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It is possible to achieve huge performance
improvements in the way packet processing
is done on modern operating systems.
By LuiGi Rizzo
ToDAY 10-gigABi T in TerFAces are used increasingly in
datacenters and servers. On these links, packets flow
as fast as one every 67. 2 nanoseconds, yet modern
operating systems can take 10− 20 times longer
just to move one packet between the wire and the
application. We can do much better, not with more
powerful hardware but by revising architectural decisions made long ago
regarding the design of device drivers
and network stacks.
The netmap framework is a promis-
ing step in this direction. Thanks to a
careful design and the engineering of
a new packet I/O API, netmap elimi-
nates much unnecessary overhead and
moves traffic up to 40 times faster than
existing operating systems. Most im-
portantly, netmap is largely compati-
ble with existing applications, so it can
be incrementally deployed.