Talk: "Scaling the Number of Network Interfaces on Linux" (David Ahern, Nikolay Aleksandrov, Roopa Prabhu)


Linux is a popular OS for network switches, routers, hypervisors and other devices in the data center today. These deployments are using an increasing number of network interfaces, both physical and logical, pushing scaling and performance boundaries with the implementation.

This paper examines problems with increasing the number of network interfaces on Linux. We will mostly look at deployment and configurations on network switches, though the content discussed applies to all Linux deployments.

We plan to cover:

  • Large scale network interface deployment scenarios.
  • Performance data/numbers.
  • Problem areas in the kernel.
  • Possible solutions.
  • Possible solutions to scale netlink notifications and dumps.
  • Managing network interfaces at scale in user space.