Over the last 3 years I've been working a bit on high traffic processing
for various reasons. It started with the wish to capture line-rate GigE
traffic on very small fanless ARM machines and the framework has evolved
to be used at my company as a basis for our anti-DDoS engine capable of
dealing with multiple 10G links saturated with floods.
I know it comes a bit late now that there is XDP, but it's my first
vacation since then and I needed to have a bit of calm time to collect
the patches from the various branches and put them together. Anyway I'm
sending this here in case it can be of interest to anyone, for use or
just to study it.
I presented it in 2014 at kernel recipes :
It now supports drivers mvneta, ixgbe, e1000e, e1000 and igb. It is
very light, and retrieves the packets in the NIC's driver before they
are converted to an skb, then submits them to a registered RX handler
running in softirq context so we have the best of all worlds by
benefitting from CPU scalability, delayed processing, and not paying
the cost of switching to userland. Also an rx_done() function allows
handlers to batch their processing. The RX handler returns an action
among accepting the packet as-is, accepting it modified (eg: vlan or
tunnel decapsulation), dropping it, postponing the processing
(equivalent to EAGAIN), or building a new packet to send back.
This last function is the one requiring the most changes in existing
drivers, but offers the widest range of possibilities. We use it to
send SYN cookies, but I have also implemented a stateless HTTP server
supporting keep-alive using it, achieving line-rate traffic processing
on a single CPU core when the NIC supports it. It's very convenient to
test various stateful TCP components as it's easy to sustain millions
of connections per second on it.
It does not support forwarding between NICs. It was my first goal
because I wanted to implement a TAP with it, bridging the traffic
between two ports, but figured it was adding some complexity to the
system back then. However since then we've implemented traffic
capture in our product, exploiting this framework to capture without
losses at 14 Mpps. I may find some time to try to extract it later.
It uses the /sys API so that you can simply plug tcpdump -r on a
file there, though there's also an mmap version which uses less CPU
(that's important at 10G).
In its current form since the initial code's intent was to limit
core changes, it happens not to modify anything in the kernel by
default and to reuse the net_device's ax25_ptr to attach devices
(idea borrowed from netmap), so it can be used on an existing
kernel just by loading the patched network drivers (yes, I know
it's not a valid solution for the long term).
The current code is available here :
Please let me know if there could be some interest in rebasing it
on more recent versions (currently 3.10, 3.14 and 4.4 are supported).
I don't have much time to assign to it since it works fine as-is,
but will be glad to do so if that can be useful.
Also the stateless HTTP server provided in it definitely is a nice
use case for testing such a framework.