Chapter 7. Network Optimization
7.1. Optimizing Network Performance
The OpenShift SDN uses OpenvSwitch, virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) tunnels, OpenFlow rules, and iptables. This network can be tuned by using jumbo frames, network interface cards (NIC) offloads, multi-queue, and ethtool settings.
VXLAN provides benefits over VLANs, such as an increase in networks from 4096 to over 16 million, and layer 2 connectivity across physical networks. This allows for all pods behind a service to communicate with each other, even if they are running on different systems.
VXLAN encapsulates all tunneled traffic in user datagram protocol (UDP) packets. However, this leads to increased CPU utilization. Both these outer- and inner-packets are subject to normal checksumming rules to guarantee data has not been corrupted during transit. Depending on CPU performance, this additional processing overhead can cause a reduction in throughput and increased latency when compared to traditional, non-overlay networks.
Cloud, VM, and bare metal CPU performance can be capable of handling much more than one Gbps network throughput. When using higher bandwidth links such as 10 or 40 Gbps, reduced performance can occur. This is a known issue in VXLAN-based environments and is not specific to containers or OpenShift Container Platform. Any network that relies on VXLAN tunnels will perform similarly because of the VXLAN implementation.
If you are looking to push beyond one Gbps, you can:
- Use Native Container Routing. This option has important operational caveats that do not exist when using OpenShift SDN, such as updating routing tables on a router.
- Evaluate network plug-ins that implement different routing techniques, such as border gateway protocol (BGP).
- Use VXLAN-offload capable network adapters. VXLAN-offload moves the packet checksum calculation and associated CPU overhead off of the system CPU and onto dedicated hardware on the network adapter. This frees up CPU cycles for use by pods and applications, and allows users to utilize the full bandwidth of their network infrastructure.
VXLAN-offload does not reduce latency. However, CPU utilization is reduced even in latency tests.
7.1.1. Optimizing the MTU for Your Network
There are two important maximum transmission units (MTUs): the network interface card (NIC) MTU and the SDN overlay’s MTU.
The NIC MTU must be less than or equal to the maximum supported value of the NIC of your network. If you are optimizing for throughput, pick the largest possible value. If you are optimizing for lowest latency, pick a lower value.
The SDN overlay’s MTU must be less than the NIC MTU by 50 bytes at a minimum. This accounts for the SDN overlay header. So, on a normal ethernet network, set this to 1450. On a jumbo frame ethernet network, set this to 8950.
This 50 byte overlay header is relevant to the OpenShift SDN. Other SDN solutions might require the value to be more or less.
To configure the MTU, edit the appropriate node configuration map and modify the following section:
networkConfig: mtu: 1450 1 networkPluginName: "redhat/openshift-ovs-subnet" 2
- Maximum transmission unit (MTU) for the pod overlay network.
- Set to
redhat/openshift-ovs-subnetfor the ovs-subnet plug-in,
redhat/openshift-ovs-multitenantfor the ovs-multitenant plug-in, or
redhat/openshift-ovs-networkpolicyfor the ovs-networkpolicy plug-in. This can also be set to any other CNI-compatible plug-in as well.
You must change the MTU size on all masters and nodes that are part of the OpenShift Container Platform SDN. Also, the MTU size of the tun0 interface must be the same across all nodes that are part of the cluster.
7.2. Configuring Network Subnets
OpenShift Container Platform provides IP address management for both pods and services. The default values allow for:
- A maximum cluster size of 1024 nodes
- Each of the 1024 nodes having a /23 allocated to it (510 usable IPs for pods)
- Around 65,536 IP addresses for services
Under most circumstances, these networks cannot be changed after deployment. So, planning ahead for growth is important.
Restrictions for resizing networks are document in the Configuring SDN documentation.
To plan for a larger environment, the following are suggested values to consider adding to the
[OSE3:vars] section in your Ansible inventory file:
This will allow for 8192 nodes, each with 510 usable IP addresses.
See the supportability limits in the OpenShift Container Platform documentation for node/pod limits for the version of software you are installing.
7.3. Optimizing IPSec
Because encrypting and decrypting node hosts uses CPU power, performance is affected both in throughput and CPU usage on the nodes when encryption is enabled, regardless of the IP security system being used.
IPSec encrypts traffic at the IP payload level, before it hits the NIC, protecting fields that would otherwise be used for NIC offloading. This means that some NIC acceleration features may not be usable when IPSec is enabled and will lead to decreased throughput and increased CPU usage.