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January 24, 2013

Deep Packet Inspection Made Easy with the Intel Data Plane Development Kit and PCI

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor


Last week, we discussed how the Intel (News - Alert) Platform for Communications Infrastructure is a boon for deep packet inspection.

With the Intel platform, deep packet inspection, data compression and decompression, and encryption take place at higher throughput rates with the Intel platform for communications infrastructure because it is made up of multi-core processors in combination with Intel QuickAssist technology hardware accelerators. The platform increases DPI capabilities by processing over 160 million packets of data per second as compared to specialized network processing units’ 100 million packets per second.

“The elimination of NPUs in the hardware scheme along with the faster processing capacity and reduced development time needed for new applications results in substantial cost reductions for the OEM,” TMCnet pointed out last week.

The faster processing comes from the Intel Xeon processors under the hood, which can be configured to provide up to 16 cores, eight memory controllers, and 80 channels of PCIe Gen 3.0 which connect to Intel Communications chipsets containing communications hardware accelerators. The accelerators perform all of the encryption and data compression functions, freeing the CPUs to process applications and perform deep packet inspection.

Making the platform easy to leverage and not just fast, however, the company has created the Intel Data Plane Development Kit (Intel DPDK). The DPDK allows developers to take full advantage of the capabilities of the new platform and the scalability of its processors, memory, chipsets and accelerators for deep packet inspection and other applications, according to Austin Hipes, director of Field Engineering for appliance deployment specialist NEI (News - Alert).

“The DPDK maximizes application throughput and minimizes development time because it consists of optimized libraries and programming primitives that can be packaged with a virtual machine, allowing developers to easily scale by creating instances of multiple virtual machines,” he wrote in a blog post recently.

To illustrate the power of the Intel DPDK, Hipes uses a single control plane processor and multiple virtual data plane processors distributed across two quad-core processors as an example.

Seven of the cores might be running Intel DPDK instances devoted to data plane tasks, including deep packet inspection, routing, packet forwarding, and others. Four cores might be controlling Ethernet ports, and another port is devoted to running in the Linux user space for control plane and higher level functions. Tying the CPUs together for high-speed data transfer is the Intel QuickPath Interconnects.

“The Intel DPDK package has been created to be compatible with any Intel Architecture platform, which means OEM and Independent Software Vendors can select the class of CPU that best fits their needs for performance and pricing, and develop software without concern for the processor’s performance level,” explained Hipes in the post.

“It also means that, as advances are made in the performance of new processors, and core counts increase, designers will be able to quickly take advantage of them to get their deep packet inspection and telecom appliances to the marketplace,” he added.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Jamie Epstein


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