[Beowulf] Re: typical latencies for gigabit ethernet

Scott Atchley atchley at myri.com
Mon Jun 29 10:44:47 PDT 2009

On Jun 29, 2009, at 12:10 PM, Dave Love wrote:

>> When I test Open-MX, I turn interrupt coalescing off. I run
>> omx_pingpong to determine the lowest latency (LL). If the NIC's  
>> driver
>> allows one to specify the interrupt value, I set it to LL-1.
> Right, and that's what I did before, with sensible results I thought.
> Repeating it now on Centos 5.2 and OpenSuSE 10.3, it doesn't behave
> sensibly, and I don't know what's different from the previous SuSE
> results apart, probably, from the minor kernel version.  If I set
> rx-frames=0, I see this:
> rx-usec    latency (µs)
> 20         34.6
> 12         26.3
> 6          20.0
> 1          14.8
> whereas if I just set rx-frames=1, I get 14.7 µs, roughly  
> independently
> of rx-usec.  (Those figures are probably ±∼0.2µs.)

That is odd. I have only tested with Intel e1000 and our myri10ge  
Ethernet driver. The Intel driver does not let you specify value other  
than certain settings (0, 25, etc.). The myri10ge driver does allow  
you to specify any value.

Your results may be specific to that driver.

>> Brice and Nathalie have a paper which implements an adaptive  
>> interrupt
>> coalescing so that you do not have to manually tune anything:
> Isn't that only relevant if you control the firmware?  I previously
> didn't really care about free firmware for devices in the same way as
> free software generally, but am beginning to see reasons to care.

True, I believe that had to make two very small modifications to the  
myri10ge firmware.

I have head that some Ethernet drivers do or will support adaptive  
coalescing which may give better performance than manually tuning and  
without modifying the NIC firmware for OMX.


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