We got together with Intel and Radware over 6 months ago with the idea of not only simplifying NFV deployments, but also pushing the envelope on NFV performance and cloud computing. The end result was spinning-up a 225 Gbps Radware Alteon ADC within minutes using a GUI, CLI, or REST API.
Cisco’s Data Center NFV Platform Software – Cloud Services Platform 2100
The CSP 2100 is a turn-key NFV and Open x86 KVM software platform for both service provider and enterprise environments. The CSP 2100 is an NFV platform without all the complexities and overhead that come with Openstack deployments. You can start with ONLY one host, then add additional hosts as needed to scale-out.
The CSP 2100 bridges network, server, and security teams by offering several ways to manage and operate the platform. You can manage the platform using a GUI, CLI, REST API, and/or Netconf using Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO).
The CSP 2100 is designed for a variety of use cases in the cloud, data center, point-of-presence (POP), central office (CO), co-location (COLO), carrier-neutral facility (CNF), WAN aggregation, DMZ and extranet, core network, and server farm environments.
Intel Architecture, Software, and Hardware
The Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v3 product family offers the following innovative features in the 22-nanometer (nm) Intel process technology node:
- Accelerated boot and runtime security with little overhead and faster encryption
- Technologies targeting virtual machine integrity improvement during migration and runtime
- Asynchronous dynamic random access memory (DRAM) refresh for memory data protection
- Comprehensive reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features optimized for demanding communications infrastructure needs
The Intel Ethernet Controller XL710 delivers a variety of features, including:
- Software-configurable Ethernet port speed for up to two 40 Gigabit Ethernet or up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity
- Network virtualization overlay stateless offloads for Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation (Geneve), Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN), and Network Virtualization Using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) protocols
- Intelligent load balancing for high-performance traffic flows of virtual machines
- Intel DPDK optimized for efficient packet processing to support NFV
Intel DPDK offers the following features:
- A set of optimized software libraries and drivers that can be used to accelerate packet processing on Intel architecture
- Support for buffer management, queue and ring functions, flow classifications, network interface cards (NICs), poll mode drivers (PMDs), and an environmental abstraction layer (EAL)
Radware Network Functions Virtualization
The Radware Alteon and DefensePro virtual appliances decouple network functions from dedicated underlying hardware, allowing next-generation services on the CSP 2100. Delivering a scalable, ultra-high capacity of up to 225 Gbps per instance (Layer 4) and up to 1 Tbps per cluster, the Alteon virtual appliance for NFV:
- Reduces total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Simplifies network services deployment
- Enables capacity elasticity through a simple license upgrade
- Automates service lifecycle management
A total of 225 Gbps was achieved on a CSP 2100 2RU form-factor solution, which included the following:
- CSP 2100 Software running on a 2RU Cisco UCS C240 M4 Rack Server
- Intel Xeon processor E5-2699 v3 2.30-GHz 145W CPU with 18-core 45-MB cache and DDR4 at 2133 MHz and Intel Xeon processor E3-2600 v3 CPU (two processors). Note: Intel Broadwell processors were not available when testing started, but they will be available in Q3CY16 on the CSP 2100.
- Dual-port 40-Gbps Quad Enhanced Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP+) Intel Ethernet Controller XL710 NICs (six cards total)
- Radware Alteon virtual appliance for NFV
The Alteon and DefensePro VNFs provide highly efficient resource utilization on open-source hypervisors by redesigning the virtualization approach to incorporate new technologies that increase overall performance:
- They bypass the hypervisor’s virtual switch, providing direct and the fast access to the physical NICs of the server based on the Intel PCIe pass-through which is available on the Intel Niantic (Intel 82599 10-Gbps Ethernet controller) and Fortville (Intel Ethernet Controller XL710) NICs.
- They use a fast-packet-processing algorithm for x86 server-based platforms such as the CSP 2100, which is based on the Intel DPDK code.
- They use the non-uniform memory access (NUMA) topology of the host server, which enables the VNF to optimize its performance to the underlying server configuration.
These capabilities enable the Alteon virtual appliance for NFV to reach the industry’s best performance of up to 225 Gbps on the CSP 2100.
Many thanks to Travis Volk and Yaron Antebi of Radware, Ilango Ganga and Jalal Sadreameli of Intel, and Michael Jackson, Ken Hook, and Jim French of Cisco for making this happen.