[ovs-dev] [PATCH] RFC: Pass more packet and flow key info to userspace.

Rajahalme, Jarno (NSN - FI/Espoo) jarno.rajahalme at nsn.com
Wed Feb 6 09:28:12 UTC 2013

On Feb 6, 2013, at 2:57 , ext Jesse Gross wrote:
>> While I would not see a problem in passing a key hash computed with an
>> undisclosed algorithm up to userspace, I see your point.
>> In my tests it seems that about 1/3 of the benefit is attainable with deferred
>> layer pointer computation within the userspace.
> Ben has been doing work optimizing flow setups, so it might be good
> for him to comment on this and how it fits in with his current ideas.

I noted some rather low hanging fruit for optimization in ofproto-dpif:

1. When handling a miss with facets, the rules are compiled for every packet separately for side effects, in order to credit stats on the rules and vports hit. This is buried inside subfacet_update_stats()->facet_push_stats()->flow_push_stats(). A separate pass is done for compiling the actions, once for the whole miss. For single-packet misses this effectively doubles the classifier/action compilation load, and for multi-packet misses the overhead just piles up. It would be better to gather the stats from all the packets in the miss, and then do a single pass on the rules/classifier to credit the stats and compile the actions at the same time. This could be a huge win for multi-packet misses (e.g. with coarser pooling).

2. Missed packets are pushed (execute) to the kernel first, and the new flow (if any) is created after (flow_put). It seems possible to change this around and first create the new flow and then have the packets use that flow within the kernel. This way the kernel flow would take care of the stats, and they would not need to be handled in userspace at flow creation time. The packet execution could omit the actions and flow key, and just pass the packet down. Essentially this would require a new datapath operation type that would drop the packet if there is no match (i.e. when the preceding flow_put has failed). Additionally, the datapath could remember the created flow from the last flow_put on the given channel and use those for immediately forthcoming packet "resubmits". This way the packet match on the kernel flow table could be omitted for the "resubmitted" packets.

3. When handling misses without facets, the pooling of packets is not utilized at all. Again, the stats could be collected from the packets first, then they could be credited at the same time with action compilation, for the whole miss at the same time. Currently all of this is done on per packet basis.

4. Subfacet create does odp_flow_key_hash(), which seems somewhat expensive. This could be avoided if kernel computed flow hash would be passed up with the key. Userspace should not care how the hash was computed. With perfect fitness this same hash could be used for facets and miss pooling. With coarser grained pooling this would still be useful for subfacets. With current pooling this would get rid of two different key hash computations. For this to work properly the kernel should consistently either provide the hash for a given flow or then not.


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