4. Cross compiling DPDK for ARM64

This chapter describes how to cross compile DPDK for ARM64 from x86 build hosts.


Whilst it is recommended to natively build DPDK on ARM64 (just like with x86), it is also possible to cross compile DPDK for ARM64. An ARM64 cross compiler GNU toolchain or an LLVM/clang toolchain may be used for cross-compilation.

4.1. Prerequisites

4.1.1. NUMA library

NUMA is required by most modern machines, not needed for non-NUMA architectures.


For compiling the NUMA lib, run libtool –version to ensure the libtool version >= 2.2, otherwise the compilation will fail with errors.

git clone https://github.com/numactl/numactl.git
cd numactl
git checkout v2.0.13 -b v2.0.13
autoconf -i
./configure --host=aarch64-linux-gnu CC=<compiler> --prefix=<numa install dir>
make install


The compiler above can be either aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc or clang. See below for information on how to get specific compilers.

The numa header files and lib file is generated in the include and lib folder respectively under <numa install dir>.

4.1.2. Meson prerequisites

Meson depends on pkgconfig to find the dependencies. The package pkg-config-aarch64-linux-gnu is required for aarch64. To install it in Ubuntu:

sudo apt install pkg-config-aarch64-linux-gnu

4.2. GNU toolchain

4.2.1. Obtain the cross toolchain

The latest GNU cross compiler toolchain can be downloaded from: https://developer.arm.com/open-source/gnu-toolchain/gnu-a/downloads.

It is always recommended to check and get the latest compiler tool from the page and use it to generate better code. As of this writing 9.2-2019.12 is the newest, the following description is an example of this version.

wget https://developer.arm.com/-/media/Files/downloads/gnu-a/9.2-2019.12/binrel/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu.tar.xz

4.2.2. Unzip and add into the PATH

tar -xvf gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu.tar.xz
export PATH=$PATH:<cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/bin


For the host requirements and other info, refer to the release note section: https://releases.linaro.org/components/toolchain/binaries/

4.2.3. Augment the GNU toolchain with NUMA support


This way is optional, an alternative is to use extra CFLAGS and LDFLAGS.

Copy the NUMA header files and lib to the cross compiler’s directories:

cp <numa_install_dir>/include/numa*.h <cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/aarch64-none-linux-gnu/libc/usr/include/
cp <numa_install_dir>/lib/libnuma.a <cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/lib/gcc/aarch64-none-linux-gnu/9.2.1/
cp <numa_install_dir>/lib/libnuma.so <cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/lib/gcc/aarch64-none-linux-gnu/9.2.1/

4.2.4. Cross Compiling DPDK with GNU toolchain using Meson

To cross-compile DPDK on a desired target machine we can use the following command:

meson cross-build --cross-file <target_machine_configuration>
ninja -C cross-build

For example if the target machine is aarch64 we can use the following command:

meson aarch64-build-gcc --cross-file config/arm/arm64_armv8_linux_gcc
ninja -C aarch64-build-gcc

4.3. LLVM/Clang toolchain

4.3.1. Obtain the cross tool chain

The latest LLVM/Clang cross compiler toolchain can be downloaded from: https://developer.arm.com/tools-and-software/open-source-software/developer-tools/llvm-toolchain.

# Ubuntu binaries
wget https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/releases/download/llvmorg-10.0.0/clang+llvm-10.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu-ubuntu-18.04.tar.xz

The LLVM/Clang toolchain does not implement the standard c library. The GNU toolchain ships an implementation we can use. Refer to obtain_GNU_toolchain to get the GNU toolchain.

4.3.2. Unzip and add into the PATH

tar -xvf clang+llvm-10.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu-ubuntu-18.04.tar.xz
export PATH=$PATH:<cross_install_dir>/clang+llvm-10.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu-ubuntu-18.04/bin

4.3.3. Cross Compiling DPDK with LLVM/Clang toolchain using Meson


To use the NUMA library follow the same steps as for augment_the_gnu_toolchain_with_numa_support.

The paths to GNU stdlib must be specified in a cross file. Augmenting the default cross-file’s c_args and c_link_args config/arm/arm64_armv8_linux_clang_ubuntu1804 would look like this:

c_args = ['-target', 'aarch64-linux-gnu', '--sysroot', '<cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/aarch64-none-linux-gnu/libc']
c_link_args = ['-target', 'aarch64-linux-gnu', '-fuse-ld=lld', '--sysroot', '<cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu/aarch64-none-linux-gnu/libc', '--gcc-toolchain=<cross_install_dir>/gcc-arm-9.2-2019.12-x86_64-aarch64-none-linux-gnu']

Assuming the file with augmented c_args and c_link_args is named arm64_armv8_linux_clang, use the following command to cross-compile DPDK for the target machine:

meson aarch64-build-clang --cross-file config/arm/arm64_armv8_linux_clang
ninja -C aarch64-build-clang

4.3.4. Cross Compiling DPDK with LLVM/Clang toolchain using Meson on Ubuntu 18.04

On most popular Linux distribution it is not necessary to download the toolchains, but rather use the packages provided by said distributions. On Ubuntu 18.04, these packages are needed:

sudo apt-get install pkg-config-aarch64-linux-gnu clang llvm llvm-dev lld
libc6-dev-arm64-cross libatomic1-arm64-cross libgcc-8-dev-arm64-cross

Use the following command to cross-compile DPDK for the target machine:

meson aarch64-build-clang --cross-file config/arm/arm64_armv8_linux_clang_ubuntu1804
ninja -C aarch64-build-clang

4.4. Supported cross-compilation targets

If you wish to build for a target which is not among the current cross-files, you may use various combinations of implementer/part number:

Supported implementers:
   'generic': Generic armv8
   '0x41':    Arm
   '0x43':    Cavium
   '0x50':    Ampere Computing
   '0x56':    Marvell ARMADA
   'dpaa':    NXP DPAA

Supported part_numbers for generic:
   'generic': valid for all armv8-a architectures (unoptimized portable build)

Supported part_numbers for 0x41, 0x56, dpaa:
   '0xd03':   cortex-a53
   '0xd04':   cortex-a35
   '0xd09':   cortex-a73
   '0xd0a':   cortex-a75
   '0xd0b':   cortex-a76
   '0xd0c':   neoverse-n1

Supported part_numbers for 0x43:
   '0xa1':    thunderxt88
   '0xa2':    thunderxt81
   '0xa3':    thunderxt83
   '0xaf':    thunderx2t99
   '0xb2':    octeontx2

Supported part_numbers for 0x50:
   '0x0':     emag

4.5. Other cross file options

There are other options you may specify in a cross file to tailor the build:

Supported extra configuration
   max_numa_nodes = n  # will set RTE_MAX_NUMA_NODES
   max_lcores = n      # will set RTE_MAX_LCORE

   numa = false        # set to false to force building for a non-NUMA system
      # if not set or set to true, the build system will build for a NUMA
      # system only if libnuma is installed