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Date:	Mon, 08 Oct 2007 14:57:13 -0700
From:	Ben Greear <>
To:	Steve Wise <>
CC:	Rick Jones <>,,
	Evgeniy Polyakov <>,,
	Robert Olsson <>
Subject: Re: pktgen question

Steve Wise wrote:
> Ben Greear wrote:
>> Rick Jones wrote:
>>>>> Perf-wise, you could clone the skbs up front, then deliver them to 
>>>>> the nic in a tight loop.  This would mitigate the added overhead 
>>>>> introduced by calling skb_clone() in the loop doing transmits...
>>>> That only works if you are sending a small number of skbs.  You 
>>>> can't pre-clone several minutes worth of 10Gbe traffic
>>>> with any normal amount of RAM.
>>> Does pktgen really need to allocate anything more than some smallish 
>>> fraction more than the depth of the driver's transmit queue?
>> If you want to send sustained high rates of traffic, for more than
>> just a trivial amount of time, then you either have to play the current
>> trick with the skb_get(), or you have to allocate a real packet each time
>> (maybe with skb_clone() or similar, but it's still more overhead than 
>> the skb_get
>> which only bumps a reference count.)
>> I see no other way, but if you can think of one, please let me know.
> You can keep freed skb's that were cloned on a free list, then reuse 
> them once freed.  You can detect when the driver frees them by adding a 
> destroy function to the skb.  So what will happen is the set of cloned 
> skbs needed will eventually settled down to a constent amount and the 
> amount will be based on the latency involved in transmitting a single 
> skb.  And it should be bounded by the max txq depth.  Yes?  (or am I all 
> wet :)
> So you would pay the overhead of cloning only until you hit this steady 
> state.
> Whatchathink?

This skb recycling can certainly work and has been done several
times before.  It never gets into the kernel though.

Also, still a lot more overhead than incrementing the in-use counter
since you will have to re-initialize the pkt (you don't know what
all the underlying devices might have done to it.)

The number needed would be bound by all of the queues involved.  There
could be several queues if you are running pktgen on virtual devices
(with potential queues between virtual devs and hardware devs).

Still, I at least would be interested in seeing a patch if you put
one together.  You should get buy-in from Robert and/or DaveM if you
want it to have a chance to get into the kernel.


Ben Greear <>
Candela Technologies Inc

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