Analytical Model and Performance Analysis of a Network Interface Card

N. Cherukuri, G.B. Kandira ju, N. Gautam, and A. Sivasubramaniam

Keywords

Network interface cards, performance analysis, queueing model,simulation

Abstract

One important issue for practitioners and academicians is that there are almost no platforms based on analytical models for testing the impact of various architectural and design modifications for intelligent network interface cards (NICs). Simulations are typically time consuming, especially for experimenting with different scenarios and what-if analysis. In this research, we study the performance of an NIC called Myrinet developed by Myricom. We develop an open queueing network model to predict its performance and compare the analytical results with the simulations. The reason that there are very few analytical models is that the performance-analysis problem is enormously complex. In particular, the problem is a combination of (a) multiclass queueing network with class switching, (b) polling system with limited service discipline, and (c) finite-capacity queues with blocking. These three issues have been treated only in isolation in the literature. However, the problem becomes much harder when all three issues are simultaneously present. One of the key contributions of this work is an analytical approximation of this complex system. From an analytical modelling standpoint, we observe that making simplifying assumptions to analyze nodes that are not bottlenecks does not greatly affect performance. The main findings of this research are the bottlenecks of the queueing network, utilizations of the various nodes, and performance measures such as the expected delay. The model as well as ļ¬ndings can be used to test the performance impact of various enhancements to the operation of NICs.

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