DPDK and Pktgen Installation Tutorial

Last update: 2022.1.8

This tutorial shows how to install DPDK and DPDK application- Pktgen from scratch. Tested on CentOS 7.


The installation of DPDK consists of:

  • check NIC’s Compatiblity with DPDK

  • download and install dependencies and DPDK

To build and run a DPDK program:

  • set up hugepage
  • bind the NIC to the specific drivers

Check NIC’s Compatibility with DPDK

  • check the driver of NIC

    ifconfig	# check the interface through which DPDK is about to send packets
    ethtool -i [INTERFACE NAME]  # check the driver of the NIC

    if the NIC is not shown as an interface, get the NIC name and find the corresponding driver:

    lspci       # find NIC name
    dmesg | grep -i [NIC NAME] # get the driver for the NIC
  • check whether the NIC is supported by DPDK by checking whether its driver is on the list.

    The list: https://core.dpdk.org/supported/

Download and Install Dependencies and DPDK

  • go to https://core.dpdk.org/download/ and download DPDK:

    wget https://fast.dpdk.org/rel/dpdk-21.11.tar.xz
    tar xf dpdk-21.11.tar.xz
    cd dpdk-21.11

    configure, build, install DPDK

    meson build
    ninja -C build
    cd build
    sudo ninja install
    sudo ldconfig

    meson build reports a list of drivers, libraries that are (not) going to be built and the reasons why they are not. Install the missing dependencies from the list. To explicitly avoid building certain drivers, use

    meson -Ddisable_drivers=event/*,net/tap  # disable tap driver and all eventdev PMDs for a smaller build

    Click to check more build configurations.

    If the machine supports NUMA, NUMA library (i.e.,libnuma-dev aka numactl-devel) should be installed.

  • set pkg-config tool.

    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=[directory where libdpdk.pc is located]

    or write to the bash file

    sudo vim /etc/bashrc
    # add in the last line
    PKG_CONFIG_PATH=[directory where libdpdk.pc is located]
  • compile a DPDK program

    cd dpdk-21.11/examples/helloworld

Set up Hugepages

  • echo 1024 | sudo tee /sys/kernel/mm/hugepages/hugepages-2048kB/nr_hugepages

    on a NUMA machine, pages should be allocated explicitly on separate nodes:

    echo 1024 | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/node/node0/hugepages/hugepages-2048kB/nr_hugepages
    echo 1024 | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/node/node1/hugepages/hugepages-2048kB/nr_hugepages
  • or:

    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-hugepages.py
    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-hugepages.py -p 1G --setup 2G

    Hugepage Maintenance

  • check hugepage usage:
    cat /proc/meminfo
    # Example output
    # HugePages_Total:   16384
    # HugePages_Free:        0
    # HugePages_Rsvd:        0
    # HugePages_Surp:        0
    # Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
  • free hugepage:
    rm -rf /mnt/huge/*
    rm -rf /dev/hugepages/*

    If the number of hugepages is too large and it makes rm fails, try:

    find /dev/hugepages/ -type f -delete
    find /mnt/huge/ -type f -delete

Bind the NIC to the Specific Drivers

DPDK supports THREE drivers: vfio-pci, igb_uio, uio_pci_generic. NIC has to be bound to one of the three drivers.

device_id , e.g., 0000:82:00.1, is used to identify any device connected to the board. First, check the device_id:

lspci | grep -i [NIC NAME]

In order to bind a NIC to a new driver, unbind the NIC from the original driver and then bind it to the new one. With the device_id, there are two ways to bind the driver.

  • Script Binding

    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-devbind -u [DEVICE_ID]
    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-devbind -b [DRIVER] [DEVICE_ID]
    # the following is an example:
    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-devbind -u 0000:82:00.1
    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-devbind -b uio_pci_generic 0000:82:00.1

    check 1) which driver (vfio-pci, igb_uio or uio_pci_generic) should be bound to the NIC, and 2) whether the NIC is successfully bound with the following script:

    sudo ./dpdk-21.11/usertools/dpdk-devbind -s
    # example result
    Network devices using DPDK-compatible driver
    0000:82:00.1 '82599ES 10-Gigabit SFI/SFP+ Network Connection 10fb' drv=uio_pci_generic unused=ixgbe
    Network devices using kernel driver
    0000:01:00.0 'NetXtreme BCM5720 2-port Gigabit Ethernet PCIe 165f' if=em1 drv=tg3 unused=uio_pci_generic *Active*
    0000:01:00.1 'NetXtreme BCM5720 2-port Gigabit Ethernet PCIe 165f' if=em2 drv=tg3 unused=uio_pci_generic
    0000:02:00.0 'NetXtreme BCM5720 2-port Gigabit Ethernet PCIe 165f' if=em3 drv=tg3 unused=uio_pci_generic
    0000:02:00.1 'NetXtreme BCM5720 2-port Gigabit Ethernet PCIe 165f' if=em4 drv=tg3 unused=uio_pci_generic
    0000:82:00.0 '82599ES 10-Gigabit SFI/SFP+ Network Connection 10fb' if=p4p1 drv=ixgbe unused=uio_pci_generic
  • Manual Binding

    • load the corresponding driver into the kernel
    sudo modprobe vfio-pci
    sudo modprobe uio_pci_generic
    sudo modprobe uio
    sudo insmod igb_uio.ko
    • unbind a device, append device_id to file /sys/bus/pci/drivers/[DRIVER]/unbind
    echo -n [DEVICE_ID] | sudo tee -a /sys/bus/pci/drivers/[DRIVER]/unbind
    # example
    echo -n "0000:83:00.0" | sudo tee -a /sys/bus/pci/drivers/uio_pci_generic/unbind
    • overwrite the file /sys/bus/pci/devices/[DEVICE_ID]/driver_override with the name of driver
    echo -n [DRIVER] | sudo tee /sys/bus/pci/devices/[DEVICE_ID]/driver_override
    echo -n "uio_pci_generic" | sudo tee /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:83:00.0/driver_override
    • append device_id to file /sys/bus/pci/drivers/[DRIVER]/bind
    echo -n [DEVICE_ID] | sudo tee -a /sys/bus/pci/drivers/[DRIVER]/bind
    # example
    echo -n "0000:83:00.0" | sudo tee -a /sys/bus/pci/drivers/uio_pci_generic/bind

Compile Driver igb_uio

The driver igb_uio is not directly included in the DPDK. It needs to be compiled by the user.

  • download igb_uio

    git clone http://dpdk.org/git/dpdk-kmods
  • integrate igb_uio into DPDK (means going back to DPDK build)

    copy igb_uio source codes into dpdk source codes

    cp -r ./dpdk-kmods/linux/igb_uio ./dpdk-21.11/kernel/linux/

    add igb_uio in dpdk-21.11/kernel/linux/meson.build subdirs as below:

    subdirs = ['kni', 'igb_uio']

    create a file of meson.build in dpdk-21.11/kernel/linux/igb_uio/ as below:

    # SPDX-License-Identifier: BSD-3-Clause
    # Copyright(c) 2017 Intel Corporation
    mkfile = custom_target('igb_uio_makefile',
            output: 'Makefile',
            command: ['touch', '@OUTPUT@'])
    kernel_version = run_command('uname', '-r').stdout().strip()
    kernel_dir = '/lib/modules/' + kernel_version
            input: ['igb_uio.c', 'Kbuild'],
            output: 'igb_uio.ko',
            command: ['make', '-C', kernel_dir + '/build',
                    'M=' + meson.current_build_dir(),
                    'src=' + meson.current_source_dir(),
                    'EXTRA_CFLAGS=-I' + meson.current_source_dir() +
            depends: mkfile,
            install: true,
            install_dir: kernel_dir + '/extra/dpdk',
            build_by_default: true)
  • compile module igb_uio. kernel headers are needed when compiling a module. Install kernel headers according to your linux kernel version.

    in meson.build of the directorydpdk-21.11. Enable module building by changing

    if get_option('enable_kmods')



    configure, build, and install DPDK at this time. igb_uio will be built.

Now we can run a DPDK program

cd dpdk-21.11/examples/helloworld/build


  • download and install Pktgen

    • set environment variables required by DPDK
    export RTE_SDK=<DPDKInstallDir>  	#example: export RTE_SDK=/root/dpdk-21.11
    export RTE_TARGET=x86_64-native-linux-gcc

    ​ or write to bash file, e.g., /etc/bashrc

    • download and compile Pktgen
    git clone git://dpdk.org/apps/pktgen-dpdk
    cd pktgen-dpdk

    you may need to modify meson.build in the pktgen-dpdk folder. Set

    add_project_arguments('-std=c99', language: 'c')
  • Run Pktgen

    • bind the NIC to the driver

    • set up hugepage.

      execute commands introduced in DPDK hughpage setup. then

    sudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf
    # Add to the bottom of the file:
    sudo vi /etc/fstab
    # Add to the bottom of the file:
    huge /mnt/huge hugetlbfs defaults 0 0
    sudo mkdir /mnt/huge
    sudo chmod 777 /mnt/huge
    • Visit https://pktgen-dpdk.readthedocs.io/en/latest/usage_pktgen.html to check the parameters of Pktgen.

      Note that for a port (=NIC) which is on NUMA node i, the RX and TX of the port must be processed by the logical cores (lcore) listed on that node. The topology of CPU can be checked by lstopo and page cpu in Pktgen.

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