With all the buzz around NFV (network functions virtualization) and the recent record-breaking attendance at ETSI NFV #4 meeting in Sunnyvale, Calif., (they sold out of seats), it’s clear that both service providers and enterprises are taking a long hard look at NFV and the potential benefits they can reap by doing so.
As I was sitting listening to the presenters in the Performance working/expert group at NFV #4, it struck me that while we’re making good progress, there are still lots of unknowns around performance and consistency of performance in virtual infrastructures. Particularly since many of the virtual network functions (VNFs) will require fast packet handling and consistency in latency and throughput, it becomes all the more critical that we find solutions to the performance challenges.
With that as the backdrop, 6WIND’s publishing of a new white paper on NFV data plane performance is extremely timely. In the white paper, 6WIND discusses how the performance of virtual switches and VNFs can be impacted by core allocation and how their 6WINDGate™ software acceleration solution can benefit NFV deployments, beyond what the standard Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) provides.
In particular, 6WIND’s white paper addresses three main issues that have not received much attention (IMHO):
- Bandwidth of communication between the host OS where the virtual switch resides and the VNFs running in the VMs
- Switching performance of the virtual switch
- Data plane performance of the VNFs in the VMs
All three aspects contribute to the performance (or non-performance) of virtual network functions such as vBRAS (virtual Broadband Remote Access Server), vEPC (virtual Evolved Packet Core) and many Layer 4-7 network functions like firewalls and IPS. Without acceleration on these three fronts, NFV cannot be successful in replacing today’s specialized hardware appliances.
Furthermore, the white paper provides insights into allocation of CPU cores to each of these functions, showing how the right core allocation strategy is critical to ensuring the highest performance from a multicore, multi-CPU server. The examples provided in the white paper are a good read and should inspire some deep thinking for NFV proponents.
For anyone looking at building or deploying NFV solutions and looking for a deeper understanding of the key considerations in virtualizing networking infrastructure, I would strongly recommend you download your complimentary copy of the white paper today.
[sdnpdf pdf=”https://www.sdxcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/6WIND-SDN-NFV-whitepaper.pdf” channel=”6wind” title=”DOWNLOAD COMPLIMENTARY 6WIND NFV WHITE PAPER HERE“]
As well, learn more about NFV and 6WIND by checking out the related articles below.