eBPF Dataplane

Challenge:

Calico Enterprise and Calico Cloud were designed from the ground up with a fully pluggable dataplane architecture which initially supported standard Linux. As the Kubernetes footprint expands, there has been demand for a dataplane that can deliver improved throughput and latency performance compared to the standard Linux networking data plane.

Solution:

For those of you who are ready to adopt newer kernel versions and want to push the Linux kernel’s latest networking capabilities to the limit, Calico Enterprise and Calico Cloud now include a new eBPF (extended Berkeley Packet Filter) dataplane.

When compared with the standard Linux dataplane (based on iptables), the eBPF dataplane:

  • Scales to higher throughput, using less CPU per GBit
  • Natively supports Kubernetes services (without kube-proxy) in a way that:
    • Reduces latency
    • Preserves external client source IP addresses
    • Supports DSR (Direct Server Return) for reduced latency (and CPU usage)
    • Uses less CPU than kube-proxy to keep the dataplane in sync

In addition to improved throughput and latency performance compared to the standard Linux networking data plane, Calico’s eBPF data plane also includes native support for Kubernetes services without the need to run kube-proxy. With these improvements, the eBPF dataplane eliminates SNAT, maintains source IP preservation using Direct Server Return (DSR), and delivers exceptional performance benefits.

Benefits:

Calico Enterprise and Calico Cloud provide a single solution that supports eBPF, along with the standard Linux data plane, and the new Windows dataplane. With this approach, Tigera is future-proofing your investment in our technology and showing our commitment to providing the most advanced, scalable, and reliable solutions for Kubernetes users.

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