Affirmed Publishes Xeon Benchmarks for NFV

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By: Michael Vizard

As service providers move to deploy virtual network functions (VNF) in production environments there is as much unknown as known, especially when it comes to performance. To provide some guidance on what to expect, Affirmed Networks, a provider of a network function virtualization (NFV) platform for mobile networks, has published a series benchmark tests intended to dispel any lingering doubts concerning the performance on Intel Xeon class processors running networking software.

Those test results, which were validated by Intel, demonstrate throughput rates of up to 151 Gbps being achieved using Intel Xeon Scalable Platinum processor-based servers and 100 Gbps being achieved using Intel Xeon Scalable Gold processor-based servers. Moreover, packet processing of up to 26 Mpps was achieved on Intel Xeon Scalable Platinum processor-based servers using 650-byte packets, while 17 Mpps was achieved on Intel Xeon Scalable Gold processor-based servers using 650-byte packets.

When full deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities were turned on, 121.18 Gbps was achieved on Intel Xeon Scalable Platinum processor-based servers, with 79.77 Gbps being achieved on Intel Xeon Scalable Gold processor-based servers.

The tests show there’s also still plenty of processing headroom with CPU and I/O utilization rates of between 60 percent and 80 percent, says Angela Whiteford, vice president product management and marketing. The tests also show linear scalability between one and two instances of a vEPC running on Intel Xeon processors, adds Whiteford.

The goal behind the tests is to eliminate the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) being flung about concerning NFV performance using commodity processors, says Whiteford.

“A lot of people think software approaches to networking are not efficient,” says Whiteford. “They think NFVs are living up to expectations.”

Affirmed Networks already currently has 80 customers, a number Whiteford says will increase sharply in the month ahead as the number of request for proposals continues to increase.

While the fight between proponents of commercial processors and those that contend networking requires processors designed for the ground up for networking software has been brewing for some time, it’s clear the coming shift to 5G networking is now turning what had once been a largely theoretical argument into a major performance throw down that will be played out thousands of times over as each service provider continues to put NFV platforms to the ultimate real-world test.

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