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

by   Tianzhu Zhang, et al.

With the ultimate goal of replacing proprietary hardware appliances with Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) implemented in software, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has been gaining popularity in the past few years. Software switches route traffic between VNFs and physical Network Interface Cards (NICs). It is of paramount importance to compare the performance of different switch designs and architectures. In this paper, we propose a methodology to compare fairly and comprehensively the performance of software switches. We first explore the design spaces of seven state-of-the-art software switches and then compare their performance under four representative test scenarios. Each scenario corresponds to a specific case of routing NFV traffic between NICs and/or VNFs. In our experiments, we evaluate the throughput and latency between VNFs in two of the most popular virtualization environments, namely virtual machines (VMs) and containers. Our experimental results show that no single software switch prevails in all scenarios. It is, therefore, crucial to choose the most suitable solution for the given use case. At the same time, the presented results and analysis provide a deeper insight into the design tradeoffs and identifies potential performance bottlenecks that could inspire new designs.


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