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Network Interface Design for Low Latency Request-Response Protocols
Mario Flajslik and Mendel Rosenblum, Stanford University
Ethernet network interfaces in commodity systems are designed with a focus on achieving high bandwidth at low CPU utilization, while often sacrificing latency. This approach is viable only if the high interface latency is still overwhelmingly dominated by software request processing times. However, recent efforts to lower software latency in request-response based systems, such as memcached and RAMCloud, have promoted network interface into a significant contributor to the overall latency. We present a low latency network interface design suitable for request-response based applications. Evaluation on a prototype FPGA implementation has demonstrated that our design exhibits more than double latency improvements without a meaningful negative impact on either bandwidth or CPU power. We also investigate latency-power tradeoffs between using interrupts and polling, as well as the effects of processor’s low power states.
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