Understanding Linux Network Stack Overheads for High Speed Networks


Qizhe Cai
Shubham Chaudhary
Midhul Vuppalapati
Jaehyun Hwang
Rachit Agarwal


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Datacenter access link bandwidths have recently increased by an order of magnitude. Building upon the conventional wisdom that kernel network stacks have unsustainable CPU overheads, our community is exploring a multitude of solutions: from partial hardware offload to user-space stacks to specialized hardware design. The design space explored by each of these solutions would benefit from a detailed understanding of precise kernel network stack overheads.
This paper presents analysis and insights from a year-long study on understanding CPU overheads of kernel network stacks for high-speed networks. Our study presents detailed insights on CPU inefficiencies in existing network stacks and has implications on de-
sign of future operating systems, network protocols, and hardware.