VPP Sandbox/flowtable

From fd.io
Jump to: navigation, search

A flowtable plugin

Provide a stateful node with flow-level API, available for consecutive nodes or external applications.


Provides a flowtable node to do flow classification, and associate a flow context that can be enriched as needed by another node or an external application.

The objective is to be adaptable so as to be used for any stateful use such as load-balancing, firewall ...

Compared to the classifier, it stores a flow context, which changes the following:

  • a flow context (which can be updated with external information)
  • it can offload
  • flows have a lifetime



flowtable [max-flows <n>] [intf <name>] [next-node <name>] [disable]

The traffic from the given intf is redirected to the flowtable using vnet_hw_interface_rx_redirect_to_node()


I used ~0 (or 0xff for u8) to leave configuration parameter unchanged.

  • flowtable configuration
flowtable_conf(flows_max, sw_if_index, next_node_index, enable_disable)
  • send additional informations to the flowtable
flowtable_update(is_ip4, ip_src, ip_dst, port_src, port_dst # used to compute flow key
                 lifetime, offloaded, infos) # additional flow informations


In itself, the flowtable only provides a context and an API.

I added a simple port-mirroring node to test with an external application receiving the mirrored traffic and updating the flowtable using the binary API.


Tested with handoff node, with two working nodes :

  • Total BW: 12Gbps
  • Max flows 2.4 M # Breaking Point flows (2.4M) != vpp flows (4M)
  • avg pps : 750~800 k
  • avg flow rate : 18k/s
  • ~4.5% recycled flows

The flow count difference between Breaking Point and vpp flowtable's is caused by the timer management.

Current status

  • Default behavior is to connect transparently to given interface.
  • Can reroute packets to given node
  • Can receive additional information
  • Can offload sessions
  • Only support IP packets
  • if the maximum number of flows is reached, the flowtable will recycle a flow by expiring a flow which was about to expire (typically the first flow found in the timer-wheel's next-slot)


  • split into two ip4/ip6 nodes

Main contributors