Hardware requirements for BIRD

Israel G. Lugo israel.lugo at lugosys.com
Sat Mar 11 17:06:37 CET 2017

Just to give an idea. I'm using multiple GNU/Linux routers with an Intel
Atom C2758 (8-core SoC) and 8 GiB RAM to handle ~2k routes with Bird.
Bird itself doesn't make a dent in CPU. These are building access
routers; traffic is around 80 Mbit/s each (~ 6 kpps), with connection
tracking and NAT. Using 2*1 Gbit bond, builtin NICs from the SoC with
igb driver. CPU load is usually next to 0 with regular traffic.

I've tested this setup to 1.4 Mpps (Gbit line rate with small packets),
*without* conntrack/NAT. It stresses the 8 cores, but works. With NAT, I
can get up to ~ 200 kpps.

As it turns out, the C2000 line isn't so great at staying alive for more
than a few months though [1]... but that's on its way to being fixed.

Israel G. Lugo


On 03/07/2017 06:46 PM, Matthew Walster wrote:
> On 7 March 2017 at 05:57, Clément Guivy <clement at guivy.fr
> <mailto: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.
> ​Clément,
> 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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