Turbo-charged Calico

Turbo-charged Calico

Our friends at 6WIND recently demonstrated a fantastic integration of Calico with their Virtual Accelerator product, leveraging DPDK technology for high performance networking.

The following slide neatly captures what is going on:

6Wind VA

In essence, they replace the standard Linux kernel data plane that Calico uses by default with an accelerated user-space data plane. This leverages the existing Linux interfaces that Calico uses, so requires no changes to Calico in order to work. The bottom line is that Calico runs, as expected, with some impressive performance improvements:

  • 2x throughput
  • 3x http request rate.

(Results achieved using Apache Bench + nginx on a 40Gb interface. As with all performance tests, YMMV based on your specific application and environment.)

Check out this video for a demonstration:

We’re excited to see vendors creatively applying their technologies to Calico, growing the ecosystem, and delivering value to end user customers! I encourage you to try it out and share your experiences with the community over on IRC or our public Slack channel.

Having cycled through various roles from software engineering to marketing ("fear leads to the dark side" - Yoda), I ended up in management, and am affectionately known by my teammates as the "PHB of Project Calico" (I must look up that acronym sometime). I am grateful to be able to live in beautiful Berkeley, California, where I enjoy the proximity to world-class sailing, skiing and wine - and spending time with my family (wife, 2 kids, 2 cats - neither of them calicos, and 2 turtles).