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Created on Aug 14, 2022

Scope

This document provides background and guidelines on how to evaluate Nvidia Accelerated Network Computing technology through a NAT and Routing network application acceleration in K8s cluster environment.

Abbreviations and Acronyms


TermDefinitionTermDefinition
PFPhysical FunctionDPDKData Plane Development Kit
VFVirtual FunctionCNIContainer Network Interface
SRIOVSingle Root Input Output Virtualization

RDMA

Remote Direct Memory Access
VPPVector Packet ProcessingNICNetwork Interface
PMDPoll Mode DriverDACDirect Attach Copper
DUTDevice Under TestTGTraffic generator
MPPSMillions packets per secondCNFCloud native Network Function
CRDCustom Resources DefinitionSDKSoftware Development Kit
K8sKubernetesNATNetwork address translation
TPTechnology PreviewSWSoftware
VNFVirtual Network FunctionNFNetwork Function

References

kubernetes
kubespray
Nvidia Network ConnectX-6 DX
Nvidia Network DPDK PMD
Cisco Trex - traffic generator
TRex in a few steps using Nvidia ConnectX adapters
DPDK RTE_FLOW
FD.io VPP processing platform

Introduction

Cloud computing is the preferred architecture for modern data centers, including Telecom data centers. Under this architecture, Network Functions (NF) run as a Virtualized or Containerized Network Functions (CNFs or VNFs respectively).
NFs must keep up with the growing demand for throughput, message rate and low and predictable latency coming from technologies such as 5G and AI. As cloud applications, NF greatly depends on the server’s CPUs which are general purpose and not optimized for network application. As a result, a NF may demand many CPU cores to meet the expected performance, leading to a very inefficient implementation or potentially not be able to meet the expected performance at all.
Accelerated Network Computing is an NVIDIA technology allowing to accelerate NFs using dedicate application accelerators located on a Data Processing Unit (DPU) or a SmartNIC. The NF’s application logic (or control plane) continues to run on the host’s CPU while the NF’s data plane is accelerated, through a set of well define APIs, resulting in unprecedented efficiency and performance. Accelerated Network Computing supports cloud and cloud native environments and can be used with modern orchestration frameworks such as K8s, in a multi-tenant environment.

This document demonstrates the use of Accelerated Network Computing to accelerate a sample CNF. This sample CNF implements router application which is accelerated by a ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNIC in k8s cloud environment, using generic standard DPDK APIs.
We will compare the performance and efficiency of the accelerated CNF to a SW implementation of the same CNF based on the popular Vector Packet Processing (VPP) framework.

Accelerating CNF

Accelerated Network Computing is the use of a physical network accelerator such as the Nvidia SmartNIC to perform NF data-plane functionalities, originally performed by the x86 CPU. Such data-plane functionalities include packets classification, packet steering, QoS, NAT, etc.
Accelerating CNF functionalities to the NIC dismisses the CNF from handling the data-plane and by that reduces CPU resources needs and makes room for the CNF to handle additional use cases. The accelerated functions are executed more efficiently on the SmartNIC accelerator than on the x86 CPU. As a result, operations can be executed in higher throughputs, lower latencies and a reduced number of CPU cores, allowing operators to load additional CNF applications on the same servers, or alternatively, use less/cheaper servers.
Beneath figure compares the two approaches. The left system runs the application on the host CPU (SW only) while on the right the application accelerates the data-plane by programing ConnectX-6 Dx application accelerator.


Solution Architecture

Key Components and Technologies


  • NVIDIA ConnectX SmartNICs
    10/25/40/50/100/200 and 400G Ethernet Network Adapters
    The industry-leading NVIDIA® ConnectX® family of smart network interface cards (SmartNICs) offer advanced hardware offloads and accelerations.
    NVIDIA Ethernet adapters enable the highest ROI and lowest Total Cost of Ownership for hyperscale, public and private clouds, storage, machine learning, AI, big data, and telco platforms.

  • NVIDIA LinkX Cables 
    The NVIDIA® LinkX® product family of cables and transceivers provides the industry’s most complete line of 10, 25, 40, 50, 100, 200, and 400GbE in Ethernet and EDR, HDR, and NDR in InfiniBand products for Cloud, HPC, Web 2.0, Enterprise, telco, storage and artificial intelligence, data center applications.

  • NVIDIA Spectrum Ethernet Switches
    Flexible form-factors with 16 to 128 physical ports, supporting 1GbE through 400GbE speeds.
    Based on a ground-breaking silicon technology optimized for performance and scalability, NVIDIA Spectrum switches are ideal for building high-performance, cost-effective, and efficient Cloud Data Center Networks, Ethernet Storage Fabric, and Deep Learning Interconnects. 
    NVIDIA combines the benefits of NVIDIA Spectrum switches, based on an industry-leading application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology, with a wide variety of modern network operating system choices, including NVIDIA Cumulus® LinuxSONiC and NVIDIA Onyx®.

  • Kubernetes
    Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform for deployment automation, scaling, and management of containerized applications.

  • Kubespray 
    Kubespray is a composition of Ansible playbooks, inventory, provisioning tools, and domain knowledge for generic OS/Kubernetes clusters configuration management tasks and provides:
    • A highly available cluster
    • Composable attributes
    • Support for most popular Linux distributions

  • NVIDIA Network Operator
    An analog to the NVIDIA GPU Operator, the 
    NVIDIA Network Operator simplifies scale-out network design for Kubernetes by automating aspects of network deployment and configuration that would otherwise require manual work. It loads the required drivers, libraries, device plugins, and CNIs on any cluster node with an NVIDIA network interface. Paired with the NVIDIA GPU Operator, the Network Operator enables GPUDirect RDMA, a key technology that accelerates cloud-native AI workloads by orders of magnitude. The NVIDIA Network Operator uses Kubernetes CRD and the Operator Framework to provision the host software needed for enabling accelerated networking.

  • NVIDIA PMD
    Poll Mode Driver (PMD) is an open-source upstream driver, embedded within dpdk.org releases, designed for fast packet processing and low latency by providing kernel bypass for receive and send, and by avoiding the interrupt processing performance overhead.

  • TRex - Realistic Traffic Generator
    TRex is an open-source, low-cost, stateful, and stateless traffic generator fueled by DPDK. It generates L4-7 traffic based on pre-processing and smart replay of L7 traffic templates. TRex amplifies both client and server side traffic and can scale up to 200Gb/sec with one UCS.

Servers Role Scheme

Server role and networking description:

  • One compute layer: 

    1. Deployment node

    2. K8s Master node

    3. K8s Worker nodes installed with Nvidia ConnectX-6 DX adapter hosting Testpmd/VPP PODs

    4. TRex server node installed with Nvidia ConnectX-6 DX adapter.

  • Two separate networking layers: 

    1. Management K8s primary network of 1Gb link speed 

    2. High-speed 100Gb Ethernet Nvidia switch for DPDK K8s secondary network

Software Stack Components

Bill of Materials

Deployment and Configuration

Wiring

Trex and worker nodes are connected to a 100GE data plane K8s secondary network.

In addition, the Worker, Master and Deployment nodes are connected to a 1GE management K8s primary network.

Host prerequisites

  1. Install CentOS 8.4 for k8s master, worker and deployment nodes.
  2. Install OFED >= 5.4 on worker node.
    Download latest Nvidia OFED/EN. Download from Nvidia network OFED/EN official download website.
    Install the required libraries and kernel modules by:

    Worker node console
    ./mlnxofedinstall --dpdk
  3. K8s worker node BIOS settings:
    - Set electricity power saving to performance mode
    - Set VT-D flag - on
    - Set Turbo-boost - on
    - SRIOV - enabled
  4. Find which NUMA node is used for NVIDIA NIC (In our example NIC name is ens2f0):

    Worker node console
    cat /sys/class/net/ens2f0/device/numa_node

    Extract list of cores from the same NUMA node used by NVIDIA NIC:

    Worker node console
    lscpu | grep NUMA
  5. Edit worker node grub file for optimal DPDK performance tuning and hugepages:
    core-list include list of cores dedicated only for pods usage. Our example will use cores 4-23. Remaining cores not in the list can be reserved cores for K8sc system. 
    Using isolcpus kernel boot command-line isolates the CPUs from the kernel scheduler. This will ensure that a user-space process will not be scheduled by the kernel.

    intel_iommu=on iommu=pt default_hugepagesz=1G hugepagesz=1G hugepages=32 isolcpus=<core-list>

RDMA subsystem configuration

RDMA subsystem configuration is required on each Worker Node.

  1. Set PF interfaces to link "UP" on boot (In our example NICs ens2f0, ens2f1):

    Worker node console
    sed -i 's/\(ONBOOT=\)no/\1yes/g' /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ens2f0
    sed -i 's/\(ONBOOT=\)no/\1yes/g' /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ens2f1
  2. Set RDMA subsystem network namespace mode to exclusive mode
    RDMA subsystem network namespace mode (netns parameter in ib_core module) in exclusive mode allows network namespace isolation for RDMA workloads on the Worker Node servers. Please create /etc/modprobe.d/ib_core.conf configuration file to change ib_core module parameters:

    Worker node console
    echo "options ib_core netns_mode=0" > /etc/modprobe.d/ib_core.conf
    dracut -f

    Reboot worker server:

    Worker node console
    reboot

    After the server comes back, check netnsmode:

    Worker node console
    rdma system

    Output should be: "netns exclusive"

Installing Kubespray on deployment server

Deployment node console
yum install python3-pip jq git -y
git clone https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/kubespray.git
cd kubespray
pip3 install -r requirements.txt

Deploy K8s cluster with Kubespray

  1. Set local IPs for master and worker nodes and generate configuration file per each:

    Deployment node console
    cp -rfp inventory/sample inventory/mycluster
    declare -a IPS=(192.168.200.3 192.168.200.2)
    CONFIG_FILE=inventory/mycluster/hosts.yaml python3 contrib/inventory_builder/inventory.py ${IPS[@]}

    Validate cluster information in file inventory/mycluster/hosts.yaml and edit in case needed.
    In this example node1 is master node and node2 is worker node. See file example for this deployment:

    hosts.yaml
    all:
      hosts:
        node1:
          ansible_host: 192.168.200.3
          ip: 192.168.200.3
          access_ip: 192.168.200.3
        node2:
          ansible_host: 192.168.200.2
          ip: 192.168.200.2
          access_ip: 192.168.200.2
      children:
        kube-master:
          hosts:
            node1:
        kube-node:
          hosts:
            node2:
        etcd:
          hosts:
            node1:
        k8s-cluster:
          children:
            kube-master:
            kube-node:
        calico-rr:
          hosts: {}
  2. Change deployment parameters in file inventory/mycluster/group_vars/k8s-cluster/k8s-cluster.yml
    Set k8s version to :

    kube_version: v1.21.5
  3. Set RSA key for passwordless ssh authentication for Kubespary server
    Generate RSA key  ~/.ssh/id_rsa :

    Deployment node console
    ssh-keygen

    Copy RSA key to master and worker nodes:

    Deployment node console
    ssh-copy-id root@<Node-IP>
  4. Install K8s cluster:

    Deployment node console
    ansible-playbook -i inventory/mycluster/hosts.yaml  -e 'ansible_python_interpreter=/usr/bin/python3' --become --become-user=root cluster.yml

    Here is an example output of successful installation:

    PLAY RECAP *************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
    localhost                  : ok=1    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0
    node1                      : ok=551  changed=24   unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=1142 rescued=0    ignored=0
    node2                      : ok=350  changed=11   unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=587  rescued=0    ignored=0
    
    Tuesday 24 November 2020  09:31:22 +0200 (0:00:00.029)       0:04:50.249 ******
    ===============================================================================
    kubernetes-apps/ansible : Kubernetes Apps | Lay Down CoreDNS Template ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 14.73s
    container-engine/docker : ensure docker packages are installed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10.24s
    kubernetes/master : Master | wait for kube-scheduler ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 8.52s
    kubernetes-apps/network_plugin/multus : Multus | Start resources ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7.91s
    kubernetes-apps/ansible : Kubernetes Apps | Start Resources ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7.76s
    network_plugin/multus : Multus | Copy manifest files ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4.43s
    network_plugin/calico : Calico | Create calico manifests -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4.37s
    Gather necessary facts ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4.34s
    kubernetes/preinstall : Get current version of calico cluster version ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4.17s
    download : check_pull_required |  Generate a list of information about the images on a node --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4.11s
    network_plugin/calico : Get current version of calico cluster version ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3.88s
    kubernetes/master : kubeadm | Check if apiserver.crt contains all needed SANs ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3.52s
    kubernetes/master : slurp kubeadm certs ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3.27s
    policy_controller/calico : Create calico-kube-controllers manifests --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.98s
    network_plugin/cni : CNI | Copy cni plugins --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.92s
    network_plugin/calico : Start Calico resources ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2.82s
    kubernetes/master : Backup old certs and keys ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.75s
    kubernetes-apps/cluster_roles : PriorityClass | Create k8s-cluster-critical ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.60s
    network_plugin/calico : Calico | wait for etcd ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2.44s
    policy_controller/calico : Start of Calico kube controllers ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.23s
    
    
  5. Set "worker" label for node2:

    Master node console
    kubectl label nodes node2 node-role.kubernetes.io/worker=

NVIDIA Network Operator Installation for K8S Cluster 

Nvidia Network Operator leverages Kubernetes CRDs and Operator SDK to manage Networking related Components in order to enable Fast networking and RDMA for workloads in K8s cluster. The Fast Network is a secondary network of the K8s cluster for application that require high bandwidth or low latency.
To make it work, you need to provision and configure several components. All Operator configuration and installation steps should be performed from the K8S Master Node with the root user account.

Perpetrations

  1. Install Helm on master node server following Helm install documentation.

  2. Install additional RDMA CNI plugin
    RDMA CNI plugin allows network namespace isolation for RDMA workloads in a containerized environment.
    Deploy CNI's using the following YAML files:

    Master node console
    kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Mellanox/rdma-cni/master/deployment/rdma-cni-daemonset.yaml
  3. To ensure the plugin is installed correctly, run the following command:

    Master node console
    kubectl -n kube-system get pods -o wide | egrep  "rdma"
    kube-rdma-cni-ds-c9cml                        1/1     Running   0          22s     1.1.1.2        node1   <none>           <none>
    kube-rdma-cni-ds-cw22n                        1/1     Running   0          22s     1.1.1.3        node2   <none>           <none>
    kube-rdma-cni-ds-dh28z                        1/1     Running   0          22s     1.1.1.4        node3   <none>           <none>

Deployment

  1. Add the NVIDIA Network Operator Helm repository:

    Master node console
    helm repo add mellanox https://mellanox.github.io/network-operator
    helm repo update
  2. Create values.yaml file (example):

    values.yaml
    nfd:
      enabled: true
     
    sriovNetworkOperator:
      enabled: true
     
    # NicClusterPolicy CR values:
    deployCR: true
    ofedDriver:
      deploy: false
     
    nvPeerDriver:
      deploy: false
     
    rdmaSharedDevicePlugin:
      deploy: false
     
    sriovDevicePlugin:
      deploy: false
     
    secondaryNetwork:
      deploy: true
      cniPlugins:
        deploy: true
        image: containernetworking-plugins
        repository: mellanox
        version: v0.8.7
        imagePullSecrets: []
      multus:
        deploy: true
        image: multus
        repository: nfvpe
        version: v3.6
        imagePullSecrets: []
        config: ''
      ipamPlugin:
        deploy: true
        image: whereabouts
        repository: mellanox
        version: v0.3
        imagePullSecrets: []
  3. Deploy the operator:

    Master node console
    helm install -f values.yaml -n network-operator --create-namespace --wait mellanox/network-operator --generate-name
     
    NAME: network-operator
    LAST DEPLOYED: Sun Jul 11 23:06:54 2021
    NAMESPACE: network-operator
    STATUS: deployed
    REVISION: 1
    TEST SUITE: None
    NOTES:
    Get Network Operator deployed resources by running the following commands:
     
    $ kubectl -n network-operator get pods
    $ kubectl -n mlnx-network-operator-resources get pods

    To ensure that the Operator is deployed correctly, run the following commands:

    Master node console
    kubectl -n network-operator get pods -o wide
    NAME                                                              READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE   IP             NODE    NOMINATED NODE   READINESS GATES
    network-operator-1635068237-57c94ff559-fm7kb                      1/1     Running   0          22s   10.233.90.10   node1   <none>           <none>
    network-operator-1635068237-node-feature-discovery-master-ms57h   1/1     Running   0          22s   10.233.90.9    node1   <none>           <none>
    network-operator-1635068237-node-feature-discovery-worker-fqw9g   1/1     Running   0          22s   10.233.96.3    node2   <none>           <none>
    network-operator-1635068237-node-feature-discovery-worker-kh29n   1/1     Running   0          22s   10.233.90.8    node1   <none>           <none>
    network-operator-1635068237-sriov-network-operator-5c9486726pj9   1/1     Running   0          22s   10.233.90.7    node1   <none>           <none>
    sriov-network-config-daemon-gj7zp                                 1/1     Running   0          16s   10.7.215.90    node2   <none>           <none>

High-speed network configuration

  1. After installing the operator, please check the SriovNetworkNodeState CRs to see all SRIOV-enabled devices in worker node.
    In our deployment chosen network interfaces are with name ens2f0,ens2f1To review the interface status please use following command:

    Master node console
    kubectl -n network-operator get sriovnetworknodestates.sriovnetwork.openshift.io node2 -o yaml
    ...
    - deviceID: 101d
        driver: mlx5_core
        linkSpeed: 100000 Mb/s
        linkType: ETH
        mac: 1c:34:da:54:cd:34
        mtu: 1500
        name: ens2f0
        pciAddress: 0000:61:00.0
        totalvfs: 2
        vendor: 15b3
      - deviceID: 101d
        driver: mlx5_core
        linkSpeed: 100000 Mb/s
        linkType: ETH
        mac: 1c:34:da:54:cd:35
        mtu: 1500
        name: ens2f1
        pciAddress: 0000:61:00.1
        totalvfs: 2
        vendor: 15b3
    ...
  2. Create SriovNetworkNodePolicy CR - policy-1.yaml file for first PF interface and  policy-2.yaml file for second PF interface, by specifying interfaces name and vendor in the 'nicSelector' (this example include ens2f0 and ensf1 interfaces):

    policy-1.yaml
    apiVersion: sriovnetwork.openshift.io/v1
    kind: SriovNetworkNodePolicy
    metadata:
      name: mlnxnics-1
      namespace: network-operator
    spec:
      nodeSelector:
        feature.node.kubernetes.io/network-sriov.capable: "true"
      resourceName: mlnx2f0
      mtu: 1500
      numVfs: 2
      nicSelector:
        vendor: "15b3"
        pfNames: [ "ens2f0" ]
      deviceType: netdevice
      isRdma: true
    
    policy-2.yaml
    apiVersion: sriovnetwork.openshift.io/v1
    kind: SriovNetworkNodePolicy
    metadata:
      name: mlnxnics-2
      namespace: network-operator
    spec:
      nodeSelector:
        feature.node.kubernetes.io/network-sriov.capable: "true"
      resourceName: mlnx2f1
      mtu: 1500
      numVfs: 2
      nicSelector:
        vendor: "15b3"
        pfNames: [ "ens2f1" ]
      deviceType: netdevice
      isRdma: true
    
  3. Deploy policy-1.yaml and policy-2.yaml:

    Master node console
    kubectl apply -f policy-1.yaml
    kubectl apply -f policy-2.yaml
  4. Create a SriovNetwork CRs - network-1.yaml and network-2.yaml  files, which refer to the 'resourceName' as defined in SriovNetworkNodePolicy per each PF interface  (in this example, 1.1.1.0/24 and 2.2.2.0/24 defined as CIDR range for high-speed network):

    network-1.yaml
    apiVersion: sriovnetwork.openshift.io/v1
    kind: SriovNetwork
    metadata:
      name: "netmlnx2f0"
      namespace: network-operator
    spec:
      ipam: |
        {
          "datastore": "kubernetes",
          "kubernetes": {
             "kubeconfig": "/etc/cni/net.d/whereabouts.d/whereabouts.kubeconfig"
          },
          "log_file": "/tmp/whereabouts.log",
          "log_level": "debug",
          "type": "whereabouts",
          "range": "1.1.1.0/24"
        }
      vlan: 0
      networkNamespace: "default"
      spoofChk: "off"
      resourceName: "mlnx2f0"
      linkState: "enable"
      metaPlugins: |
        {
          "type": "rdma"
        }
    network-2.yaml
    apiVersion: sriovnetwork.openshift.io/v1
    kind: SriovNetwork
    metadata:
      name: "netmlnx2f1"
      namespace: network-operator
    spec:
      ipam: |
        {
          "datastore": "kubernetes",
          "kubernetes": {
             "kubeconfig": "/etc/cni/net.d/whereabouts.d/whereabouts.kubeconfig"
          },
          "log_file": "/tmp/whereabouts.log",
          "log_level": "debug",
          "type": "whereabouts",
          "range": "2.2.2.0/24"
        }
      vlan: 0
      networkNamespace: "default"
      spoofChk: "off"
      resourceName: "mlnx2f1"
      linkState: "enable"
      metaPlugins: |
        {
          "type": "rdma"
        }
  5. Deploy network-1.yaml and network-2.yaml:

    Master node console
    kubectl apply -f network-1.yaml
    kubectl apply -f network-2.yaml
  6. Validating the deployment
    Check deployed network:

    Master node console
    kubectl get network-attachment-definitions.k8s.cni.cncf.io
    NAME         AGE
    netmlnx2f0   3m
    netmlnx2f1   3m

    Check Worker Node resources:

    kubectl describe nodes node2
    ...
    Addresses:
      InternalIP:  192.168.200.2
      Hostname:    node2
    Capacity:
      cpu:                 24
      ephemeral-storage:   45093936Ki
      hugepages-1Gi:       32Gi
      hugepages-2Mi:       0
      memory:              96076Mi
      nvidia.com/mlnx2f0:  2
      nvidia.com/mlnx2f1:  2
      pods:                110
    Allocatable:
      cpu:                 23900m
      ephemeral-storage:   41558571349
      hugepages-1Gi:       32Gi
      hugepages-2Mi:       0
      memory:              62952Mi
      nvidia.com/mlnx2f0:  2
      nvidia.com/mlnx2f1:  2
      pods:                110
    ...

Topology manager settings

Performance sensitive applications requires topology aligned resource allocation avoiding incurring of additional latency. 
Topology manager ensure devices being allocated from Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) Nodes.
For additional information please refer to Control Topology Management Policies on a node and Control Topology Management Policies on a node.

  1. Define the cores reserved for K8s operational system services:

    Worker node console
    numactl --hardware
    available: 1 nodes (0)
    node 0 cpus: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
    node 0 size: 92611 MB
    node 0 free: 53873 MB
    node distances:
    node   0
      0:  10

    In our example Numa node 0 includes cores 0-23. 
    To reserve cores 0-3 for K8s add this line to kubelet-config.yaml file:

    /etc/kubernetes/kubelet-config.yaml
    reservedSystemCPUs:0-3

    Now cores 4-23 are free for pods usage. Make sure grub file is set with same core-list for isolated cores (isolcpus=4-23) as specified in hot prerequisites section.

  2. Enable topology manger by adding the following lines to kubelet configuration file - /etc/kubernetes/kubelet-config.yaml in worke node:

    /etc/kubernetes/kubelet-config.yaml
    cpuManagerPolicy: static
    reservedSystemCPUs: 0-3
    topologyManagerPolicy: single-numa-node
  3. Due to changes in cpuManagerPolicy, you should remove /var/lib/kubelet/cpu_manager_state and restart kubelet service on Worker Node as follow:

    rm -f /var/lib/kubelet/cpu_manager_state
    systemctl daemon-reload && systemctl restart kubelet

Configuring VFs to be trusted

  1. Extract PF network interface PCI slot number using this command (In our example PCI slot number is 61:00.0):

    Worker node console
    lspci | grep "Mellanox" | grep -v "Virtual" | cut -d " " -f 1
  2. Using mlxreg to configure ALL VF's to be trusted by firmware:

    Worker node console
    mlxreg -d 61:00.0 --reg_id 0xc007 --reg_len 0x40 --indexes "0x0.0:32=0x80000000" --yes --set "0x4.0:32=0x1"
    mlxreg -d 61:00.1 --reg_id 0xc007 --reg_len 0x40 --indexes "0x0.0:32=0x80000000" --yes --set "0x4.0:32=0x1"
  3. Set VF's to be trusted from driver side (In our example VFs are part of interface ens2f0,ensf1):

    Worker node console
    PF=($(ibdev2netdev | grep mlx5_ | awk '{print $5}'));
    for i in ${PF[@]};
       do
    	  cat /sys/class/net/${i}/settings/vf_roce &> /dev/null;
    	  RESULT=$?;
    	  if [ $RESULT -eq 0 ];
    	  then 
    	  VFS=($(cat /sys/class/net/${i}/settings/vf_roce | awk '{print $2}' | tr -d :));
    	  for j in ${VFS[@]}; do ip link set $i vf $j trust on; echo "Set inteface $i VF $j to trusted"; done
    	  fi;
       done
  4. Bind and unbind VFs ethernet driver:

    Worker node console
    VFS_PCI=($(lspci | grep "Mellanox" | grep "Virtual" | cut -d " " -f 1));
         for i in ${VFS_PCI[@]};
         do
             echo "unbinding VF $i";
             echo "0000:${i}" >> /sys/bus/pci/drivers/mlx5_core/unbind;
    		 echo "binding VF $i";
             echo "0000:${i}" >> /sys/bus/pci/drivers/mlx5_core/bind;
         done

TRex server installation with L2 interfaces

For building Trex server please follow the steps in this guide: Installing TRex in a few steps using Nvidia ConnectX adapters.

  • Make sure to configure MAC based config.
  • Set destination MAC address for first TRex port of testpmd or VPP port 0 MAC address.
  • Set destination MAC address for second TRex port of testpmd or VPP port 1 MAC address.

See install process example here:

./dpdk_setup_ports.py -i
By default, IP based configuration file will be created. Do you want to use MAC based config? (y/N)y
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| ID | NUMA |   PCI   |        MAC        |                  Name                   |  Driver   | Linux IF | Active |
+====+======+=========+===================+=========================================+===========+==========+========+
| 0  | 0    | 02:00.0 | 38:63:bb:33:29:9c | NetXtreme BCM5719 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe | tg3       | eno1     |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| 1  | 0    | 02:00.1 | 38:63:bb:33:29:9d | NetXtreme BCM5719 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe | tg3       | eno2     |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| 2  | 0    | 02:00.2 | 38:63:bb:33:29:9e | NetXtreme BCM5719 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe | tg3       | eno3     |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| 3  | 0    | 02:00.3 | 38:63:bb:33:29:9f | NetXtreme BCM5719 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe | tg3       | eno4     |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| 4  | 0    | 08:00.0 | ec:0d:9a:8a:27:ba | MT28800 Family [ConnectX-5 Ex]          | mlx5_core | ens1f0   |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
| 5  | 0    | 08:00.1 | ec:0d:9a:8a:27:bb | MT28800 Family [ConnectX-5 Ex]          | mlx5_core | ens1f1   |        |
+----+------+---------+-------------------+-----------------------------------------+-----------+----------+--------+
Please choose even number of interfaces from the list above, either by ID , PCI or Linux IF
Stateful will use order of interfaces: Client1 Server1 Client2 Server2 etc. for flows.
Stateless can be in any order.
Enter list of interfaces separated by space (for example: 1 3) : 4 5

For interface 4, assuming loopback to it's dual interface 5.
Destination MAC is ec:0d:9a:8a:27:bb. Change it to MAC of DUT? (y/N).y
Please enter new destination MAC of interface 4: 22:2F:60:A5:F8:01
For interface 5, assuming loopback to it's dual interface 4.
Destination MAC is ec:0d:9a:8a:27:ba. Change it to MAC of DUT? (y/N).y
Please enter new destination MAC of interface 5: 22:2F:60:A5:F8:02
Print preview of generated config? (Y/n)y
### Config file generated by dpdk_setup_ports.py ###

- version: 2
  interfaces: ['08:00.0', '08:00.1']
  port_info:
      - dest_mac: 22:2f:60:a5:f8:01
        src_mac:  ec:0d:9a:8a:27:ba
      - dest_mac: 22:2f:60:a5:f8:02
        src_mac:  ec:0d:9a:8a:27:bb

  platform:
      master_thread_id: 0
      latency_thread_id: 6
      dual_if:
        - socket: 0
          threads: [1,2,3,4,5,12,13,14,15,16,17]


Save the config to file? (Y/n)y
Default filename is /etc/trex_cfg.yaml

Performance Evaluation

In this section will evaluate the performance of a CNF doing NAT and IPv4 Routing. The SW implementation will be based on VPP while the accelerated use case will use Testpmd to program the SmartNIC accelerator with the same data-plane as the VPP application.    

Testing bidirectional IPv4 Routing and NAT Scheme

  • VPP/Testpmd pods are set with two interfaces 1.1.1.1/24 and 2.2.2.1/24
  • TRex server is set with the two interfaces 1.1.1.2/24 and 2.2.2.2/2
  • Source subnet 2.2.2.0/24 is hided behind gateway IP of 1.1.1.1 when packet destination is Trex IP 1.1.1.2
  • Source subnet 1.1.1.0/24 is hided behind gateway IP of 2.2.2.1 when packet destination is Trex IP 2.2.2.2
  • Packets from Trex subnet 2.2.2.0/24 destined to Trex IP 1.1.1.2 are routed and nated back to Trex by Testpmd/VPP pods.
  • Packets from Trex subnet 1.1.1.0/24 destined to Trex IP 2.2.2.2 are routed and nated back to Trex by Testpmd/VPP pods.

VPP bring up

Launch CNF with CentOS

In this Pod CR example:

  • network-1 and network-2 attached 
  • 8Gb hugepages mounted
  • 2 SRIOV interfaces attached from nvidia.com/mlnx2f0, nvidia.com/mlnx2f1 resources.
  • 8 Cores allocated
VPP_PodCR.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: vpp
  annotations:
    k8s.v1.cni.cncf.io/networks: netmlnx2f0 , netmlnx2f1
spec:
  containers:
  - name: vpp
    image: centos:8.3.2011
    securityContext:
      privileged: true
      allowPrivilegeEscalation: true
      capabilities:
        add:
        - IPC_LOCK
        - SYS_RAWIO
        - NET_RAW
    volumeMounts:
    - mountPath: /dev/hugepages
      name: hugepage
    resources:
      requests:
        memory: 8Gi
        hugepages-1Gi: 2Gi
        cpu: 8
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f0: 1
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f1: 1
      limits:
        memory: 8Gi
        hugepages-1Gi: 2Gi
        cpu: 8
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f0: 1
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f1: 1
    command:
    - sh
    - -c
    - sleep inf
  volumes:
  - name: hugepage
    emptyDir:
      medium: HugePages

Launch POD:

Master node console
kubectl create -f VPP_PodCR.yaml

Install VPP application

This guide assume no pre built container image is available for download.

In order to install VPP login into container bash shell:

Master node console
kubectl exec --stdin --tty vpp -- /bin/bash

Continue with VPP installation following this guide: Build and Run Vector Packet Processing (VPP) Applications Over NVIDIA SmartNICs. 

Performance evaluation for VPP

Configure VPP to perform NAT

  1. Configure VPP with L3 interfaces - make sure to configure L3 IPv4 interfaces with the correct IPs.
    In our example first interface is set to 1.1.1.1/24 and second interface is set to 2.2.2.1/24. 

    VPP container console
    ## Start VPP CLI ##
    $HOME-PATH/vpp/build-root/build-vpp-native/vpp/bin/./vppctl
    ## Set 2 L3 interfaces with IP and subnet ##
    set int ip address HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2 1.1.1.1/24
    set interface state HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2 up
    set int ip address HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3 2.2.2.1/24
    set interface state HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3 up
  2. Set static ARP entries pointing Trex server interfaces

    VPP container console
    set ip neighbor HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2 1.1.1.2 <Trex_first_port_MAC_Adress> static
    set ip neighbor HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3 2.2.2.2 <Trex_second_port_MAC_Adress> static
  3. Set NAT for 2 interfaces
    NAT behind port HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2 GW IP 1.1.1.1 of traffic coming from port HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3
    NAT behind port HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3 GW IP 2.2.2.1 of traffic coming from port HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2

    VPP container console
    nat44 add interface address HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2
    nat44 add interface address  HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3
    set interface nat44 out  HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/2 output-feature
    set interface nat44 out  HundredGigabitEthernet61/0/3 output-feature
    nat44 forwarding enable
    nat addr-port-assignment-alg default

Testpmd SmartNIC accelerating bring up

Create container image for Testpmd application

  1. Clone Dockerfile image builder:

    git clone https://github.com/Mellanox/mlnx_docker_dpdk
    cd mlnx_docker_dpdk/
    git checkout origin/ninja-build
  2. Create image in local Docker server:
    OS version - CentOS 8.4.2105
    DPDK version - 20.11
    Nvidia OFED - 5.4-1.0.3.0

     docker build --build-arg OS_VER=8.4.2105 --build-arg DPDK_VER=20.11 --build-arg OFED_VER=5.4-1.0.3.0 -t centos8.4/dpdk20.11:ofed5.4 .
  3. Once image created it is recommended to push it to docker hub account repository.
    For instructions visit this link: Pushing docker image to Docker hub
    The repository in Docker hub will contain the desired image which can be specified in POD definition yaml file (In our example file TestpmdPodCR.yaml). 

Launch CNF with Testpmd application

In this Pod CR example:

TestpmdPodCR.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: testpmd
  annotations:
    k8s.v1.cni.cncf.io/networks: netmlnx2f0 , netmlnx2f1
spec:
  containers:
  - name: testpmd
    image: <repository_name>:<Testpmd_image_name>
    securityContext:
      capabilities:
        add:
        - IPC_LOCK
        - SYS_RAWIO
        - NET_RAW
    volumeMounts:
    - mountPath: /dev/hugepages
      name: hugepage
    resources:
      requests:
        memory: 8Gi
        hugepages-1Gi: 2Gi
        cpu: 8
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f0: 1
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f1: 1
      limits:
        memory: 8Gi
        hugepages-1Gi: 2Gi
        cpu: 8
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f0: 1
        nvidia.com/mlnx2f1: 1
    command:
    - sh
    - -c
    - sleep inf
  volumes:
  - name: hugepage
    emptyDir:
      medium: HugePages

Launch POD:

Master node console
kubectl create -f TestpmdPodCR.yaml

Performance evaluation for Testpmd SmartNIC accelerating

Testpmd flow composition

This section explains how to run testpmd application with accelerating Routing and NAT actions by structuring flows.

Testpmd uses DPDK standard RTE_FLOW API to accelerate flows. Here is an example and description on how it is done for imitating NAT and routing:


In addition IPv4 header checksum and packet CRC is done automatically by the NIC.

Single flow test

Run Testpmd application with 2 hairpin queues and single core over 2 VFs: 

TestPMD POD CLI
cd /usr/src/dpdk-20.11/build/app/
./dpdk-testpmd -c 0x30 -n 4 -m 1024 -w 0000:61:00.2 -w 0000:61:00.4 -- --hairpinq=2 --hairpin-mode=0x12 --burst=64 --txd=1024 --rxd=1024 --mbcache=512 --rxq=1 --txq=1 --nb-cores=1 --flow-isolate-all -a -i

Parameters definition:

  • Number of cores mask (example for 2 cores) -c 0x3

  • Number Numa Channels -n 4

  • Hugepages amount of memory -m 1024

  • PCI slot -w <number>

  • Amount of RX/TX queues --rxq=2 --txq=2 --nb-cores=1

  • Setting 2 hairpin queus --hairpinq=2

  • Hairpin mode --hairpin-mode values: 0x10 - explicit tx rule, 0x02 - hairpin ports paired

  •  --flow-isolate-all ensures all traffic is received through the configured flow rules only 
  • Single packet processing PMD core --nb-cores=1
  • Setting port RX/TX descriptors size --txd=1024 --rxd=1024

From Testpmd CLI insert first direction flow for accelerating:

Testpmd CLI
testpmd> flow create 1 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 src is <Src_IP2> / udp src is <S_port> / end actions set_tp_src port <New_S_port> / queue index 1 / end
testpmd> flow create 0 egress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp / end actions set_mac_dst mac_addr <TREX_MAC0> / set_mac_src mac_addr <TESTPMD_MAC0> / set_ipv4_src ipv4_addr <NAT_IP2> / dec_ttl / end

Parameters value:

  • <Src_IP2>  == 2.2.2.2
  • <S_port> == 1002
  • <New_S_port> == 1003
  • <TREX_MAC0>  ← First Trex port 0 MAC address
  • <TESTPMD_MAC0> ← First testpmd port 0 MAC address
  • <NAT_IP2> == 2.2.2.1

From Testpmd CLI insert second direction flow for accelerating:

Testpmd CLI
testpmd> flow create 0 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 src is <Src_IP1> / udp src is <S_port> / end actions set_tp_src port <New_S_port> / queue index 2 / end
testpmd> flow create 1 egress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp / end actions set_mac_dst mac_addr <TREX_MAC1> / set_mac_src mac_addr <TESTPMD_MAC1> / set_ipv4_src ipv4_addr <NAT_IP1> / dec_ttl / end

Parameters value:

  • <Src_IP1>  == 1.1.1.2
  • <S_port> == 1002
  • <New_S_port> == 1003
  • <TREX_MAC1>  ← Second Trex port 1 MAC address
  • <TESTPMD_MAC1> ← Second testpmd port 1 MAC address
  • <NAT_IP1> == 1.1.1.1

Multiple flow test

For high volume of flows it is possible to list all desired flows in a file. Testpmd application will load all flows by reading this file.
This section explain how to create a "flow" file by writing flows into it using bash script.
Modify this script "create_flows.sh" to generate multiple NAT flow sessions iterating source UDP port per single user on each direction.

  • NAT_IP1 ←  The IP of the first Testpmd port
  • NAT_IP2 ←  The IP of the second Testpmd port
  • MIN_PORT ← Minimal source UDP port range
  • MAX_PORT ← Maximal source UDP port range 
  • TREX_MAC0 ← First Trex port 0 MAC address
  • TREX_MAC1 ← Second Trex port 1 MAC address
  • TESTPMD_MAC0 ← First testpmd port 0 MAC address
  • TESTPMD_MAC1 ← Second testpmd port 1 MAC address
  • Src_IP1 ← IP of the first Trex port
  • Src_IP2 ← IP of the second Trex port
  • PATH ← Path for flows file directory (In our example/usr/src/dpdk-20.11/build/app/flows.txt).
create_flows.sh
#!/bin/bash -e

MIN_PORT=1002
MAX_PORT=6002
Src_IP1="1.1.1.2"
Src_IP2="2.2.2.2"
NAT_IP1="1.1.1.1"
NAT_IP2="2.2.2.1"
TESTPMD_MAC0="4A:AC:4F:29:87:80"
TESTPMD_MAC1="86:19:A0:B8:10:BD"
TREX_MAC0="ec:0d:9a:8a:27:ba"
TREX_MAC1="ec:0d:9a:8a:28:3a"
PATH="/usr/src/dpdk-20.11/build/app/flows.txt"

echo "flow create 0 group 0 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp / end actions jump group 1 / end" > $PATH
echo "flow create 1 group 0 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp /  end actions jump group 1 / end" >> $PATH
echo "flow create 0 group 0 egress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp / end actions set_mac_dst mac_addr ${TREX_MAC0} / set_mac_src mac_addr ${TESTPMD_MAC0} / set_ipv4_src ipv4_addr ${NAT_IP2} / dec_ttl / end" >> $PATH
echo "flow create 1 group 0 egress pattern eth / ipv4 / udp / end actions set_mac_dst mac_addr ${TREX_MAC1} / set_mac_src mac_addr ${TESTPMD_MAC1} / set_ipv4_src ipv4_addr ${NAT_IP1} / dec_ttl / end" >> $PATH

for ((i = ${MIN_PORT}; i <= ${MAX_PORT}; i++ ));
do
  echo "flow create 1 group 1 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 src is ${Src_IP2} / udp src is ${i} / end actions set_tp_src port $((i+1)) / queue index 1 / end" >> $PATH
  echo "flow create 0 group 1 ingress pattern eth / ipv4 src is ${Src_IP1} / udp src is ${i} / end actions set_tp_src port $((i+1)) / queue index 2 / end" >> $PATH

done

Execute flow creation script in Testpmd binary directory:

TestPMD POD CLI
chmod +x create_flows.sh
./create_flows.sh

Run testpmd while loading all flows from a file:

TestPMD POD CLI
cd /usr/src/dpdk-20.11/build/app/
./dpdk-testpmd -c 0x30 -n 4 -m 1024 -w 0000:61:00.2 -w 0000:61:00.4 -- --hairpinq=2 --hairpin-mode=0x12 --burst=64 --txd=1024 --rxd=1024 --mbcache=512 --rxq=1 --txq=1 --nb-cores=1 --flow-isolate-all -a -i

Load flows from a file (This action can take a couple of minutes):

Testpmd CLI
testpmd>load flows.txt

Testing performance using Trex

Upload Trex_UDP_L3_P0.py python script to Trex root directory:

UDP_L3_P0.py
from trex_stl_lib.api import *

class STLS1(object):

    def __init__ (self):
        pass;

    def create_stream (self):
        pkt = Ether()/IP(src="1.1.1.2", dst="2.2.2.2")/UDP()/(22*'x')

        vm = STLScVmRaw( [
                STLVmTupleGen ( ip_min="1.1.1.2", ip_max="1.1.1.2",
                                port_min=1002, port_max=6002,
                                name="tuple"),
                STLVmWrFlowVar(fv_name="tuple.ip", pkt_offset="IP.src"),  # write ip to packet IP.src
                STLVmFixIpv4(offset="IP"),  # fix checksum
                STLVmWrFlowVar(fv_name="tuple.port", pkt_offset="UDP.sport")
                            ]
                         )

        return STLStream(
                                packet = STLPktBuilder(pkt = pkt ,vm = vm ) ,
                                mode = STLTXCont(pps = 3000) )

    def get_streams (self, direction = 0, **kwargs):
        # create 1 stream
        return [ self.create_stream() ]

def register():
    return STLS1()

Upload Trex_UDP_L3_P1.py python script to Trex root directory:

UDP_L3_P1.py
from trex_stl_lib.api import *

class STLS1(object):

    def __init__ (self):
        pass;

    def create_stream (self):
        pkt = Ether()/IP(src="2.2.2.2", dst="1.1.1.2")/UDP()/(22*'x')

        vm = STLScVmRaw( [
                STLVmTupleGen ( ip_min="2.2.2.2", ip_max="2.2.2.2",
                                port_min=1002, port_max=6002,
                                name="tuple"),
                STLVmWrFlowVar(fv_name="tuple.ip", pkt_offset="IP.src"),  # write ip to packet IP.src
                STLVmFixIpv4(offset="IP"),  # fix checksum
                STLVmWrFlowVar(fv_name="tuple.port", pkt_offset="UDP.sport")
                            ]
                         )

        return STLStream(
                                packet = STLPktBuilder(pkt = pkt ,vm = vm ) ,
                                mode = STLTXCont(pps = 3000) )

    def get_streams (self, direction = 0, **kwargs):
        # create 1 stream
        return [ self.create_stream() ]

def register():
    return STLS1()


Make sure to follow these setting for single user and 5k sessions per direction (Total 10k sessions):

  • User refer to source IPv4 address
  • Session refer to source UDP port range

Single session test

If testing single session per single user 'port_min' should be equal to 'port_max' (In ouer example both should be equal to 1002).


Run UDP_L3_P0.py & UDP_L3_P1.py scripts to generate packet towards DUT:

Increase the amount of packet per second as long as the number of transmit packets is equal to receive.

Trex console
./trex-console
trex>start -f UDP_L3_P0.py -m 74mpps -p 0
trex>start -f UDP_L3_P1.py -m 74mpps -p 1

Parameters definition:

  • -f Points the desired Trex script
  • -m Specifies amount of packer per second
  • -p Sets the desired port

Validate number of transmitted packets from port 0 received back on port 1:

Trex console
trex>tui

Uni-directional test results example:
 


Performance summary

Bidirectional test results showing more than 12x times better performances using same x86 host resources of single core while taking advantage of SmartNIC accelerating capabilities.
It will highlight the superior value of network packet processing in SmartNIC hardware vs SW processing of x86 CPU only.

Uni-directional test results

Bi-directional test results

Authors


Amir Zeidner

For the past several years, Amir has worked as a Solutions Architect primarily in the Telco space, leading advanced solutions to answer 5G, NFV, and SDN networking infrastructures requirements. Amir’s expertise in data plane acceleration technologies, such as Accelerated Switching and Network Processing (ASAP²) and DPDK, together with a deep knowledge of open source cloud-based infrastructures, allows him to promote and deliver unique end-to-end NVIDIA Networking solutions throughout the Telco world.



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