Refuting the Top Misconceptions of DPDK

Published Date

August 6, 2021


6 minutes

Written By

ACL Digital

DPDK was invented by Intel a decade ago. The first challenge it faced was the massive outbreak of the number of devices involved in our lives across different networks, and the amount of traffic they were producing, and the bandwidth they were consuming. There was an immediate requirement to move the data packets more efficiently across the traffic. So, the solution was to implement software that would complement existing hardware. The solution provided a 10x improvement and was easily applied across different hardware platforms. From there on, there was no looking back as the industry moved forward successfully.

Listed below are some of the most popular misconceptions about DPDK. Also, let us understand the part the technology has played in the advancement of networking infrastructure.

Popular Misconceptions about DPDK

1. Many believe DPDK is a closed community

No, it is not a negligible or small community anymore. It is one of the largest networking communities present in the open-source world today. The origin of DPDK has a beautiful beginning like that of most open-source projects where a group of individuals with a great idea came together. Presently, the DPDK community has grown leaps and bounds, and one would be surprised to know the number of contributors across the project. Today, it touches almost every continent, runs in several companies, and touches hundreds of individuals.

2. DPDK is suitable only for the telecommunications industry

DPDK is a broad-based technology with broader adoption. It is used in places where traffic is pushed quickly and efficiently. The technology is used in Mobile World Congress, annual trade shows, and other events. You will also find cloud service providers, equipment providers, and enterprise customers across the globe making use of the technology efficiently.

3. DPDK is only for the Hardware

At present, there are a lot of hardware vendors, but there are OSV’s, ISV’s, network providers, communication service providers, system integrators, and others involved in the DPDK. You will also find that the whole supply chain that delivers networking communication services to the industry for networking, enterprise, cloud and IoT are also involved in ways one or the other.

4. DPDK is code complete

Firstly, the providers of hardware come up with new architectures and devices regularly. Secondly, DPDK is an ongoing project and will continue to advance every time there is a new requirement for business communities. Also, when there are new changing requirements in the marketplace, whether those are for containers or accelerators, DPDK will continue to evolve and flourish.

5. Not for containers

Over the years, there has been a requirement for container-based implementations and the DPDK community has lived up to the expectations and went a step ahead by creating multiple plugins. DPDK performs very well in virtual environments and for virtual machines. Nowadays, many companies like cloud-service providers both data centre cloud and telco-cloud have incorporated container implementations, and DPDK technology has functioned very well in those environments.

6. DPDK is Linux

DPDK is not a substitute but an alternative approach or method to do networking. Also, it shares a very amicable relationship with Linux as it complements what happens in the Linux kernel networking stack that is used across the globe. You may view DPDK as an option if you have small packets or mixed traffic where the traffic might not be moving as efficiently as it should, then you might be looking at DPDK user-space implementation. However, the decision lies with the architects looking at their specific workloads and networks to choose what works best.

7. DPDK is completely controlled by Intel

Though DPDK came from Intel, there were many other industry players right from day one. At present, the project lives in and is hosted in the Linux Foundation and has a governing board and tactical board from different companies. However, looking from another angle, the DPDK is an important project for Intel and its partners, competitors, customers, and suppliers.

8. DPDK is not GREEN

In the industry, telecom infrastructure, networking infrastructure, IT infrastructure involves the creation of heat because the processors and servers generate heat depending on the process workloads and move packets. DPDK helps solve this issue by ensuring that it happens more efficiently. Apart from this, there are other factors like enabling idling of threads, enabling core frequency scaling, and enabling other techniques that assist in making the project environmentally friendly.

9. DPDK is Software Data plane only

DPDK can use your networking devices, crypto devices, the GPU or even your accelerator. However, it can also use your CPU to do some data plane processing. With DPDK technology, you can get the best results by having a hybrid model.


No matter what, DPDK technology will remain to be the leading framework in the years to come. It is a dominant technology because it enables efficient computing and accelerates the quicker development of high-speed data packet networking applications. Contact us now for more information about network infrastructure services and other services.

From the proof-of-concept stage to service roll-out and service desk implementation, ACL Digital offers a wide range of DPDK consulting services. You can also depend on us for DPDK support services such as DPDK Evaluation, DPDK Implementation, DPDK Deployment, DPDK Operations & Maintenance Services, and more. The professional services we offer are ideal for network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and Service Providers to leverage DPDK to design, develop and deploy network functions optimized to multi-core x86 processors.

About the Author

ACL Digital

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