16. ENA Poll Mode Driver

The ENA PMD is a DPDK poll-mode driver for the Amazon Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) family.

16.1. Overview

The ENA driver exposes a lightweight management interface with a minimal set of memory mapped registers and an extendable command set through an Admin Queue.

The driver supports a wide range of ENA adapters, is link-speed independent (i.e., the same driver is used for 10GbE, 25GbE, 40GbE, etc.), and it negotiates and supports an extendable feature set.

ENA adapters allow high speed and low overhead Ethernet traffic processing by providing a dedicated Tx/Rx queue pair per CPU core.

The ENA driver supports industry standard TCP/IP offload features such as checksum offload and TCP transmit segmentation offload (TSO).

Receive-side scaling (RSS) is supported for multi-core scaling.

Some of the ENA devices support a working mode called Low-latency Queue (LLQ), which saves several more microseconds.

16.2. Management Interface

ENA management interface is exposed by means of:

  • Device Registers
  • Admin Queue (AQ) and Admin Completion Queue (ACQ)

ENA device memory-mapped PCIe space for registers (MMIO registers) are accessed only during driver initialization and are not involved in further normal device operation.

AQ is used for submitting management commands, and the results/responses are reported asynchronously through ACQ.

ENA introduces a very small set of management commands with room for vendor-specific extensions. Most of the management operations are framed in a generic Get/Set feature command.

The following admin queue commands are supported:

  • Create I/O submission queue
  • Create I/O completion queue
  • Destroy I/O submission queue
  • Destroy I/O completion queue
  • Get feature
  • Set feature
  • Get statistics

Refer to ena_admin_defs.h for the list of supported Get/Set Feature properties.

16.3. Data Path Interface

I/O operations are based on Tx and Rx Submission Queues (Tx SQ and Rx SQ correspondingly). Each SQ has a completion queue (CQ) associated with it.

The SQs and CQs are implemented as descriptor rings in contiguous physical memory.

Refer to ena_eth_io_defs.h for the detailed structure of the descriptor

The driver supports multi-queue for both Tx and Rx.

16.4. Configuration information

Runtime Configuration Parameters

  • large_llq_hdr (default 0)

    Enables or disables usage of large LLQ headers. This option will have effect only if the device also supports large LLQ headers. Otherwise, the default value will be used.

ENA Configuration Parameters

  • Number of Queues

    This is the requested number of queues upon initialization, however, the actual number of receive and transmit queues to be created will be the minimum between the maximal number supported by the device and number of queues requested.

  • Size of Queues

    This is the requested size of receive/transmit queues, while the actual size will be the minimum between the requested size and the maximal receive/transmit supported by the device.

16.5. Building DPDK

See the DPDK Getting Started Guide for Linux for instructions on how to build DPDK.

By default the ENA PMD library will be built into the DPDK library.

For configuring and using UIO and VFIO frameworks, please also refer the documentation that comes with DPDK suite.

16.6. Supported ENA adapters

Current ENA PMD supports the following ENA adapters including:

  • 1d0f:ec20 - ENA VF
  • 1d0f:ec21 - ENA VF RSERV0

16.7. Supported Operating Systems

Any Linux distribution fulfilling the conditions described in System Requirements section of the DPDK documentation or refer to DPDK Release Notes.

16.8. Supported features

  • MTU configuration
  • Jumbo frames up to 9K
  • IPv4/TCP/UDP checksum offload
  • TSO offload
  • Multiple receive and transmit queues
  • RSS hash
  • RSS indirection table configuration
  • Low Latency Queue for Tx
  • Basic and extended statistics
  • LSC event notification
  • Watchdog (requires handling of timers in the application)
  • Device reset upon failure

16.9. Prerequisites

  1. Prepare the system as recommended by DPDK suite. This includes environment variables, hugepages configuration, tool-chains and configuration.

  2. ENA PMD can operate with vfio-pci``(*) or ``igb_uio driver.

    (*) ENAv2 hardware supports Low Latency Queue v2 (LLQv2). This feature reduces the latency of the packets by pushing the header directly through the PCI to the device, before the DMA is even triggered. For proper work kernel PCI driver must support write combining (WC). In DPDK igb_uio it must be enabled by loading module with wc_activate=1 flag (example below). However, mainline’s vfio-pci driver in kernel doesn’t have WC support yet (planed to be added). If vfio-pci used user should be either turn off ENAv2 (to avoid performance impact) or recompile vfio-pci driver with patch provided in amzn-github.

  3. Insert vfio-pci or igb_uio kernel module using the command modprobe vfio-pci or modprobe uio; insmod igb_uio.ko wc_activate=1 respectively.

  4. For vfio-pci users only: Please make sure that IOMMU is enabled in your system, or use vfio driver in noiommu mode:

    echo 1 > /sys/module/vfio/parameters/enable_unsafe_noiommu_mode

    To use noiommu mode, the vfio-pci must be built with flag CONFIG_VFIO_NOIOMMU.

  5. Bind the intended ENA device to vfio-pci or igb_uio module.

At this point the system should be ready to run DPDK applications. Once the application runs to completion, the ENA can be detached from attached module if necessary.

Note about usage on *.metal instances

On AWS, the metal instances are supporting IOMMU for both arm64 and x86_64 hosts.

  • x86_64 (e.g. c5.metal, i3.metal):

    IOMMU should be disabled by default. In that situation, the igb_uio can be used as it is but vfio-pci should be working in no-IOMMU mode (please see above).

    When IOMMU is enabled, igb_uio cannot be used as it’s not supporting this feature, while vfio-pci should work without any changes. To enable IOMMU on those hosts, please update GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in file /etc/default/grub with the below extra boot arguments:

    iommu=1 intel_iommu=on

    Then, make the changes live by executing as a root:

    # grub2-mkconfig > /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

    Finally, reboot should result in IOMMU being enabled.

  • arm64 (a1.metal):

    IOMMU should be enabled by default. Unfortunately, vfio-pci isn’t supporting SMMU, which is implementation of IOMMU for arm64 architecture and igb_uio isn’t supporting IOMMU at all, so to use DPDK with ENA on those hosts, one must disable IOMMU. This can be done by updating GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in file /etc/default/grub with the extra boot argument:


    Then, make the changes live by executing as a root:

    # grub2-mkconfig > /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

    Finally, reboot should result in IOMMU being disabled. Without IOMMU, igb_uio can be used as it is but vfio-pci should be working in no-IOMMU mode (please see above).

16.10. Usage example

Follow instructions available in the document compiling and testing a PMD for a NIC to launch testpmd with Amazon ENA devices managed by librte_net_ena.

Example output:

EAL: PCI device 0000:00:06.0 on NUMA socket -1
EAL:   Invalid NUMA socket, default to 0
EAL:   probe driver: 1d0f:ec20 net_ena

Interactive-mode selected
testpmd: create a new mbuf pool <mbuf_pool_socket_0>: n=171456, size=2176, socket=0
testpmd: preferred mempool ops selected: ring_mp_mc
Warning! port-topology=paired and odd forward ports number, the last port will pair with itself.
Configuring Port 0 (socket 0)
Port 0: 00:00:00:11:00:01
Checking link statuses...