Pushing the Limits of Kernel Networking

Note: The following post was authored by Alexander Duyck before leaving Red Hat earlier this month.  While Alex will be missed, his work continues in the capable hands of the Networking Services team.  To this end, I encourage you to “read on” and learn more about how we’ve turned up the heat on kernel networking with the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2.


Over the last year I have been working at Red Hat as a part of the Linux Kernel Networking Services Team focused on improving the performance of the kernel networking data path.  Prior to working at Red Hat I had worked at Intel as a driver maintainer for their server drivers including ixgbe.  This has put me in a unique position to be able to provide tuning advice for both the network stack and the Intel device drivers.  Last month, at LinuxCon North America, I gave a presentation that summarizes most of the work that has been done to improve network performance in the last year, and the performance gains as seen by comparing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 versus an early (alpha) release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2.  The following is a recap of what I covered.

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If You Like Bonding, You Will Love Teaming

In this day and age, where almost everything is connected to the World Wide Web, the demands on networking (in general) are mushrooming. In the developed world it’s common to be able to get 20 megabits per second connections on our mobile devices and 50 megabits per second connections at home. By extension, the demands on enterprise data centers are even higher (by at least three to four orders of magnitude) – as these central “hubs” are where traffic from the aforementioned individual end nodes converge. Consider the act of flipping through a series of cloud-hosted HD photos on a mobile device – this can easily result in billions of packets being transferred (in fractions of a second).

The good news is that our networking interfaces are getting “bigger and faster.” 40 gigabit per second Ethernet is currently being deployed, and work to finalize on 100 gigbit per second end point interfaces is currently underway.

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