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Faster Packet Forwarding in a Scalable Ethernet Architecture

Report ID:
December 2007
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Today's enterprise networks use a hybrid of Ethernet and IP which helps mitigate Ethernet's scalability problems and IP's configuration complexities. SEIZE is a new network architecture designed to replace this reasonable but imperfect hybrid with a single unified protocol that can achieve an efficient use of network resources while retaining the simplicity of a zero-configuration, plug-and-play solution. The original SEIZE prototype suffered from a performance bottleneck incurred by its internal Click packet forwarding engine, which ran in user-space on each network switch.

This paper describes the process of shifting SEIZE's packet forwarding engine from user-space to the kernel and various code-level optimizations which were implemented to accommodate this restructuring. Testing in Emulab showed that this new kernel-mode version of SEIZE vastly outperforms the original user-level prototype; its performance is limited only by link capacity on a 1 Gbps network.

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