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Initial benchmarks measure net processor performance

Posted: 28 Aug 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:network processor? linley group? software? RFC2544? enginerring task force?

The first benchmarks measuring the performance of network processors are emerging as the Network Processing Forum and The Linley Group complete the first steps of their parallel efforts.

The Network Processing Forum on Monday (Aug. 26) announced its model for IPv4 benchmarking, the first in an ambitious series of benchmarking standards. At the same time, The Linley Group consultancy has developed its own IPv4 model, which it plans to announce next week.

Neither of the benchmark efforts was created from scratch. Taking advantage of the coincidental completion of the NPF effort, The Linley Group's benchmark refers to the NPF IPv4 benchmark, said Bob Wheeler, senior analyst at The Linley Group. And the NPF benchmark itself draws on work done for the Internet Engineering Task Force's RFC2544 document.

The NPF's benchmark outlines a test configuration and specifies how to measure certain parameters, including forwarding rate, packet-loss rate, and the speed at which forwarding tables can be upgraded. Also, the NPF is providing implementation tools such as a script for generating route tables.

Completion of the IPv4 benchmark took longer than expected, but that is because it was the NPF's first effort, said Raj Yavatkar, a chief software architect with the network processing group of Intel Corp. and a board member of the NPF "At the same time, we had to also work out the whole process [for approving benchmarks]," he said.

The Linley Group developed its separate benchmark, dubbed LinleyBench 2002, at the request of network processor vendors, Wheeler said. Part of the concern was speed. "You just cannot work at the same pace as a standards body as you can as an independent organization," he said.

The analyst firm started its benchmarking efforts two months ago with the help of a few large network-processor vendors and network-test laboratory The Tolly Group.

LinleyBench 2002 utilizes a license that requires companies to disclose the test configuration they have used. In addition, Tolly Group will offer certification of a particular vendor's benchmarks. The NPF's benchmark leaves disclosure optional and has no means of third-party certification, Wheeler added.

Wheeler stressed that Linley Group's efforts are not intended to replace the NPF's benchmarks. The Linley Group believes it can stay one step ahead of the NPF on future benchmarks, putting out early versions that could be updated with references to the NPF benchmarks later, Wheeler said.

Next, the NPF plans to tackle benchmarks for IPv6 and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). Future benchmarks will include differentiated services as well as services specific to ATM.

- Craig Matsumoto

EE Times

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