At ONF Plugfest, Ixia Helps FIB (Forwarding Information Base) Measurement Time for OpenFlow Switch Under Heavy Load Conditions

November 21, 2014 by Ixia Blog Team

Few weeks ago, I attended and ONF Plugfest event hosted by HP at their Roseville, CA campus. The event was attended by 10 companies. The same event ran parallel at BII lab in Beijing. The event was focused on the OpenFlow v1.3 specification, and the primary goal was to test interoperability on advanced features such as Table grouping, Table pipeline, Metering, and Master/Slave controller role. I was very pleased to see the progress. Almost all participants supported these advanced features and we were able to successfully validate the functionality.

As a test tool, Ixia played a key role in doing performance/scalability testing of OpenFlow switch. Ixia’s IxANVL conformance test suites helped switch vendors to validate compliance, and OpenFlow switch emulation helped OpenFlow controller vendors to validate their controller can dynamically discover large scale topology and do the path provisioning.

This time around, I executed new test cases that caught many vendors attention. The tests measured FIB_IN convergence time (Forwarding Information Base). In the past, many of our customers needed a test tool that could help measure their OpenFlow switch’s performance with respect to how fast it can install the flows in the table and start forwarding data plane traffic.

Open Flow

The measurement was done under two conditions:

  • How fast switch can install large # of flows and forward packets using single table
  • How fast switch can install large # of flows and forward packets using table pipeline mode

The test ran using Ixia’s patented TrueView Convergence measurement feature. In order to provide accurate measurement, following is required:

  • Timestamp every packet
  • Timestamp the first packet in and last packet out on a port, per-flow
  • Capture protocol event time stamp
  • Capture link event timestamp
  • Monitor Rx rate and timestamp when set below thresholds are crossed
  • Monitor Rx rate and timestamp when set above threshold are crossed

For FIB_IN convergence time measurement, we need to use trigger point when flow_range is enabled (resulting flow_mod sent to switch) and when data plane traffic Rx rate reaches above configured threshold level.

The formula is:

FIB_IN convergence time = Data plane above Threshold timestamp – Control plane event start time

Under heavy scale conditions (large # flows and line rate traffic), I must admit that couple of switches performed very well and achieved an FIB_IN convergence measurement result within 500ms interval. The snapshot below shows FIB_IN convergence time with 450k IPv4 flows.

Open Flow 2