io SUTs are based on Intel XEON E5-2699v3 2.3GHz CPUs. SUTs with other CPUs are likely to yield different results. A good rule of thumb, that can be applied to estimate DPDK packet thoughput for Phy-to-Phy (NIC-to-NIC, PCI-to-PCI) topology, is to expect the forwarding performance to be proportional to CPU core frequency, assuming CPU is the only limiting factor and all other SUT parameters equivalent to FD.io CSIT environment. The same rule of thumb can be also applied for Phy-to-VM/LXC-to-Phy (NIC-to-VM/LXC-to-NIC) topology, but due to much higher dependency on intensive memory operations and sensitivity to Linux kernel scheduler settings and behaviour, this estimation may not always yield good enough accuracy.

For detailed LF FD.io test bed specification and physical topology please refer to LF FD.io CSIT testbed wiki page.

3.1.2. Performance Tests Coverage

Performance tests are split into two main categories:

  • Throughput discovery - discovery of packet forwarding rate using binary search in accordance to RFC 2544.
    • NDR - discovery of Non Drop Rate packet throughput, at zero packet loss; followed by one-way packet latency measurements at 10%, 50% and 100% of discovered NDR throughput.
    • PDR - discovery of Partial Drop Rate, with specified non-zero packet loss currently set to 0.5%; followed by one-way packet latency measurements at 100% of discovered PDR throughput.
  • Throughput verification - verification of packet forwarding rate against previously discovered throughput rate. These tests are currently done against 0.9 of reference NDR, with reference rates updated periodically.

CSIT rls1801 includes following performance test suites, listed per NIC type:

  • 2port10GE X520-DA2 Intel
    • L2IntLoop - L2 Interface Loop forwarding any Ethernet frames between two Interfaces.
  • 2port40GE XL710 Intel
    • L2IntLoop - L2 Interface Loop forwarding any Ethernet frames between two Interfaces.
  • 2port10GE X520-DA2 Intel
    • IPv4 Routed Forwarding - L3 IP forwarding of Ethernet frames between two Interfaces.

Execution of performance tests takes time, especially the throughput discovery tests. Due to limited HW testbed resources available within FD.io labs hosted by Linux Foundation, the number of tests for NICs other than X520 (a.k.a. Niantic) has been limited to few baseline tests. Over time we expect the HW testbed resources to grow, and will be adding complete set of performance tests for all models of hardware to be executed regularly and(or) continuously.

3.1.3. Performance Tests Naming

CSIT rls1801 follows a common structured naming convention for all performance and system functional tests, introduced in CSIT rls1710.

The naming should be intuitive for majority of the tests. Complete description of CSIT test naming convention is provided on CSIT test naming wiki.

3.1.4. Methodology: Multi-Core and Multi-Threading

Intel Hyper-Threading - CSIT rls1801 performance tests are executed with SUT servers’ Intel XEON processors configured in Intel Hyper-Threading Disabled mode (BIOS setting). This is the simplest configuration used to establish baseline single-thread single-core application packet processing and forwarding performance. Subsequent releases of CSIT will add performance tests with Intel Hyper-Threading Enabled (requires BIOS settings change and hard reboot of server).

Multi-core Tests - CSIT rls1801 multi-core tests are executed in the following VPP thread and core configurations:

  1. 1t1c - 1 pmd worker thread on 1 CPU physical core.
  2. 2t2c - 2 pmd worker threads on 2 CPU physical cores.

Note that in many tests running Testpmd/L3FWD reaches tested NIC I/O bandwidth or packets-per-second limit.

3.1.5. Methodology: Packet Throughput

Following values are measured and reported for packet throughput tests:

  • NDR binary search per RFC 2544:
    • Packet rate: “RATE: <aggregate packet rate in packets-per-second> pps (2x <per direction packets-per-second>)”
    • Aggregate bandwidth: “BANDWIDTH: <aggregate bandwidth in Gigabits per second> Gbps (untagged)”
  • PDR binary search per RFC 2544:
    • Packet rate: “RATE: <aggregate packet rate in packets-per-second> pps (2x <per direction packets-per-second>)”
    • Aggregate bandwidth: “BANDWIDTH: <aggregate bandwidth in Gigabits per second> Gbps (untagged)”
    • Packet loss tolerance: “LOSS_ACCEPTANCE <accepted percentage of packets lost at PDR rate>”“
  • NDR and PDR are measured for the following L2 frame sizes:
    • IPv4: 64B, 1518B, 9000B.

All rates are reported from external Traffic Generator perspective.

3.1.6. Methodology: Packet Latency

TRex Traffic Generator (TG) is used for measuring latency of Testpmd DUTs. Reported latency values are measured using following methodology:

  • Latency tests are performed at 10%, 50% of discovered NDR rate (non drop rate) for each NDR throughput test and packet size (except IMIX).
  • TG sends dedicated latency streams, one per direction, each at the rate of 10kpps at the prescribed packet size; these are sent in addition to the main load streams.
  • TG reports min/avg/max latency values per stream direction, hence two sets of latency values are reported per test case; future release of TRex is expected to report latency percentiles.
  • Reported latency values are aggregate across two SUTs due to three node topology used for all performance tests; for per SUT latency, reported value should be divided by two.
  • 1usec is the measurement accuracy advertised by TRex TG for the setup used in FD.io labs used by CSIT project.
  • TRex setup introduces an always-on error of about 2*2usec per latency flow - additonal Tx/Rx interface latency induced by TRex SW writing and reading packet timestamps on CPU cores without HW acceleration on NICs closer to the interface line.

3.1.7. Methodology: TRex Traffic Generator Usage

The TRex traffic generator is used for all CSIT performance tests. TRex stateless mode is used to measure NDR and PDR throughputs using binary search (NDR and PDR discovery tests) and for quick checks of DUT performance against the reference NDRs (NDR check tests) for specific configuration.

TRex is installed and run on the TG compute node. The typical procedure is:

  • If the TRex is not already installed on TG, it is installed in the suite setup phase - see TRex intallation.

  • TRex configuration is set in its configuration file

  • TRex is started in the background mode

    $ sh -c 'cd <t-rex-install-dir>/scripts/ && sudo nohup ./t-rex-64 -i -c 7 --iom 0 > /tmp/trex.log 2>&1 &' > /dev/null
  • There are traffic streams dynamically prepared for each test, based on traffic profiles. The traffic is sent and the statistics obtained using trex_stl_lib.api.STLClient.

Measuring packet loss

  • Create an instance of STLClient
  • Connect to the client
  • Add all streams
  • Clear statistics
  • Send the traffic for defined time
  • Get the statistics

If there is a warm-up phase required, the traffic is sent also before test and the statistics are ignored.

Measuring latency

If measurement of latency is requested, two more packet streams are created (one for each direction) with TRex flow_stats parameter set to STLFlowLatencyStats. In that case, returned statistics will also include min/avg/max latency values.