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Community Blog Alibaba Cloud's Paper on Luoshen Cloud Network Management Has Entered SIGCOMM Again

Alibaba Cloud's Paper on Luoshen Cloud Network Management Has Entered SIGCOMM Again

This article unveils the Luoshen Cloud Network Gateway XGW from multiple perspectives.

In early May, SIGCOMM 2021, the top conference in the field of communications, announced the selected papers for this year's conference. Alibaba Cloud's paper on Luoshen Cloud Network Management entitled Sailfish: Accelerating Cloud-Scale Multi-Tenant Multi-Service Gateways with Programmable Switches was selected. Last year, this paper was selected to SIGCOMM after it was published for the first time in the communication field of China. Luoshen has gained unanimous recognition from experts in the industry again and has become influential worldwide.

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SIGCOMM is a flagship conference organized by ACM in the field of communication networks. It is also the top conference in the field of international communication networks currently. The quality and quantity of papers are strictly tested by SIGCOMM and require basic contribution, leading influence, and solid system background. The papers accepted by SIGCOMM are very influential.

The Alibaba Cloud Luoshen Network Team has been working hard in the cloud network field for many years. They have also developed a Luoshen platform with many key technologies accumulated. The Sailfish XGW is a representative of the high-performance forwarding technology featuring software-hardware integration in the Luoshen Cloud Network Platform. This article unveils the Luoshen Cloud Network Gateway XGW from multiple perspectives.

Cloud Gateway XGW on the Luoshen Cloud Network Platform

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Luoshen is the core component in the Apsara system that manages the cloud network. Based on CyberStar and Sailfish, it consists of the Sailfish hardware forwarding platform, CyberStar elastic network meta platform, exclusive SDN control system, and Apsara Qitian intelligent analysis platform. It also includes a variety of network products available to users, such as Server Load Balancer (SLB), NAT Gateway, EIP, Express Connect, and Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN). The Sailfish hardware forwarding platform provides high-performance forwarding through hardware-software integration technology, including XGW, MOC, and ALI-LB. The XGW introduced in this paper is a programmable switch developed by Alibaba Cloud.

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Alibaba Cloud Gateway XGW

XGW is similar to a 2U server in appearance and has the following main components:

  • P4 programmable switch chip responsible for large traffic forwarding
  • The exclusive NIC chip responsible for forwarding table entries
  • CPU modules responsible for business orchestration and smart scheduling

XGW is strong in performance, which can improve the processing capability from 160 GB to 3.2 TB/6.4 TB of data with lower forwarding latency, reducing the overall Capex and Opex significantly.

Applicable Scenarios for the Luoshen Cloud Network Gateway XGW

As shown in the following figure, XGW is deployed at the entry of public network access to Alibaba Cloud, the entry of leased line access to the cloud, and the boundary of each region.

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Typical Scenarios:

  1. Users access Alibaba Cloud through the Internet. Typical products include EIP and EIP Bandwidth Plan.
  2. Users access Alibaba Cloud through IDC. Typical products include Express Connect (leased line).
  3. Cross-regional communication on the cloud, doe example, and access to Shenzhen region ECS from Beijing region ECS. Typical products include CEN.

The software-hardware integrated XGW can meet the requirements of large bandwidth and high quality in the scenarios above:

  • Large Bandwidth: More than 10 Tbps of cloud migration traffic through leased line.
  • Large and Single-Stream Transmission: More than 10 Gbps of data can be transmitted per stream, such as GRE Tunnel in IoT scenarios.
  • Stability: No full utilization risk for CPU without soft forwarding
  • Low Latency/Jitter: XGW supports the software-hardware integration, which reduces the latency from millisecond level to microsecond level.

Technical Practices for the Luoshen Cloud Network Gateway XGW

XGW gateway selects P4 programmable ASIC chips to meet the needs of fast service iteration and avoid the problem of the inflexibility of traditional ASIC chips. Although traditional FPGA is very flexible, its power consumption and cost are relatively high, so a P4 programmable ASIC chip is required. As for the table entry challenges brought by programmable chips, the capabilities of the chips are fully utilized using multiple pipelines to achieve high-speed forwarding performance. Table entry formats of the entire software are also optimized.

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