These conferences are a great confluence point to show the evolution of the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and the Open vSwitch (OVS) technologies and how they unlock greater value.
DPDK is a set of libraries and drivers for fast packet processing designed to run on multiple processor architectures. As such, it is a foundational enabler for the use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) servers for networking workloads, such as network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networks (SDN). For this reason, DPDK is also the application program interface (API) of choice for commercial Virtual Network Function (VNF) vendors. The use of VNFs on COTS servers is delivering significant total cost of ownership advantages, and companies are using DPDK to optimize and deploy a growing number of applications across Communication Infrastructure, Enterprise, and Cloud Services environments.
OVS is a high quality, multilayer, open source virtual switch designed to enable network automation via programmatic extension, while still supporting standard management interfaces and protocols. Therefore, this project is another foundational component enabling the ongoing virtualization of networks for greater performance and agility.
DPDK Plays Well with Others: Virtualization, Containers, MANO, Ethernet
As DPDK and OVS were designed to “fit in” to the ways customers build and deploy networks and “stand out” with new, differentiating capabilities, network operators are building an open foundation to support new network applications and growth today and in the future.
The ability to “fit in” and integrate with diverse technologies has made DPDK wildly successful. As noted, it has become the industry standard API of choice for high performance and efficient packet processing on general purpose server platforms. Several Data Plane stacks, including FD.io and OpenContrail are optimized on top of DPDK, with Microsoft Windows and VMware providing details at this year’s Summit on how they have integrated DPDK technologies to support DPDK applications.
In the last few years, DPDK has added comprehensive virtualization support to enable NFV deployments, and now is embracing container-centric deployment models. DPDK supports Intel, ARM and Power architectures, as well as a broad selection of Ethernet controllers. Just as vitally, critical management and orchestration (MANO) stacks – (e.g. Openstack, Kubernetes and VMware) support DPDK for workload placement and optimizations.
Open Source Ecosystem Delivering Innovation with DPDK
DPDK is relatively easy to deploy because it integrates and operates across a broad set of environments and works with the tools customers use to manage networks and deploy new applications. And this broad interoperability is also a great example of how the industry can work together—fueled by engagements at conferences and projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.
Ecosystem integration is essential, but so is innovation—and new capabilities, solutions, and proof points are essential to motivate customers to change. DPDK has certainly evolved and advanced, and many DPDK-based solutions will be showcased at these conferences in November.
Some things I was interested to see include:
- DPDK framework extensions to enhance support for other packet processing functions, such as Cryptography (with CryptoDev) and OvS acceleration (including FPGA acceleration).
- New performance capabilities. DPDK delivers in excess of 200Gbps of L3 forwarding throughput on the latest generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor server platforms. And the DPDK and VPP/FD.io programs have demonstrated the industry’s first 1Tbps router on such Intel servers. A major US network operator recently disclosed it measured 30 percent advantage in packet processing applications with these latest generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor-based servers.
- Lastly, we’ve extended of the concept of enabling and workload optimization across the multi-function, cloud-centric network via the Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK), pioneered by Intel but open to the community. SPDK extends the DPDK concept and usage to storage – supporting the rapidly growing cloud-native and hyperconverged segments.
Get in on the Action: Learn about advancements, shape 5G, intelligent edge with DPDK, OVS
These conferences allow us to learn more about such advancements, how we as an industry can continue to collaborate to advance them and how we can best use them in our products and services.
I have no doubt that DPDK and OVS will be key enablers of 5G and Intelligent Edge applications in the coming months. Both will continue to deliver compelling performance while allowing for easier integration into network applications for the next generation network infrastructure.
I invite you all to participate and visit to check out new releases and new advancement from these events to see how the community is rapidly evolving these tools to make them more powerful and useful for a wide array of networking uses.