Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar for The Linux Foundation where we featured three speakers that shared how they became interested in harnessing FD.io’s Vector Packet Processing (VPP) technology.
In this webinar, each network operator walked us through their challenges, requirements, options they considered, and the results they achieved using TNSR software with VPP. Their stories, networking environments, and use-cases are unique and really interesting. Check out some of the highlights listed below!
The purpose of this webinar was to provide an avenue for FD.io to enable any network engineer in the world to try out VPP themselves. Many engineers are perhaps by now ‘aware’ of VPP, but really don’t have an easy way to try it out for themselves and see what it’s all about. To help them “kick the VPP tires” without having to do a bunch of work, Netgate offered up its free version of TNSR for home and lab use for FD.io to leverage.
TNSR not only allows engineers to delve into VPP for its packet processing and software router prowess. It provides a turnkey product experience that fully integrates all of the necessary solution components to fire up a high-performance Linux router and put it to work in your network stack right away. VPP alone can’t do that. But TNSR wraps the VPP data plane with DPDK, FRR, strongSwan, Clixon and more - into a ready to install, configure and deploy high-speed router.
We started looking at solutions that were available…anything that can run 10 plus Gbps with BGP was going to be pretty expensive. We like open source software capabilities, and avoiding proprietary ASICs brings down the cost quite a bit.
Having really no previous experience with VPP and DPDK, I was kind of worried if I would be able to figure out how to run it. Ultimately TNSR was pretty easy. If you’re familiar with Cisco and know the commands, it is pretty similar.
Now we’ve got a 10 Gbps internet connection and a couple 1 Gbps connections with AWS direct connect. TNSR is able to handle this with no problem, and honestly it’s a fraction of the cost.
We need the ability to go from “zero to a thousand” real quick and most of our infrastructure is built on open source technologies. We have to be able to develop into those open source technologies to support 10 to 25,000 calls on a dime. One of the issues that we always run into is scale - if we go with a commercial product. And if it does scale, how much will it cost? That’s where we came across VPP.
We wanted the ability to turn this thing into a service so that it’s not a piece of hardware that sits off the side that we call out to, but that it’s completely integrated into how we deploy our infrastructure.
We experimented with building out a router and the truth is, the amount of engineering resources that went behind it was just outside of our scope. So the question was how do we take VPP to production if it can service all these requirements without taking that on as an internal development project?
We have to keep costs down and offer services that are just as good as an ISP. Our previous solution used a device that had a limited number of 10 gig ports. Increasing that would cost more with licensing fees and support maintenance costs.
I was actually kind of surprised, I thought VPP was just code that vendors would use to build a product from and that it wasn’t anything you could really approach. TNSR helped me see it as a product, something that you could take and put into practice really quickly.
Interested in seeing how incorporating VPP into your network edge can benefit your business? Go to tnsr.com and download the free version, or purchase a commercial use version that includes 24x7 TAC Support starting at $499 per year.