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There is a growing trend to insert application intelligence into network devices. Processors in this type of application-oriented networking (AON) devices are required to handle both packet-level network I/O intensive operations as well as XML message-level CPU intensive operations. In this paper, we investigate performance effect of dual processing via (1) hyperthreading, (2) uni-processor to dual- processor, and (3) single-core to dual-core, on both packet-level and XML message-level traffic. We analyze and cross-examine the dual processing effect from both high-level performance as well as processor microarchitectural perspectives. We employ on-chip performance counters to measure cycles per instruction, cache misses, bus utilization, and branch miss predictions for this work. Our results show a significant improvement in dual-core Pentium M processor over Hyperthreaded Xeon processor for AON workload. These results will not only provide insight to processor designers, but also help architects of AON devices to select from alternative processors with restrictions to use one or two physical CPUs due to space and power consumption limitations.
Date of Conference: 10-14 Sept. 2007