New In-Network Primitives for Accelerated I/O

University of Washington - Systems and Networking Group

We propose to investigate flexible packet processing functionality on NICs and switches and their potential for optimizing high performance networked systems inside the data center. Our work is motivated by two trends. On one hand, the recent surge of network I/O performance has put enormous pressure on software I/O processing components running on end-hosts. At the same time, recent hardware innovations have resulted in technologies that provide flexible, albeit limited, packet processing functionality in NICs and switches. Thus, our research project is to consider implementing on the NICs and switches some of the packet processing traditionally done in end-host software as well as develop new in-network primitives that can significantly optimize the end-host software. We will show how and by how much flexible packet processing can benefit widely used data center server applications and also provide guidance on what features that future iterations of the hardware should provide in order to significantly improve application performance.

Reprinted with permission. © 2015 Netronome.

Arvind Krishnamurthy