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ACM Computing Surveys
Journal . Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
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fast packet processing with ebpf and xdp concepts code challenges and applications

Concepts, Code, Challenges, and Applications
Authors: Marcos A. M. Vieira; Matheus S. Castanho; Racyus D. G. Pacífico; Elerson R. S. Santos; Eduardo P. M. Câmara Júnior; Luiz F. M. Vieira;

fast packet processing with ebpf and xdp concepts code challenges and applications

Abstract

Extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) is an instruction set and an execution environment inside the Linux kernel. It enables modification, interaction, and kernel programmability at runtime. eBPF can be used to program the eXpress Data Path (XDP), a kernel network layer that processes packets closer to the NIC for fast packet processing. Developers can write programs in C or P4 languages and then compile to eBPF instructions, which can be processed by the kernel or by programmable devices (e.g., SmartNICs). Since its introduction in 2014, eBPF has been rapidly adopted by major companies such as Facebook, Cloudflare, and Netronome. Use cases include network monitoring, network traffic manipulation, load balancing, and system profiling. This work aims to present eBPF to an inexpert audience, covering the main theoretical and fundamental aspects of eBPF and XDP, as well as introducing the reader to simple examples to give insight into the general operation and use of both technologies.

Keywords

Networks middle boxes / network appliances, Networks programming interfaces, Networks end nodes

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