DPDK Device Memory Models

DPDK device memory can be allocated in one of two ways in OVS DPDK, shared memory or per port memory. The specifics of both are detailed below.

Shared Memory

By default OVS DPDK uses a shared memory model. This means that multiple ports can share the same mempool. For example when a port is added it will have a given MTU and socket ID associated with it. If a mempool has been created previously for an existing port that has the same MTU and socket ID, that mempool is used for both ports. If there is no existing mempool supporting these parameters then a new mempool is created.

Per Port Memory

In the per port memory model, mempools are created per device and are not shared. The benefit of this is a more transparent memory model where mempools will not be exhausted by other DPDK devices. However this comes at a potential increase in cost for memory dimensioning for a given deployment. Users should be aware of the memory requirements for their deployment before using this model and allocate the required hugepage memory.

Per port mempool support may be enabled via a global config value, per-port-memory. Setting this to true enables the per port memory model for all DPDK devices in OVS:

$ ovs-vsctl set Open_vSwitch . other_config:per-port-memory=true

Important

This value should be set before setting dpdk-init=true. If set after dpdk-init=true then the daemon must be restarted to use per-port-memory.

Calculating Memory Requirements

The amount of memory required for a given mempool can be calculated by the number mbufs in the mempool * mbuf size.

Users should be aware of the following:

  • The number of mbufs per mempool will differ between memory models.
  • The size of each mbuf will be affected by the requested MTU size.

Important

An mbuf size in bytes is always larger than the requested MTU size due to alignment and rounding needed in OVS DPDK.

Below are a number of examples of memory requirement calculations for both shared and per port memory models.

Shared Memory Calculations

In the shared memory model the number of mbufs requested is directly affected by the requested MTU size as described in the table below.

MTU Size Num MBUFS
1500 or greater 262144
Less than 1500 16384

Important

If a deployment does not have enough memory to provide 262144 mbufs then the requested amount is halved up until 16384.

Example 1

MTU = 1500 Bytes
Number of mbufs = 262144
Mbuf size = 3008 Bytes
Memory required = 262144 * 3008 = 788 MB

Example 2

MTU = 1800 Bytes
Number of mbufs = 262144
Mbuf size = 3008 Bytes
Memory required = 262144 * 3008 = 788 MB

Note

Assuming the same socket is in use for example 1 and 2 the same mempool would be shared.

Example 3

MTU = 6000 Bytes
Number of mbufs = 262144
Mbuf size = 7104 Bytes
Memory required = 262144 * 7104 = 1862 MB

Example 4

MTU = 9000 Bytes
Number of mbufs = 262144
Mbuf size = 10176 Bytes
Memory required = 262144 * 10176 = 2667 MB

Per Port Memory Calculations

The number of mbufs requested in the per port model is more complicated and accounts for multiple dynamic factors in the datapath and device configuration.

A rough estimation of the number of mbufs required for a port is:

packets required to fill the device rxqs +
packets that could be stuck on other ports txqs +
packets on the pmd threads +
additional corner case memory.

The algorithm in OVS used to calculate this is as follows:

requested number of rxqs * requested rxq size +
requested number of txqs * requested txq size +
min(RTE_MAX_LCORE, requested number of rxqs) * netdev_max_burst +
MIN_NB_MBUF.

where:

  • requested number of rxqs: Number of requested receive queues for a device.
  • requested rxq size: The number of descriptors requested for a rx queue.
  • requested number of txqs: Number of requested transmit queues for a device. Calculated as the number of PMDs configured +1.
  • requested txq size: the number of descriptors requested for a tx queue.
  • min(RTE_MAX_LCORE, requested number of rxqs): Compare the maximum number of lcores supported by DPDK to the number of requested receive queues for the device and use the variable of lesser value.
  • NETDEV_MAX_BURST: Maximum number of packets in a burst, defined as 32.
  • MIN_NB_MBUF: Additional memory for corner case, defined as 16384.

For all examples below assume the following values:

  • requested_rxq_size = 2048
  • requested_txq_size = 2048
  • RTE_MAX_LCORE = 128
  • netdev_max_burst = 32
  • MIN_NB_MBUF = 16384

Example 1: (1 rxq, 1 PMD, 1500 MTU)

MTU = 1500
Number of mbufs = (1 * 2048) + (2 * 2048) + (1 * 32) + (16384) = 22560
Mbuf size = 3008 Bytes
Memory required = 22560 * 3008 = 67 MB

Example 2: (1 rxq, 2 PMD, 6000 MTU)

MTU = 6000
Number of mbufs = (1 * 2048) + (3 * 2048) + (1 * 32) + (16384) = 24608
Mbuf size = 7104 Bytes
Memory required = 24608 * 7104 = 175 MB

Example 3: (2 rxq, 2 PMD, 9000 MTU)

MTU = 9000
Number of mbufs = (2 * 2048) + (3 * 2048) + (1 * 32) + (16384) = 26656
Mbuf size = 10176 Bytes
Memory required = 26656 * 10176 = 271 MB