18. ENA Poll Mode Driver

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

18.1. Supported ENA adapters

Current ENA PMD supports the following ENA adapters including:

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

18.2. 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
  • Rx interrupts

18.3. 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.

18.4. 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.

18.5. 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.

18.6. Configuration

18.6.1. Runtime Configuration

  • 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.

  • normal_llq_hdr (default 0)

    Enforce normal LLQ policy.

  • miss_txc_to (default 5)

    Number of seconds after which the Tx packet will be considered missing. If the missing packets number will exceed dynamically calculated threshold, the driver will trigger the device reset which should be handled by the application. Checking for missing Tx completions happens in the driver’s timer service. Setting this parameter to 0 disables this feature. Maximum allowed value is 60 seconds.

  • enable_llq (default 1)

    Determines whenever the driver should use the LLQ (if it’s available) or not.

    NOTE: On the 6th generation AWS instances disabling LLQ may lead to a huge performance degradation. In general disabling LLQ is highly not recommended!

  • control_poll_interval (default 0)

    Enable polling-based functionality of the admin queues, eliminating the need for interrupts in the control-path:

    0 - Disable (Admin queue will work in interrupt mode).

    [1..1000] - Number of milliseconds to wait between periodic inspection of the admin queues.

    A non-zero value for this devarg is mandatory for control path functionality when binding ports to uio_pci_generic kernel module which lacks interrupt support.

18.6.2. 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.

18.7. 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.

18.8. Supported Operating Systems

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

18.9. 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 (*), igb_uio, or uio_pci_generic 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 (planned to be added). If vfio-pci is used user should follow AWS ENA PMD documentation.

  3. For igb_uio: Insert igb_uio kernel module using the command modprobe uio; insmod igb_uio.ko wc_activate=1

  4. For vfio-pci: Insert vfio-pci kernel module using the command modprobe vfio-pci 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. For uio_pci_generic: Insert uio_pci_generic kernel module using the command modprobe uio_pci_generic. Make sure that the IOMMU is disabled or is in passthrough mode. For example: modprobe uio_pci_generic intel_iommu=off.

    Note that when launching the application, the control_poll_interval devarg must be used with a non-zero value (1000 is recommended) as uio_pci_generic lacks interrupt support. The control-path (admin queues) of the ENA requires poll-mode to process command completion and asynchronous notification from the device. For example: dpdk-app -a "00:06.0,control_path_poll_interval=1000".

  6. Bind the intended ENA device to vfio-pci, igb_uio, or uio_pci_generic 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.

Rx interrupts support

ENA PMD supports Rx interrupts, which can be used to wake up lcores waiting for input. Please note that it won’t work with igb_uio and uio_pci_generic so to use this feature, the vfio-pci should be used.

ENA handles admin interrupts and AENQ notifications on separate interrupt. There is possibility that there won’t be enough event file descriptors to handle both admin and Rx interrupts. In that situation the Rx interrupt request will fail.

Note about usage on *.metal instances

On AWS, the metal instances are supporting IOMMU for both arm64 and x86_64 hosts. Note that uio_pci_generic lacks IOMMU support and cannot be used for metal instances.

  • 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).

18.10. 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: Device 0000:00:06.0 is not NUMA-aware, defaulting socket 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...