DPDK Bridges

The DPDK datapath requires specially configured bridge(s) in order to utilize DPDK-backed physical and virtual ports.

Quick Example

This example demonstrates how to add a bridge using the DPDK datapath:

$ ovs-vsctl add-br br0 -- set bridge br0 datapath_type=netdev

This assumes Open vSwitch has been built with DPDK support. Refer to Open vSwitch with DPDK for more information.

Extended & Custom Statistics

The DPDK Extended Statistics API allows PMDs to expose a unique set of statistics. The Extended Statistics are implemented and supported only for DPDK physical and vHost ports. Custom statistics are a dynamic set of counters which can vary depending on the driver. Those statistics are implemented for DPDK physical ports and contain all “dropped”, “error” and “management” counters from XSTATS. A list of all XSTATS counters can be found here.


vHost ports only support RX packet size-based counters. TX packet size counters are not available.

To enable statistics, you have to enable OpenFlow 1.4 support for OVS. To configure a bridge, br0, to support OpenFlow version 1.4, run:

$ ovs-vsctl set bridge br0 datapath_type=netdev \

Once configured, check the OVSDB protocols column in the bridge table to ensure OpenFlow 1.4 support is enabled:

$ ovsdb-client dump Bridge protocols

You can also query the port statistics by explicitly specifying the -O OpenFlow14 option:

$ ovs-ofctl -O OpenFlow14 dump-ports br0

EMC Insertion Probability

By default 1 in every 100 flows is inserted into the Exact Match Cache (EMC). It is possible to change this insertion probability by setting the emc-insert-inv-prob option:

$ ovs-vsctl --no-wait set Open_vSwitch . other_config:emc-insert-inv-prob=N


A positive integer representing the inverse probability of insertion, i.e. on average 1 in every N packets with a unique flow will generate an EMC insertion.

If N is set to 1, an insertion will be performed for every flow. If set to 0, no insertions will be performed and the EMC will effectively be disabled.

With default N set to 100, higher megaflow hits will occur initially as observed with pmd stats:

$ ovs-appctl dpif-netdev/pmd-stats-show

For certain traffic profiles with many parallel flows, it’s recommended to set N to ‘0’ to achieve higher forwarding performance.

It is also possible to enable/disable EMC on per-port basis using:

$ ovs-vsctl set interface <iface> other_config:emc-enable={true,false}


This could be useful for cases where different number of flows expected on different ports. For example, if one of the VMs encapsulates traffic using additional headers, it will receive large number of flows but only few flows will come out of this VM. In this scenario it’s much faster to use EMC instead of classifier for traffic from the VM, but it’s better to disable EMC for the traffic which flows to the VM.

For more information on the EMC refer to Open vSwitch with DPDK .

SMC cache (experimental)

SMC cache or signature match cache is a new cache level after EMC cache. The difference between SMC and EMC is SMC only stores a signature of a flow thus it is much more memory efficient. With same memory space, EMC can store 8k flows while SMC can store 1M flows. When traffic flow count is much larger than EMC size, it is generally beneficial to turn off EMC and turn on SMC. It is currently turned off by default and an experimental feature.

To turn on SMC:

$ ovs-vsctl --no-wait set Open_vSwitch . other_config:smc-enable=true