December 03, 2019

Comparing the Performance of State-of-the-Art Software Switches for NFV

  • Gallo M.
  • Giaccone P.
  • Iannone L.
  • James Roberts
  • Leonardo Linguaglossa
  • Linguaglossa L.
  • Luigi Iannone
  • Paolo Giaccone
  • Roberts J.
  • Tianzhu Zhang
  • Zhang T.

Software switches are increasingly used in network function virtualization (NFV) to route traffic between virtualized network functions (VNFs) and physical network interface cards (NICs). Understanding of alternative switch designs remains deficient, however, in the absence of a comprehensive, comparative performance analysis. In this paper, we propose a methodology intended to be fair and use it to compare the performance of seven state-of-the-art software switches. We first explore their respective design spaces and then compare their throughput and latency performance under four representative test scenarios. Each scenario corresponds to a specific case of routing NFV traffic between NICs and/or VNFs. Our experimental results show that no single software switch prevails in all scenarios. It is therefore important to choose the one that is best adapted to a given use-case. The presented results and analysis bring a better understanding of design tradeoffs and identify potential bottlenecks that limit the performance of software switches.

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