PANIC: A High-Performance Programmable NIC for Multi-tenant Networks


Jiaxin Lin, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kiran Patel and Brent E. Stephens, University of Illinois at Chicago; Anirudh Sivaraman, New York University (NYU); Aditya Akella, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Programmable NICs have diverse uses, and there is need for a NIC platform that can offload computation from multiple co-resident applications to many different types of substrates, including hardware accelerators, embedded FPGAs, and embedded processor cores. Unfortunately, there is no existing NIC design that can simultaneously support a large number of diverse offloads while ensuring high throughput/low latency, multi-tenant isolation, flexible offload chaining, and support for offloads with variable performance. This paper presents Frenzy, a new programmable NIC. There are two new key components of the Frenzy design that enable it to overcome the limitations of existing NICs: 1) A high-performance switching interconnect that scalably connects independent engines into offload chains, and 2) A new hybrid push/pull packet scheduler that provides cross-tenant performance isolation and low-latency load-balancing across parallel offload engines. From both experiments performed on an 100Gbps FPGA-based prototype and experiments that use a combination of techniques including simulation and cost/area analysis, we find that this design overcomes the limitations of state-of-the-art programmable NICs.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {258971,
author = {Jiaxin Lin and Kiran Patel and Brent E. Stephens and Anirudh Sivaraman and Aditya Akella},
title = {{PANIC}: A {High-Performance} Programmable {NIC} for Multi-tenant Networks},
booktitle = {14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-19-9},
pages = {243--259},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = nov

Presentation Video