|Internet-Draft||Scalability of IPv4aaS Technologies||October 2021|
|Lencse||Expires 19 April 2022||[Page]|
- Intended Status:
Scalability of IPv6 Transition Technologies for IPv4aaS
Several IPv6 transition technologies have been developed to provide customers with IPv4-as-a-Service (IPv4aaS) for ISPs with an IPv6-only access and/or core network. All these technologies have their advantages and disadvantages, and depending on existing topology, skills, strategy and other preferences, one of these technologies may be the most appropriate solution for a network operator.¶
This document examines the scalability of the five most prominent IPv4aaS technologies (464XLAT, Dual Stack Lite, Lightweight 4over6, MAP-E, MAP-T) considering two aspects: (1) how their performance scales up with the number of CPU cores, (2) how their performance degrades, when the number of concurrent sessions is increased until hardware limit is reached.¶
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Copyright (c) 2021 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.¶
This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.¶
IETF has standardized several IPv6 transition technologies [LEN2019] and occupied a neutral position trusting the selection of the most appropriate ones to the market. [I-D.ietf-v6ops-transition-comparison] provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of the five most prominent IPv4aaS technologies to assist operators with this problem. This document adds one more detail: measurement data regarding the scalability of the examined IPv4aaS technologies.¶
Currently, this document contains only the scalability measurements of the iptables stateful NAT44 implementation. It serves as a sample to test if the disclosed results are (1) useful and (2) sufficient for the network operators.¶
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.¶
[RFC8219] has defined a benchmarking methodology for IPv6 transition technologies. [I-D.lencse-bmwg-benchmarking-stateful] has amended it by addressing how to benchmark stateful NATxy gateways using pseudorandom port numbers recommended by [RFC4814]. It has defined a measurement procedure for maximum connection establishment rate and reused the classic measurement procedures like throuhput, latency, frame loss rate, etc. from [RFC8219]. We used two of them: maximum connection establishment rate and throughput to characterize the performance of the examined system.¶
The scalability of iptables is examined in two aspects:¶
- How its performance scales up with the number of CPU cores?¶
- How its performance degrades, when the number of concurrent sessions is increased?¶
The test setup in Figure 1 was followed. The two devices, the Tester and the DUT (Device Under Test), were both Dell PowerEdge R430 servers having two 2.1GHz Intel Xeon E5-2683 v4 CPUs, 384GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM and Intel 10G dual port X540 network adapters. The NICs of the servers were interconnected by direct cables, and the CPU clock frequecy was set to fixed 2.1 GHz on both servers. They had Debian 9.13 Linux operating system with 4.9.0-16-amd64 kernel. The measurements were performed by siitperf [LEN2021] using the "stateful" branch (latest commit Aug. 16, 2021). The DPDK version was 16.11.11-1+deb9u2. The version of iptables was 1.6.0.¶
The ratio of number of connections in the connection tracking table and the value of the hashsize parameter of iptables significantly influences its performance. Although the default setting is hashsize=nf_conntrack_max/8, we have usually set hashsize=nf_conntrack_max to increase the performance of iptables, which was crucial, when high number of connections were used, because then the execution time of the tests was dominated by the preliminary phase, when several hundereds of millions connections had to be established. (In some cases, we had to use different settings due to memory limitations. The tables presenting the results always contain these parameters.)¶
The size of the port number pool is an important parameter of the bechmarking method for stateful NATxy gateways, thus it is also given for all tests.¶
To examine how the performance of iptables scales up with the number of CPU cores, the number of active CPU cores was set to 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 using the "maxcpus=" kernel parameter.¶
The number of connections was always 4,000,000 using 4,000 different source port numbers and 1,000 different destination port numbers. Both the connection tracking table size and the hash table size was set to 2^23.¶
The error of the binary search was chosen to be lower than 0.1% of the expected results. The experiments were executed 10 times.¶
Besides the connection establishment rate and the throughput of iptables, also the throuhput of the IPv4 packet forwarding of the Linux kernel was measured to provide a basis for comparison.¶
The results are presented in Figure 2. The unit for the maximum connection establishment rate is 1,000 connections per second. The unit for throughput is 1,000 packets per second (measured with bidirectional traffic, and the number of all packets per second is displayed).¶
Whereas the throughput of IPv4 packet forwarding scaled up from 0.91Mpps to 11.56Mpps showing a relative scale up of 0.793, the throuhput of iptables scaled up from 414.9kpps to 4,557kpps showing a relative scale up of 0.686 (and the relative scale up of the maximum connection establishment rate is only 0.666). On the one hand, this is the price of the stateful operation. On the other hand, this result is quite good compared to the scale-up results of NSD (a high performance authoritative DNS server) presented in Table 9 of [LEN2020], which is only 0.52. (1,454,661/177,432=8.2-fold performance using 16 cores.) And DNS is not a stateful technology.¶
To examine how the performance of iptables degrades with the number connections in the connection tracking table, the number of connections was increased fourfold by doubling the size of both the source port number range and the destination port number range. Both the connection tracking table size and the hash table size was also increased four fold. However, we reached the limits of the hardware at 400,000,000 connections: we could not set the size of the hash table to 2^29 but only to 2^28. The same value was used at 800,000,000 connections too, when the number of connections was only doubled, because 1.6 billion connections would not fit into the memory.¶
The error of the binary search was chosen to be lower than 0.1% of the expected results. The experiments were executed 10 times (except for the very long lasting measurements with 800,000,000 connections).¶
The results are presented in Figure 3. The unit for the maximum connection establishment rate is 1,000,000 connections per second. The unit for throughput is 1,000,000 packets per second (measured with bidirectional traffic, and the number of all packets per second is displayed).¶
The performance of iptables shows degradation at 6.25M connections compared to 1.56M connections very likely due to the exhaustion of the L3 cache of the CPU of the DUT. Then the performance of iptables is fearly constant up to 100M connections. A small performance decrease can be observed at 400M connections due to the lower hash table size. A more significant performance decrease can be observed at 800M connections. It is caused by two factors:¶
- on average, about 3 connections were hashed to the same place¶
- non NUMA local memory was also used.¶
We note that the CPU has 2 NUMA nodes, cores 0, 2, ... 14 belong to NUMA node 0, and cores 1, 3, ... 15 belong to NUMA node 1. The maximum memory consumption with 400,000,000 connections was below 150GB, thus it could be stored in NUMA local memory.¶
Therefore, we have pointed out important limitations of the stateful NAT44 technology:¶
- there is a performance decrease, when approaching hardware limits¶
- there is a hardware limit, beyond which the system cannot handle the connections at all (e.g. 1600M connections would not fit into the memory).¶
Therefore, we can conclude that, on the one hand, a well tailored hashing may guarantee an excellent scale-up of stateful NAT44 regarding the number of connections in a wide range, however, on the other hand, stateful operation has its limits resulting both in performance decrease, when approaching hardware limits and also in inability to handle more sessions, when reaching the memory limits.¶
The measurements were carried out by remotely using the resources of NICT StarBED, 2-12 Asahidai, Nomi-City, Ishikawa 923-1211, Japan. The author would like to thank Shuuhei Takimoto for the possibility to use StarBED, as well as to Satoru Gonno and Makoto Yoshida for their help and advice in StarBED usage related issues.¶
The author would like to thank Ole Troan for his comments on the v6ops mailing list, while the scalalability measurements of iptables were intended to be a part of [I-D.ietf-v6ops-transition-comparison].¶
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