Unleashing SmartNIC Packet Processing Performance in P4

Jiarong Xing, Yiming Qiu, Kuo Feng Hsu, Songyuan Sui, Khalid Manaa, Omer Shabtai, Yonatan Piasetzky, Matty Kadosh, Arvind Krishnamurthy, T. S.Eugene Ng, Ang Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


SmartNICs are on the rise as a packet processing platform, with the trend towards a uniform P4 programming model. However, unleashing SmartNIC packet processing performance in P4 is a formidable task. Traditional SmartNIC optimizations rely on low-level program tuning, but P4 abstractions operate at one level above. At the same time, today's P4 optimizations primarily focus on resource packing rather than performance tuning. We develop Pipeleon, an automated performance optimization framework for P4 programmable SmartNICs. We introduce techniques that are tailored to the performance characteristics of SmartNICs, and further leverage dynamic workload patterns for profile-guided optimization. Pipeleon pinpoints program hotspots at the P4 level and computes runtime optimization plans to specialize the program layout based on the latest profile. We have prototyped Pipeleon and applied it to optimize two popular P4 SmartNICs - -Nvidia BlueField2 and Netronome Agilio CX - -as well as a software SmartNIC emulator extended based on BMv2. Our results show that Pipeleon significantly improves SmartNIC packet processing performance in realistic scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGCOMM 2023 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2023 Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9798400702365
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes
EventACM SIGCOMM 2023 Conference - New York, United States
Duration: 10 Sep 202314 Sep 2023

Publication series

NameSIGCOMM 2023 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2023 Conference


ConferenceACM SIGCOMM 2023 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York


  • P4
  • SmartNICs
  • runtime program optimization


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