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Date:	Fri, 15 Jan 2016 14:32:12 +0100
From:	Hannes Frederic Sowa <>
To:	Jesper Dangaard Brouer <>,
	"" <>
Cc:	David Miller <>,
	Alexander Duyck <>,
	Alexei Starovoitov <>,
	Daniel Borkmann <>,
	Marek Majkowski <>,
	Florian Westphal <>,
	Paolo Abeni <>,
	John Fastabend <>
Subject: Re: Optimizing instruction-cache, more packets at each stage

On 15.01.2016 14:22, Jesper Dangaard Brouer wrote:
> Given net-next is closed, we have time to discuss controversial core
> changes right? ;-)
> I want to do some instruction-cache level optimizations.
> What do I mean by that...
> The kernel network stack code path (a packet travels) is obviously
> larger than the instruction-cache (icache).  Today, every packet
> travel individually through the network stack, experiencing the exact
> same icache misses (as the previous packet).
> I imagine that we could process several packets at each stage in the
> packet processing code path.  That way making better use of the
> icache.
> Today, we already allow NAPI net_rx_action() to process many
> (e.g. up-to 64) packets in the driver RX-poll routine.  But the driver
> then calls the "full" stack for every single packet (e.g. via
> napi_gro_receive()) in its processing loop.  Thus, trashing the icache
> for every packet.
> I have a prove-of-concept patch for ixgbe, which gives me 10% speedup
> on full IP forwarding.  (This patch also optimize delaying when I
> touch the packet data, thus it also optimizes data-cache misses).  The
> basic idea is that I delay calling ixgbe_rx_skb/napi_gro_receive, and
> allow the RX loop (in ixgbe_clean_rx_irq()) to run more iterations
> before "flushing" the icache (by calling the stack).
> This was only at the driver level.  I also would like some API towards
> the stack.  Maybe we could simple pass a skb-list?
> Changing / adjusting the stack to support processing in "stages" might
> be more difficult/controversial?

I once tried this up till the vlan layer and error handling got so 
complex and complicated that I stopped there. Maybe it is possible in 
some separate stages.

This needs redesign of a lot of stuff and while doing so I would switch 
from a more stack based approach to build the stack to try out a more 
iterative one (see e.g. stack space consumption problems).

Just my 2 cents,

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