Skip to Main Content
As the network environment is rapidly changing, network interfaces demand highly intelligent traffic management (on control plane) in addition to the basic requirement of wire speed packet forwarding (on data plane). Several vendors are releasing various network processors (NPS) in order to handle these demands, but they are optimized for throughputs mostly in data plane. As demands for control plane applications (e.g., quality of service) grow, efficient control plane processing will become increasingly important to good performance of network interface. In this paper, we explore acceleration techniques to improve the performance of control plane network applications. Three applications including media transcoding and transaction applications are analyzed in detail. The result of workload characterization shows that wide-issue configuration shows early saturation in performance, and there is no common bottleneck among applications based on sensitivity analysis. Therefore, we study to get each application have its own hardware acceleration module in order to accomplish the required throughput on OC-768 or higher. Our approach includes array style accelerator for media transcoding applications and partitioned lookup mechanism for lookup-table-related applications. Performance analysis of the proposed techniques shows significant improvement over the baseline configuration. Such hardware accelerators provide large packet-level parallelism proportional to the number of processing elements added. Our analyses of the proposed techniques suggest future directions for the design of high-performance NPs.