Network Balancing Act

Network Balancing Act, or NBA, is a packet processing framework based on Linux and commodity Intel x86 hardware.

Its goal is to offer both programmability and high performance by exploiting modern commodity hardware such as multi-queue-enabled 10 GbE network cards, multi-socket/multi-core CPUs, and computation accelerators like GPUs. The programming interface resembles the Click modular router, which express packet processing functions as composable C++ classes (called elements). Click has been a de-facto standard framework for software-based packet processors for years, but suffered from low performance. In contrast, on Intel Sandy Bridge (E5-2670) dual-socket servers with eight 10 GbE (Intel X520-DA2) network cards, NBA saturates the hardware I/O capacity with light-weight workloads: 80 Gbps IPv4 forwarding throughput for large packets and 62 Gbps for minimum-sized packets.

Note that NBA covers per-packet processing only—it does not support flow-level processing yet.

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