Read a whitepaper on Building a 200G Wire-speed Traffic Generator Using 1U Commodity Server

03/04/18

With Netcope Development Kit, it is possible to build a powerful 100G traffic generator for a much better price than a dedicated hardware generator.

The speed of network technologies has grown by hundreds of gigabytes in just a few years. Starting at 10G, we now have 25G, 50G, 100G and 200G, while 400G is already in sight. But as always, this great progress comes at a price. Although CPUs and memories evolve as well, common servers simply cannot provide enough power to do any non-trivial traffic processing at these line-rates. And this is where hardware acceleration bridges the gap.

It may seem that the adoption of hardware acceleration into traffic processing is too difficult or expensive. Let’s take a look at a simple use case to see how easy it can be to turn a PC into a 200G traffic generator. Whatever server you have, even with the most powerful CPU inside, there is no way to push much more than 100G through a single PCI-Express gen 3 16-lane interconnection. Although we could use two of these to get 32 PCI-Express gen 3 lanes with up to 256 Gbps of theoretical throughput, we have chosen a different way. Let’s use the resources of an FPGA to build a 200G traffic generator requiring no more than zero CPU utilization to run. 

Key benefit of this setup from the managerial perspective is a massive reduction in initial purchasing cost compared to hardware traffic generators. High-end commodity server with 2 powerful CPUs and a dual port 100G FPGA network card can be bought for 20 000 USD, while hardware traffic generators cost up to 250 000 USD.

Read the whitepaper here.