At the Intel Developer Forum in September 2011, 6WIND announced support for the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (see the press release here). Since that time, we have provided expert technical support to a number of OEMs using the Intel® DPDK library to develop high-end networking, telecom and security products.


As many readers of this blog will know, the Intel® DPDK is a set of data plane libraries and optimized NIC drivers, licensed by Intel for incorporation either into high-performance networking stacks (like the 6WINDGate™ packet processing software) or directly into customers’ applications.


6WIND gained extensive experience with the Intel® DPDK library while integrating it into 6WINDGate to achieve industry-leading packet processing performance. As a result of that experience, 6WIND decided to offer Intel® DPDK support to OEMs under two models:


First, we offer an enhanced version of the standard Intel® DPDK library for packet processing applications. This includes a range of value-added enhancements, developed internally as part of our own integration work. These enhancements include: crypto support using the AES-NI instructions; device monitoring and statistics features; support for additional devices such as NICs; bug fixes. We also provide a set of optional add-on modules that provide increased system functionality and performance, in areas such as virtualization and crypto acceleration.


This enhanced version of the standard Intel® DPDK library is maintained by 6WIND and synchronized with Intel’s on-going releases of the baseline library. We provide this library to OEMs worldwide, backed by a variety of technical support models such as standard support and maintenance, professional services for custom software development and comprehensive support for specific Software License Agreements (SLAs).


A number of OEMs, who have chosen to the integrate the Intel® DPDK library directly into their applications, have significantly accelerated their development time while also improving the system-level performance of their products, thanks to 6WIND’s support and assistance.


Our second support/distribution model is for those OEMs who need a full-featured, commercial networking stack that delivers the maximum packet processing performance on Intel® Architecture platforms. To address these needs, 6WIND provides its enhanced version of the Intel® DPDK library pre-integrated into the 6WINDGate packet processing software. This enables OEMs to license a single software solution that has been optimized to fully exploit the features of the Intel® DPDK library while delivering a comprehensive set of high-performance networking protocols (routing, firewall, security, connectivity, QoS, VLAN, protocol termination etc.).


As an example of the performance delivered by 6WINDGate, on a dual-Intel® Xeon® processor E5645 platform with a clock speed of 3.33GHz, running the Intel® DPDK, 6WINDGate delivers over 16 million packets per second, per core of IP forwarding performance, thereby forwarding 10Gbps of network traffic in each core (64-byte packets). This performance scales linearly with the number of cores configured to run 6WINDGate until the maximum bandwidth of the hardware platform is reached. Processor cores not used to run 6WINDGate are available to run value-added application software or Virtual Machines (VMs), resulting in a highly efficient and flexible system for advanced networking equipment.


As in the case of the stand-alone Intel® DPDK library, the 6WINDGate software is backed by a variety of technical support models such as standard support and maintenance, professional services for custom software development and comprehensive support for specific SLAs.


Since announcing our support for the Intel® DPDK library four months ago, we have seen strong interest from OEMs in incorporating it into high-performance networking equipment.


Are you working with the Intel® DPDK? What benefits are you seeing in terms of performance and time-to-market?