The OpenOnload User-level Network Stack





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Published on Feb 15, 2008

Google Tech Talks
February, 7 2008


The architecture of conventional networked systems has remained largely
constant for many years now. However, some specialised application domains
have adopted alternative architectures. For example, the HPC community
uses message passing libraries which perform network processing in
user-space in conjunction with the features of user-accessible network
interfaces. Such user-level networking reduces networking overheads
considerably without sacrificing the security and resource management
functionality that the operating system normally provides.

Supporting user-level TCP/UDP/IP networking for a more general set of
applications poses considerable challenges, including: intercepting system
calls, binary compatability with existing applications, maintaining
security, supporting fork() and exec(), passing sockets through Unix domain
sockets and advancing the protocol when the application is not scheduled.

This talk presents the OpenOnload architecture for user-level networking.
We describe our solutions to the challenges outlined above, and novel
techniques to reduce CPU overhead, avoid lock contention, minimise
interrupt overheads and improve cache efficiency. Finally we present
performance results of the OpenOnload stack including protocol compliance,
and plans for further work within the open source community.

Speaker: Steven Pope
Steven Pope is a CTO at Solarflare Communications. Previously he
co-founded Level 5 Networks and prior to that was a post-doctorate
researcher in the field of high-speed networks and operating systems
at Olivetti Research Labs, which later became AT&T Laboratories
Cambridge. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of

Speaker: David Riddoch
David Riddoch is Chief Software Architect at Solarflare
Communications. David joined Solarflare with the merger of Solarflare
with Level 5 Networks in April 2006. David co-founded Level 5
Networks in July 2002. Previously, David was the architect and lead
developer of the software for the CLAN high performance network
project at AT&T Laboratories Cambridge. David holds a first class
degree in computer science and a Ph.D. in high performance networking
from the University of Cambridge.


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