Snabb Switch Deep Dive on Software Gone Wild

The pilot episode of Software Gone Wild podcast featuring Snabb Switch created plenty of additional queries (and thousands of downloads) – it was obviously time for another deep dive episode discussing the intricate innards of this interesting virtual switch.

During the deep dive Luke Gorrie, the mastermind behind the Snabb Switch, answered a long list of questions, including:

  • Is SnabbSwitch a framework or a product that I could download and use?
  • How do I configure it? How do I change the configuration?
  • How can I implement my own forwarding logic? Do I need to program it or can I reuse existing elements?
  • Can I add new networking protocols or NIC device drivers?
  • How can scripting code included in a configuration file forward packets between two 10GE interfaces at line rate?
  • What is the difference between kernel- and user space packet forwarding on Linux?
  • Why is polling faster than interrupt-based packet processing?
  • How do you push 200 Gbps out of a server with 10% CPU load?
  • What’s the difference between Snabb Switch and Intel DPDK?
  • How does Snabb Switch integrate with OpenStack?
  • How can you use SR-IOV to get blazingly fast I/O performance in virtualized environments?

Other interesting tidbits covered in the podcast:

  • From the hardware perspective, you should be able to push half a Tbps through an Intel server, hilariously low forwarding rates we’re seeing on some products today are a software problem;
  • Imagine your switch behaving like a browser executing user-developed JavaScript;
  • Did you know that Snabb Switch uses the same technology as CloudFlare in its DoS prevention tools?
  • Why it makes sense to focus on a very specific hardware platform instead of portability to all possible hardware out there.

Listen to the podcast and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast feed (RSS or iTunes).


  1. Super podcast! So rare to hear a gifted engineer make major contributions, describe them clearly, give them away AND rate-limit the ego. Thanks for spotlighting Luke and Snabb Switch.
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