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    March 23, 2011

Traffix scales on Solaris Sparc

Guest Author

Traffix Systems is leading the control plane market, with a range of next-generation network Diameter products and solutions --Diameter is an authentication, authorization and accounting protocol for telco networks, and a successor to RADIUS.

The amount of Diameter signaling in LTE and 4G networks is unlike anything telecom operators have seen or been confronted in the past. It is estimated that there will be up to 25x more signaling per subscriber compared to legacy and IN networks.

The main reasons for this growth in network signaling are:

  • The network is increasingly fragmented due to the distributed nature of the network architecture and the incorporation of a growing number of new functionalities.
  • The explosion in mobile data adoption and usage requires an ever greater number of network nodes, all of which are Diameter nodes.
  • The newly-introduced advanced multimedia services, advanced charging schemes and policy controls are signaling-hungry services, and create large amounts of signaling flows.

As a result, network operators moving to LTE are finding it progressively more difficult to manage their core network architecture and Diameter signaling as it becomes increasingly complex to maintain, manage and scale.

With these challenges in mind, and as part of the on-going engineering collaboration between Traffix Systems and Oracle's ISV Engineering, we investigated which Oracle technologies could help decrease and manage the complexity. The first thing we looked at was the SPARC Enterprise T-Series systems.

The T-class (a.k.a. SPARC CMT) processor is a low-powered many-core and many-thread processor --the SPARC T3 processor is e.g. the industry's first 16-core processor with 128 threads total. They are ideally suited for highly concurrent applications, for network-centric workloads, where they deliver an order of magnitude of gains in SWaP --see this example at Comverse. Additionally, the T3 features dual, multi-threaded, on-chip 10GbE ports; 16 cryptographic accelerator units; built-in virtualization technology to run
up to 128 logical domains on one processor.

We benchmarked the Traffix Diameter Router and Load Balancer on a SPARC T5220 under a session-based online-charging scenario. In the testing scenario, each client sent the following DCCA application commands: Initiate; 10 Updates; Terminate. The typical request size was 1,000 bytes and response size was 200 bytes. Throughout the testing, the Traffix software proved to linearly scale across the 64 threads available on the 8-core UltraSPARC T2+ processor, to process Diameter transactions in parallel and to deliver extremely high overall throughput, as shown in the graph below.

In addition to the T-Series systems, we also investigated the use of Oracle Solaris Service management facility (SMF), Oracle Solaris 10 Zones with an exclusive IP stack and Oracle Solaris Cluster. The full details of this joint work and a recommended deployment architecture can be found in the whitepaper "How Traffix Systems Optimized Its LTE Diameter Load Balancing and Routing Solutions Using Oracle Hardware and Software".

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