Hardware requirements for BIRD

Matthew Walster matthew at walster.org
Tue Mar 7 19:46:17 CET 2017

On 7 March 2017 at 05:57, Clément Guivy <clement at guivy.fr> wrote:

> Hello, I am considering the setup of BIRD as a router to handle our
> internet traffic. One information I fail to find is hardware requirements.


Let's just clear one thing up straight away -- BIRD is a daemon for routing
protocols, not for routing traffic itself. BIRD itself will handle your
requirements in terms of the BGP information incredibly well. As I
understand it, BIRD only utilises one CPU core, but this is not the
bottleneck factor here.

When the FIB has been calculated, it is usually exported to your kernel
(we'll assume Linux for now) via Netlink messages. Depending on how
efficient your kernel is at building the trie structure, this may actually
take more time than processing the BGP Updates!

Once the routes are loaded into the kernel, it is the kernel (usually) that
forwards the traffic. This is usually (roughly) proportional to the
performance of your processor. You will probably have to make iptables
changes to prevent that restricting the performance at high levels.

That said, 1Gbps of IMIX traffic should easily be forwarded by any modern
x86-like server out there. Just be aware that it will be more susceptible
to small-packet attacks due to the lower packet-per-second throughput
compared to routers you may be used to.

Hope that helps!

Matthew Walster
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