Feature Articles: Initiatives for the Widespread Adoption of NetroSphere
Vol. 14, No. 10, pp. 42–45, Oct. 2016. https://doi.org/10.53829/ntr201610fa8
MAGONIA (Soft Patch Panel): High-speed
|OpenStack: Software developed as open source for building a cloud environment.
|OvS: A virtualization switch developed as open source.
|SR-IOV: A pass-through technology that improves I/O performance in a virtualized environment.
4. Soft Patch Panel
Soft Patch Panel (SPP) is a new technique that enables high-speed and flexible inter-functions to resolve the problems described in the previous section . SPP speeds up processing in a way that differs from the pass-through technology of SR-IOV that directly shows the physical NIC to the VM. In this case, shared memory is provided between VMs, and because each VM can directly reference the same memory area, the copying of packets that creates a bottleneck in a conventional virtualization layer is eliminated (Fig. 2). Moreover, a high-speed technology called the Intel Data Plane Development Kit (Intel DPDK)*4 is used to exchange packets between the physical NIC and shared memory.
Fig. 2. Configuration image of SPP and conventional technique.
Use of this configuration enables SPP to perform as well as or better than SR-IOV. As stated above, when the number of VMs increases and SR-IOV is used, the physical NIC hardware function performs the packet distribution, which means that a physical NIC must be added to obtain sufficient processing performance. In contrast, SPP provides high speed functionality in a configuration where functions are separated from hardware. High performance can thus be obtained without adding a physical NIC, as shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Results of SPP performance assessments.
In this type of configuration, input and output destinations of packets can be changed by controlling each referenced VM memory area via software. This means that SPP implements dynamic exchanges between VMs and between a VM and physical NIC. Thus, network operators do not need to be aware of complex configurations such as memory space, and simple terminal operations are sufficient to make connection changes in real time. This type of connection switching used to be performed by patch panels. SPP now makes available a patch panel in a virtualized network, enabling network control via software.
Use of SPP as basic technology in the infrastructure allows network operators and the middle B to flexibly combine transport service functions in a carrier network without degrading performance.
|Intel DPDK: High-speed technology that omits packet processing in the operating system kernel. Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.
5. Future outlook
SPP is being developed in a collaborative research project with Intel Corporation. NTT and Intel share objectives and directions and discuss product requirements. Then Intel produces a product based on these discussions, and NTT assesses it. The implemented SPP has been made available on the Internet as open source software. Commercialization requires continued comprehensive efforts such as improving security and adding maintenance management functions.
Going forward, we will further improve SPP by utilizing it in various use scenarios and making it even easier to use so that it will contribute to the creation of new services, bring added value, and help to realize the NetroSphere concept.
|Website of Soft Patch Panel,