Getting the Best of Both Worlds with Queue Splitting (Bifurcated Driver)

The Linux networking stack has many features that are essential for IoT (Internet of Things) and data center networking, such as filtering, connection tracking, memory management, VLANs, overlay, and process isolation. These features come with a small overhead of latency and throughput for tiny packets at line rate.

DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit) allows access to the hardware directly from applications, bypassing the Linux networking stack. This reduces latency and allows more packets to be processed. However, many features that Linux provides are not available with DPDK.

What if there was a way to have ultra low latency and high throughput for some traffic, and full feature-set from Linux networking, all at the same time? This “utopia” is now possible with Queue Splitting (Bifurcated Driver).

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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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Red Hat Delivers Leading Application Performance with the Latest Intel Xeon Processors

With every new Intel Xeon processor generation, the benefits typically span beyond simple increases in transistor counts or the number of cores within each processor. Things like increased memory capacity per chip or larger on-chip caches are tangible and measurable, and often have a direct effect on performance, resulting in record-breaking scores on various standard benchmarks.

There is, however, more to every new processor family launch than meets the eye. These new chips often send a ripple of innovation throughout our ecosystem of partners, forcing them to re-evaluate and re-visit existing performance results and break the status quo. The ability to support these partners is of paramount importance to Red Hat and, as a result, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is often being selected by our partners to support their ongoing benchmarking efforts.

Yesterday, Intel launched the Intel Xeon E7 v3 processor family with several new world record industry-standard benchmarks. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was used in nearly one-third of all results. The following table captures these leading results

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Shaping the Performance of a Linux Distro: Inside Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Backstory

Red Hat’s Performance Engineering team is responsible for the performance of many of Red Hat’s products.  We cover existing products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenStack Platform, OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, as well as newer products like Ceph and CloudForms.

Although these days we contribute extensively to Red Hat’s cloud offerings, Red Hat Enterprise Linux remains a core responsibility as the building block for our ecosystem of customers and partners, plus much of Red Hat’s growing product portfolio.

Prior to beginning efforts on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 in earnest

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux: The Leading Platform for Top-Tier Performance

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. Along the way it has set the industry standard for performance as most recently demonstrated by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 delivering multiple world record-breaking benchmark results at launch. These results showcased close collaboration between Red Hat and our ecosystem of partners.

With history as a backdrop, it should come as no surprise that many of our partners rely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux to support their ongoing benchmarking efforts. Red Hat and Intel have enjoyed a long history of collaboration across a full spectrum of all that is enterprise IT – covering everything from applications running on physical servers to virtualized and cloud-based deployments. In fact, during yesterday’s launch of the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor family

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Beyond the World Records

In a recent post, we reviewed the 10 world record results set by Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family.  Besides showcasing the extreme capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, these performance achievements tell another compelling story – Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become an exceedingly popular choice when it comes to tough workloads.

For example, consider the share of Red Hat Enterprise Linux versus other operating systems used to produce these records. Out of 20 world record benchmark results (22 total submissions, 3 results were tied) posted by eight different OEM partners at the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family announcement, Red Hat Enterprise Linux was used in 12. Seventy-five percent of the hardware vendors taking part in this process chose to publish their world record benchmarks on the new family of processors using Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The chart below shows the significance of this adoption.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Powers Scalable Computing Platforms with 10 New World Record Benchmarks

We’ve often talked about how Red Hat Enterprise Linux was fueling top benchmark results on the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors.

Today, we’re pleased to say that Red Hat Enterprise Linux has again demonstrated how an OS platform can handle the rigors of highly multi-threaded processing and on-demand scaling. In the most recent set of benchmarks done with one of the latest cutting edge processors, the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family, Red Hat Enterprise Linux claims 10 new world records. Here are these leading results at a glance:

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