Open vSwitch (OVS) is a robust, flow-based implementation of a Virtual Switch (vSwitch), which is widely adopted in virtualization environments such as KVM. Since the original implementation in 2009, OVS has continuously evolved with new features to become the most widely adopted vSwitch technology for enabling server-based networking. The Netronome® Agilio® CX SmartNIC platform dramatically accelerates the OVS datapath and works with standard OVS distributions, enabling customers to reap the benefits of open source software including feature velocity resulting from a large community of developers.
Netronome Agilio CX SmartNIC and Agilio software products track the features of standard OVS, which are continuously evolving and include such server-based networking functions such as flexible match/action forwarding, network overlay control with tunneling protocols such as VXLAN and NVGRE, security groups, statistics, and metering. The Agilio CX accelerates OVS processing to enable 5X or more data to be delivered to virtualized applications, while at the same time reclaiming valuable CPU resources that can be used to run more applications. Additional flexibility and feature velocity is provided via the capability to add or extend features through P4 and C-based sandbox programming.
Standard OVS without acceleration struggles with packet processing which ties up valuable server CPU resources and creates a bottleneck that starves applications. Netronome Agilio CX SmartNIC reclaim up to 80% of the server CPU resources previously dedicated to OVS, while at the same time delivering 5X or more of the packet data throughput to more applications. For detailed benchmarking results, see the OVS Benchmarking White Paper.
Server-based networking functions rely heavily on the match-action processing features inherent in OVS. Benchmarking these features is important because they directly impact the performance of critical data center networking functions such as network virtualization, security, load balancing and telemetry. The test setup and the test tools required to effectively benchmark these features can be elaborate. Netronome’s test plan is openly available for use and adoption by the industry.
The standard OVS architecture consists of user space and kernel space components. The switch daemon runs in user space and controls the switch, while the kernel module implements the packet data fast path. Netronome’s transparent offload architecture replicates the packet data fast path on SmartNIC, greatly accelerating the packet throughput by 5X or more, while at the same time dramatically decreasing server load by 50% or more. For further details on Netronome’s Transparent Offload Architecture, see the Agilio OVS Software Architecture White Paper.