Boost Your VPN Throughput by 3.5x

The Network Virtualization and SDN Europe Conference in Berlin last week was a great opportunity to track industry progress on a number of important fronts in particular 5G, Cloud Native Infrastructure and Network Automation. 2019 is expected to be pivotal in the development and deployment of NFV & SDN with communication service providers (CommSPs) preparing their Virtual Infrastructure roll-outs based on the huge potentiality of 5G. The advancements in workload consolidation and virtualization technology on general purpose servers have provided the means by which carriers can drive cost and operational efficiencies into their networks ahead of widespread 5G deployment. The agility that the new virtualized network brings to CommSPs  will allow them to spin-up services faster than ever before to meet customer demands and expectations.  One specific area which Advantech, Intel® and fellow Network Builders are focused on is the security element of the network and more specifically at exploring how to accelerate encryption processing while freeing up CPU cycles for application and VNF processing.

Intel teamed up with with Network Builders Advantech, Red Hat and Fortinet on their booth at the event to demonstrate the importance of encryption speeds in a virtual infrastructure context. The demo we showed there offered further insight into application performance enabled by hardware acceleration using 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Processors and Intel® QuickAssist Technology on Advantech’s SKY-8101D server. The diagram below offers an overview of the foundation building blocks used for the benchmark demo.

It shows how Intel Select Solutions for NFVI align with the ETSI NFV Reference Architecture and encompass the NFVI-tuned hardware platform along with NFV software.  An Advantech SKY-8101D server hosted the benchmark demo. Intel Select Solutions for NFVI do not specify the NFV Management and Orchestration or the VNFs, but are developed with a goal of being able to support an ecosystem of VNF and Management options. The SKY-8101D verified Select Solution for NFVI focuses first and foremost on delivering an optimized base platform to provide a level of performance tested and verified with industry leading ket performance indicators.

Intel supplied test scripts ensure that the settings recipe for BIOS, firmware, drivers and various OS options are implemented in order to deliver on the performance promise, that the platform under test is verified through extensive regression testing, and that it is continuously refreshed to integrate the latest tested and tuned SW and Drivers. Intel Select was designed to offer an ideal foundation for any CommSP wanting to efficiently deploy a modernized and transformed 5G ready network.

In our demonstration we presented real application performance enabled with Hardware Acceleration using Second Generation Intel® Xeon® Processors and Intel® QuickAssist Technology. The test set-up is based on the Advantech SKY-8101D, an NFV-ready server with NUMA balanced Gen 3 PCIe x 16 slots equipped with two 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Gold processors. The server is a verified Intel Select Solution for NFVI V2 and certified with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenStack. The solution is available and shipping today.

Above is an overview of the system configuration. A Spirent packet generator is configured to generate and receive traffic over two Advantech PCIE-2320 Dual 40Gig Ethernet adapters. Traffic on the ingress port of the first adapter is encrypted by Fortinet’s Fortigate VNF running on CPU #0. Encryption is performed in the first instance using the Intel QuickAssist hardware acceleration engines in the chipset and in a second instance without acceleration using CPU cores for software encryption. Encrypted traffic is transmitted via the second port on the same adapter and received on the first port of the second 40GbE adapter. The encrypted traffic is decrypted by a second Fortinet Fortigate VNF running on CPU #0. Decryption is performed in the first instance using the quickassist hardware acceleration engines in the chipset and in a second instance without acceleration, using CPU cores for software decryption. Now let’s take a look at the demo Eric van Vliet at Advantech prepared for the event along with some additional context.


Let’s review  the results of the benchmark.


The Fortinet Fortigate Virtual Next-Gen Firewall was able to achieve up to 3.5 times higher IPsec throughput using Intel QuickAssist acceleration on an Intel 6230N CPU versus an Intel 6230N without Intel QuickAssist Technology. This also results in an extra 10% more headroom available for VNF processing by the CPU.


We hope the information above was of some value to you for your current or next project. If you would like to get in touch for a remote evaluation, check out our Remote Evaluation Service (RES) and take a system for a test drive.


Paul Stevens – Telecom Sector

Marketing Director

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