3. Compiling the DPDK Target from Source


Parts of this process can also be done using the setup script described in the Quick Start Setup Script section of this document.

3.1. Install the DPDK and Browse Sources

First, uncompress the archive and move to the uncompressed DPDK source directory:

tar xJf dpdk-<version>.tar.xz
cd dpdk-<version>

The DPDK is composed of several directories:

  • lib: Source code of DPDK libraries
  • drivers: Source code of DPDK poll-mode drivers
  • app: Source code of DPDK applications (automatic tests)
  • examples: Source code of DPDK application examples
  • config, buildtools, mk: Framework-related makefiles, scripts and configuration

3.2. Installation of DPDK Target Environments

The format of a DPDK target is:



  • ARCH can be: i686, x86_64, ppc_64, arm64
  • MACHINE can be: native, power8, armv8a
  • EXECENV can be: linuxapp, bsdapp
  • TOOLCHAIN can be: gcc, icc

The targets to be installed depend on the 32-bit and/or 64-bit packages and compilers installed on the host. Available targets can be found in the DPDK/config directory. The defconfig_ prefix should not be used.


Configuration files are provided with the RTE_MACHINE optimization level set. Within the configuration files, the RTE_MACHINE configuration value is set to native, which means that the compiled software is tuned for the platform on which it is built. For more information on this setting, and its possible values, see the DPDK Programmers Guide.

When using the IntelĀ® C++ Compiler (icc), one of the following commands should be invoked for 64-bit or 32-bit use respectively. Notice that the shell scripts update the $PATH variable and therefore should not be performed in the same session. Also, verify the compiler’s installation directory since the path may be different:

source /opt/intel/bin/iccvars.sh intel64
source /opt/intel/bin/iccvars.sh ia32

To install and make targets, use the make install T=<target> command in the top-level DPDK directory.

For example, to compile a 64-bit target using icc, run:

make install T=x86_64-native-linuxapp-icc

To compile a 32-bit build using gcc, the make command should be:

make install T=i686-native-linuxapp-gcc

To prepare a target without building it, for example, if the configuration changes need to be made before compilation, use the make config T=<target> command:

make config T=x86_64-native-linuxapp-gcc


Any kernel modules to be used, e.g. igb_uio, kni, must be compiled with the same kernel as the one running on the target. If the DPDK is not being built on the target machine, the RTE_KERNELDIR environment variable should be used to point the compilation at a copy of the kernel version to be used on the target machine.

Once the target environment is created, the user may move to the target environment directory and continue to make code changes and re-compile. The user may also make modifications to the compile-time DPDK configuration by editing the .config file in the build directory. (This is a build-local copy of the defconfig file from the top- level config directory).

cd x86_64-native-linuxapp-gcc
vi .config

In addition, the make clean command can be used to remove any existing compiled files for a subsequent full, clean rebuild of the code.

3.3. Browsing the Installed DPDK Environment Target

Once a target is created it contains all libraries, including poll-mode drivers, and header files for the DPDK environment that are required to build customer applications. In addition, the test and testpmd applications are built under the build/app directory, which may be used for testing. A kmod directory is also present that contains kernel modules which may be loaded if needed.