Advantech Puts a Unique Twist on New Technology Evaluation
Test-driving cutting-edge networking gear based on the latest processors with acceleration and high performance I/O has never been easier.


Intel® QuickAssist Technology & the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK)

DPDK is the Data Plane Development Kit that consists of libraries to accelerate packet processing workloads running on a wide variety of CPU architectures.Designed to run on x86, POWER and ARM processors, it runs mostly in Linux userland, with a FreeBSD port available for a subset of DPDK features. DPDK is licensed under the Open Source BSD License.
DPDK was created in 2010 by Intel and made available under a permissive open source license. The open source community was established at in 2013 by 6WIND and has facilitated the continued expansion of the project. Since then, the community has been continuously growing in terms of the number of contributors, patches, and contributing organizations, with 5 major releases completed including contributions from over 160 individuals from 25 different organizations. DPDK now supports all major CPU architectures and NICs from multiple vendors, which makes it ideally suited to applications that need to be portable across multiple platforms.
In a world where the network is becoming fundamental to the way people communicate, performance, throughput, and latency are increasingly important for applications like wireless core and access, wireline infrastructure, routers, load balancers, firewalls, video streaming, VoIP, and more. By enabling very fast packet processing, DPDK is making it possible for the telecommunications industry to move performance-sensitive applications like the backbone for mobile networks and voice to the cloud. It was also identified as a key enabling technology for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) in the original ETSI NFV White Paper. For RES users unfamiliar with DPDK, our RES experts will show how the DPDK can be evaluated. All Advantech platforms integrate support for Intel®QuickAssist Technology, a set of software modules for bulk encryption, data compression, and other workloads critical to networking. As acceleration hardware embedded within the chipset, on PCIe cards, NMCs or FMMs are available, compute-intensive algorithms can be off-loaded from the CPU cores, freeing up processor cycles for application and control processing.
Advantech's platforms built on Intel Architecture (iA) now cover the broadest range of performance, cost and power levels, providing you with both a scalable product range and a dependable upgrade path. The range offers a broad set of features and platforms scale up from entry-level customer premise equipment based on system-on-chip technology to dual processor servers to bladed and hyper-converged servers. Advantech's platform designs ensure that hardware acceleration based on Intel®QuickAssist Technology scale with processing power and system connectivity and as the Remote Evaluation Service offering grows it will span our entire portfolio.

DPDK - Architecture

Figure 1. Data Plane Development Kit Architecture
The key Intel® DPDK elements are buffer and memory management, queue management and packet flow classification libraries, and poll mode drivers for network interface cards (NICs). The DPDK supports a low overhead, run-to-completion model, optimized for data plane performance. The environment abstraction layer includes platform specific guidelines and initialization code, reducing the cost of application porting. The DPDK supports a Linux userspace environment.
The Memory Manager creates a pool in memory space using a ring to store free objects. The Buffer Manager significantly reduces the amount of time the operating system spends allocating and de-allocating buffers. The Queue Manager implements lockless queues, instead of using spinlocks, allowing different software components to process packets, while avoiding unnecessary wait times. Finally the DPDK Flow Classifier uses the Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions (Intel® SSE) to implement hash based flow classification to quickly place packets into flows for processing. This is an efficient mechanism that greatly improves throughput. Poll Mode Drivers for Ethernet controllers are included and are designed to work without asynchronous, interrupt based, signaling mechanisms, greatly increasing the packet pipeline performance.