NFV Tests & Trials

Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure Pt. 1

Conclusion of vSwitch test findings
At the end of a full week of in-depth vSwitch testing, including overnight and weekend automated tests (those RFC2544 runs consume a lot of time!), we gathered a tremendous amount of data about Cisco's VPP (both as a pure vSwitch and serving in the XRv 9000 virtual router) and the DPDK-enabled version of Open vSwitch.

vSwitch technology and Cisco's virtual router implementation are definitely getting there. We witnessed a single Haswell or Sandy Bridge core achieve up to 20 Gbit/s Ethernet switching throughput and 2.5 Gbit/s virtual routing throughput. This is really a great step for an industry which, let's not forget, is still in the early stages of a new technology development cycle. It underlines the power of open source development, where many vendors cooperate to progress quickly.

At the same time, the VPP performance results were much more consistent and reliable than those of Open vSwitch. Obviously, the traditional vendor model still has advantages when it comes to quality assurance and when reliable software needs to be bundled for use in mission-critical service provider applications.

The EANTC test is one of the first comprehensive, independent and public vSwitch performance evaluations. The results confirm that the concept of virtual switching and routing in the context of the ETSI NFV virtualization model is feasible.

Cisco's commercial VPP implementation used amazing techniques to get more consistent performance out of the system, while it's clear that the open source solution will soon become usable for large-scale deployments once a few more glitches will have been eliminated.

By the beginning of 2016, there should be no more good reason for using the "passthrough" direct network hardware access method that breaks virtualization concepts.

With the vSwitch test done, EANTC can confirm that the machine room performs as needed. In Part 2 of this NFVi evaluation report, we will take the next steps and look at the other main service provider pain points -- the manageability and reliability of a virtualized infrastructure.

Next page: Cisco and EANTC evolved vSwitch test methodology

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[email protected] 10/22/2015 | 12:03:34 PM
Re: Where is Part2 Part 2 is imminent.... a minor clarification neede dto be verified.

NPUArchi20846 10/20/2015 | 5:25:21 PM
Where is Part2 "Part 2, which will be published on Monday October 19"
ashvin213 10/13/2015 | 12:12:27 AM
Some inconsistencies Hi there,


I found some issues that I did not follow:

1.      Throughput in PPS and Gbps don't seem to match. For example, I do not understand how 2.2e6 fps translates to 7Gbps for large frames (it should be around 26Gbps).

2.      Even for small packets, the latencies are in us. Shouldn't they be in ns? The authors claim 20us is in line with ASIC based switches (which I don't think it is. Most hardware switches take a few ns to switch packets. For example, Trident-1 took around 600ns for L3 forwarding and 400ns for L2 forwarding. This was way back in 2009).

3. Adding more MAC addresses must simply increase the memory size. Given that all of these are exact-match tables, I fail to understand