28. IXGBE Driver
28.1. Vector PMD for IXGBE
Vector PMD uses Intel® SIMD instructions to optimize packet I/O. It improves load/store bandwidth efficiency of L1 data cache by using a wider SSE/AVX register 1 (1). The wider register gives space to hold multiple packet buffers so as to save instruction number when processing bulk of packets.
There is no change to PMD API. The RX/TX handler are the only two entries for vPMD packet I/O. They are transparently registered at runtime RX/TX execution if all condition checks pass.
To date, only an SSE version of IX GBE vPMD is available.
Some constraints apply as pre-conditions for specific optimizations on bulk packet transfers. The following sections explain RX and TX constraints in the vPMD.
28.1.1. RX Constraints
126.96.36.199. Prerequisites and Pre-conditions
The following prerequisites apply:
To enable vPMD to work for RX, bulk allocation for Rx must be allowed.
Ensure that the following pre-conditions are satisfied:
rxq->rx_free_thresh >= RTE_PMD_IXGBE_RX_MAX_BURST
rxq->rx_free_thresh < rxq->nb_rx_desc
(rxq->nb_rx_desc % rxq->rx_free_thresh) == 0
rxq->nb_rx_desc < (IXGBE_MAX_RING_DESC - RTE_PMD_IXGBE_RX_MAX_BURST)
These conditions are checked in the code.
Scattered packets are not supported in this mode. If an incoming packet is greater than the maximum acceptable length of one “mbuf” data size (by default, the size is 2 KB), vPMD for RX would be disabled.
By default, IXGBE_MAX_RING_DESC is set to 4096 and RTE_PMD_IXGBE_RX_MAX_BURST is set to 32.
188.8.131.52. Feature not Supported by RX Vector PMD
Some features are not supported when trying to increase the throughput in vPMD. They are:
RX checksum off load
Other features are supported using optional MACRO configuration. They include:
HW VLAN strip
HW extend dual VLAN
To guarantee the constraint, capabilities in dev_conf.rxmode.offloads will be checked:
fdir_conf->mode will also be checked.
184.108.40.206. VF Runtime Options
devargs options can be enabled at runtime. They must
be passed as part of EAL arguments. For example,
testpmd -a af:10.0,pflink_fullchk=1 -- -i
rte_eth_link_get_nowait()to get VF link status, this option is used to control how VF synchronizes its status with PF’s. If set, VF will not only check the PF’s physical link status by reading related register, but also check the mailbox status. We call this behavior as fully checking. And checking mailbox will trigger PF’s mailbox interrupt generation. If unset, the application can get the VF’s link status quickly by just reading the PF’s link status register, this will avoid the whole system’s mailbox interrupt generation.
rte_eth_link_get()will still use the mailbox method regardless of the pflink_fullchk setting.
220.127.116.11. RX Burst Size
As vPMD is focused on high throughput, it assumes that the RX burst size is equal to or greater than 32 per burst. It returns zero if using nb_pkt < 32 as the expected packet number in the receive handler.
28.1.2. TX Constraint
The only prerequisite is related to tx_rs_thresh. The tx_rs_thresh value must be greater than or equal to RTE_PMD_IXGBE_TX_MAX_BURST, but less or equal to RTE_IXGBE_TX_MAX_FREE_BUF_SZ. Consequently, by default the tx_rs_thresh value is in the range 32 to 64.
18.104.22.168. Feature not Supported by TX Vector PMD
TX vPMD only works when offloads is set to 0
This means that it does not support any TX offload.
28.2. Application Programming Interface
In DPDK release v16.11 an API for ixgbe specific functions has been added to the ixgbe PMD.
The declarations for the API functions are in the header
28.3. Sample Application Notes
When running l3fwd with vPMD, there is one thing to note. In the configuration, ensure that DEV_RX_OFFLOAD_CHECKSUM in port_conf.rxmode.offloads is NOT set. Otherwise, by default, RX vPMD is disabled.
As in the case of l3fwd, to enable vPMD, do NOT set DEV_RX_OFFLOAD_CHECKSUM in port_conf.rxmode.offloads. In addition, for improved performance, use -bsz “(32,32),(64,64),(32,32)” in load_balancer to avoid using the default burst size of 144.
28.4. Limitations or Known issues
28.4.1. Malicious Driver Detection not Supported
The Intel x550 series NICs support a feature called MDD (Malicious Driver Detection) which checks the behavior of the VF driver. If this feature is enabled, the VF must use the advanced context descriptor correctly and set the CC (Check Context) bit. DPDK PF doesn’t support MDD, but kernel PF does. We may hit problem in this scenario kernel PF + DPDK VF. If user enables MDD in kernel PF, DPDK VF will not work. Because kernel PF thinks the VF is malicious. But actually it’s not. The only reason is the VF doesn’t act as MDD required. There’s significant performance impact to support MDD. DPDK should check if the advanced context descriptor should be set and set it. And DPDK has to ask the info about the header length from the upper layer, because parsing the packet itself is not acceptable. So, it’s too expensive to support MDD. When using kernel PF + DPDK VF on x550, please make sure to use a kernel PF driver that disables MDD or can disable MDD.
Some kernel drivers already disable MDD by default while some kernels can use
insmod ixgbe.ko MDD=0,0 to disable MDD. Each “0” in the
command refers to a port. For example, if there are 6 ixgbe ports, the command
should be changed to
insmod ixgbe.ko MDD=0,0,0,0,0,0.
The statistics of ixgbe hardware must be polled regularly in order for it to remain consistent. Running a DPDK application without polling the statistics will cause registers on hardware to count to the maximum value, and “stick” at that value.
In order to avoid statistic registers every reaching the maximum value,
read the statistics from the hardware using
The maximum time between statistics polls that ensures consistent results can be calculated as follows:
max_read_interval = UINT_MAX / max_packets_per_second max_read_interval = 4294967295 / 14880952 max_read_interval = 288.6218096127183 (seconds) max_read_interval = ~4 mins 48 sec.
In order to ensure valid results, it is recommended to poll every 4 minutes.
28.4.3. MTU setting
Although the user can set the MTU separately on PF and VF ports, the ixgbe NIC only supports one global MTU per physical port. So when the user sets different MTUs on PF and VF ports in one physical port, the real MTU for all these PF and VF ports is the largest value set. This behavior is based on the kernel driver behavior.
28.4.4. VF MAC address setting
On ixgbe, the concept of “pool” can be used for different things depending on the mode. In VMDq mode, “pool” means a VMDq pool. In IOV mode, “pool” means a VF.
There is no RTE API to add a VF’s MAC address from the PF. On ixgbe, the
rte_eth_dev_mac_addr_add() function can be used to add a VF’s MAC address,
as a workaround.
28.4.5. X550 does not support legacy interrupt mode
X550 cannot get interrupts if using
uio_pci_generic module or using legacy
interrupt mode of
vfio. Because the errata of X550 states
that the Interrupt Status bit is not implemented. The errata is the item #22
from X550 spec update
uio_pci_generic module or using legacy interrupt mode of
vfio, the Interrupt Status bit would be checked if the
interrupt is coming. Since the bit is not implemented in X550, the irq cannot
be handled correctly and cannot report the event fd to DPDK apps. Then apps
cannot get interrupts and
dmesg will show messages like
irq #No.: ``
Do not bind the
uio_pci_generic module in X550 NICs.
Do not bind
igb_uio with legacy mode in X550 NICs.
vfio with legacy mode in X550 NICs, use
modprobe vfio ``
``nointxmask=1 to load
vfio module if the intx is not shared with other
28.5. Inline crypto processing support
Inline IPsec processing is supported for
mode for ESP packets only:
ESP authentication only: AES-128-GMAC (128-bit key)
ESP encryption and authentication: AES-128-GCM (128-bit key)
IPsec Security Gateway Sample Application supports inline IPsec processing for ixgbe PMD.
For more details see the IPsec Security Gateway Sample Application and Security library documentation.
28.6. Virtual Function Port Representors
The IXGBE PF PMD supports the creation of VF port representors for the control
and monitoring of IXGBE virtual function devices. Each port representor
corresponds to a single virtual function of that device. Using the
representor the user can specify which virtual functions to create
port representors for on initialization of the PF PMD by passing the VF IDs of
the VFs which are required.:
Currently hot-plugging of representor ports is not supported so all required representors must be specified on the creation of the PF.
28.7. Supported Chipsets and NICs
Intel 82599EB 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Intel 82598EB 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Intel 82599ES 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Intel 82599EN 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Intel Ethernet Controller X540-AT2
Intel Ethernet Controller X550-BT2
Intel Ethernet Controller X550-AT2
Intel Ethernet Controller X550-AT
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-SR1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-SR2
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-LR1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA2
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA4
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-QDA1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-T2
Intel 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit AT Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit AT2 Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit CX4 Dual Port Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit XF LR Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit XF SR Dual Port Server Adapter
Intel 10 Gigabit XF SR Server Adapter
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X540-T1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X540-T2
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X550-T1
Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X550-T2