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Project Name:

  • Proposed name for the project: Open vSwitch for NFV
  • Proposed name for the repository: ovs_dev_nfv
  • Project Categories: Collaborative Development

Project description:

This project proposes:

  • Modifying the OPNFV build to include a deployment option for the software-accelerated userspace Open vSwitch build. This change will significantly improve the performance of the NFVI for network I/O.
  • Future work that will encompass collaborative development within the Open vSwitch project to improve the performance of the software-accelerated userspace Open vSwitch and increasing its suitability for Telco NFV deployments.

The current release of OPNFV (Arno) enables continuous integration, automated deployment and testing of components from upstream projects such as Ceph, KVM, OpenDaylight, OpenStack and Open vSwitch. The combination of these provides an initial build of the NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) components of the ETSI NFV architecture.

Open vSwitch is an open source virtual switch providing Virtual Networking services in the NFVI. It provides network connectivity from Virtual Machines (VMs) to the physical network and between Virtual Machines. The default deployment of Open vSwitch in OPNFV implements the software fast path as a Linux Kernel Module. This kernel module caches recently used flows in order to quickly forward subsequent packets in the same flow space. The kernel datapath, however, is not necessarily designed or targeted to meet the requirements for the NFVI, and we need to make collaborative efforts toward realizing NFV requirements. Although Open vSwitch gives adequate performance in many cloud and enterprise use cases, when used in Telco NFV use cases, the performance may not be sufficient in terms of throughput and latency, particularly for small packet sizes.

Technologies such as DPDK and ODP have shown that running packet processing workloads in userspace software can improve the performance in terms of throughput and latency. The advantage of this is apparent in recent work done on the Open vSwitch userspace forwarding plane which has shown 10x improvement in packet throughput with respect to the Open vSwitch kernel space dataplane. This is demonstrated via the OPNFV vsperf project.

This project intends to co-exist with the Kernel Space OVS deployment allowing the users of OPNFV to select which version of OVS to deploy in their environment. It will follow the relevant test procedures as specified in the test and integration projects in the category.


Problem Statement
The Open vSwitch kernel datapath does not provide the highest available software performance using current technologies. The scope of this work is to enable the software-accelerated userspace datapath as a deployable component in the OPNFV build in order to improve the performance of the NFVI.

Test and Benchmarking
Integration will require that all relevant functional tests that pass in the OPNFV test infrastructure will also pass when the software-accelerated userspace Open vSwitch is deployed. The OPNFV vsperf project will report any performance differences between the two deployment options.

Feature Development
If any gap in functionality or performance is identified during the Test and Benchmarking phase, those features will be developed and upstreamed into the project.

Future Work
When the software-accelerated userspace datapath is available as a deployment option in OPNFV, it is envisaged that further development activities will be required such as:

  1. Features and bugfixes may be required for continued support of the Open vSwitch software-accelerated userspace datapath as a deployable build option within the OPNFV build.
  2. As NFVI Networking performance requirements become apparent, from OPNFV Yardstick or OPNFV Vsperf for example, this project will collate these requirements in order to drive performance enhancements into the Open vSwitch software-accelerated userspace datapath.
  3. Further NFVI Networking functional requirements may become apparent requiring enhancements to be made to the Open vSwitch software-accelerated userspace datapath.
  4. May involve changes to upstream components to facilitate deployment of accelerated user space data path infrastructure in the switch interfaces, data paths and bridges as part of NFVI such as OVSDB and OVN.


This project plans to leverage existing test infrastructure

  • All relevant test cases that successfully complete when OPNFV is deployed using the Open vSwitch kernel space datapath will be required to complete with the software-accelerated userspace datapath.


For any additional functionality required in Open vSwitch, the relevant Open vSwitch documentation will need to be updated (e.g. man pages, install guides, etc)

Relevant OPNFV release documentation will also need to be updated:

  • User Guide
  • Function Test Guide
  • Automated deployment guide
  • OPNFV Release Notes
  • OPNFV Installation Guide


  • There are currently no similar projects underway in OPNFV or in an upstream project.
  • There are a number of related projects that deal with requirements (OPNFV Yardstick) and benchmarking (OPNFV Vsperf).
  • The relevant upstream project that will need to be influenced here is
  • In terms of HW dependencies, the aim is to use OPNFV Pharos compatible infrastructure.

Committers and Contributors:

Name and affiliation of the project leader

Names and affiliations of the committers

Names and affiliations of any other contributors

Planned deliverables

  • Modifications to the OPNFV genesis repository.
  • Packaged version of the Open vSwitch software-accelerated userspace datapath binary for deployment on Pharos-compliant systems.
  • Code delivered into the upstream project enabling functionality required to enable the Open vSwitch software-accelerated userspace datapath in OPNFV.
  • Test report showing compliance with OPNFV test infrastructure

Proposed Release Schedule:

  • Target intersection of integration of the software-accelerated userspace datapath with OPNFV B Release.
  • Future development work to improve the performance of the software-accelerated userspace datapath will be targeted for later releases.

Release C Planning:

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open_vswitch_for_nfv.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/04 11:41 by Simona Coppola