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Assign Interrupts to Processor Cores on Intel® Ethernet Controller

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Assign Interrupts to Processor Cores on Intel® Ethernet Controller

Assigning Interrupts to Processor Cores using an Intel® 82575/82576 or 82598/82599 Ethernet Controller

Multicore processors and the newest Ethernet adapters (including the 82575, 82576, 82598, and 82599) allow TCP forwarding flows to be optimized by assigning execution flows to individual cores. By default, Linux automatically assigns interrupts to processor cores. Two methods currently exist for automatically assigning the interrupts, an in-kernel IRQ balancer and the IRQ balance daemon in user space. Both offer tradeoffs that might lower CPU usage but do not maximize the IP forwarding rates. Optimal throughput can be obtained by manually pinning the queues of the Ethernet adapter to specific processor cores.

For IP forwarding, a transmit/receive queue pair should use the same processor core and reduce any cache synchronization between different cores. This can be performed by assigning transmit and receive interrupts to specific cores. Starting with Linux kernel 2.6.27, multiple queues can be used on the 82575, 82576, 82598, and 82599. Additionally, multiple transmit queues were enabled in Extended Messaging Signaled Interrupts (MSI-X). MSI-X supports a larger number of interrupts that can be used, allowing for finer-grained control and targeting of the interrupts to specific CPUs.

The cores on one socket of a dual-socket system can be assigned non-consecutive numbers. For example, on a dual-socket quad-core system Socket 0 has CPU 0, 2, 4, 6 and Socket 1 has CPU 1, 3, 5, 7 on x86_64, and Socket 0 has CPU 0, 1, 2, 3 and Socket 1 has CPU 4, 5, 6 7 on x86_32.

Read the full Assign Interrupts to Processor Cores on Intel® Ethernet Controller Application Note.