Multicore CPUs enjoy a wonderful marriage with virtualization, which has revolutionized the way we use computing resources. Multiple virtual machines (VMs) can come and go dynamically on a single hardware platform, allowing new applications and services to be quickly deployed. The concept of eight or more cores of computing power available in a chip is impressive until you realize how many of those cores are not readily available to run your applications because they are consumed with the overhead of managing network traffic. In benchmarking tests run by Ericsson and Netronome, we found that a server using a traditional Ethernet NIC running VXLAN traffic at 2000k PPS per VM can only support four virtual network functions (VNFs), using 16 of its 24 cores to process network traffic. In other words, two thirds of the processing capacity is exhausted by networking overhead.
Netronome solves this problem with the Agilio SmartNIC, which offloads network overhead like open virtual switching (OVS), virtual routing, tunneling and traffic classification, using only one of the 16 available CPU cores to achieve the same throughput. That translates to more CPU capacity, more VMs, additional throughput and greater efficiency for each server. Multicore servers can be wonderful workhorses, and Netronome’s Agilio SmartNICs help them live up to their true potential!