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Our PAM 2021 paper: “What you need to know about (Smart) Network Interface Cards”

In our PAM 2021 paper, we study the performance of (smart) Network Interface Cards (NICs) for widely deployed packet classification operations, focusing on four 100-200 GbE NICs from one of the largest NIC vendors worldwide.

We show that the forwarding throughput of the tested NICs sharply degrades when i) the forwarding plane is updated and ii) packets match multiple forwarding tables in the NIC.

Moreover, we uncover that the standard DPDK rule update API realizes slow & non-atomic rule updates using a sequence of rule insertion and deletion operations.

We solve this problem by introducing a direct in-memory rule update mechanism that achieves 80% higher throughput than the standard DPDK rule update API.

This is joint work with Georgios P. Katsikas, Tom Barbette, Marco Chiesa, Dejan Kostic, and Gerald Q. Maguire Jr.