Google Summer of Code 2010 NetBSD swcryptX Project Suggestion (Updated #2)
Please see the update below before applying for this
I've been thinking of a neat-o project for this year's
Google Summer of Code:
The goal of this project is to provide crypto acceleration
by utilizing multiple CPU cores.
The work is to extend the existing software-only "swcrypto"
crypto driver and hook that up with NetBSD's OpenCrypto
Overview of operation
The opencrypto(9) framework exists to coordinate hardware
acceleration in NetBSD. Applications of the framework can
be inside the kernel like the FAST_IPSEC IPsec implementation,
or in userland like OpenSSL with the "cryptodev" engine.
Crypto drivers can be realized in software or in hardware.
Hardware drivers can be used to instruct e.g. the AMD Geode
LX's AES block or a HIFN chip to perform cryptographic
Upon system startup, the crypto drivers at the opencrypto(9)
framework, telling what operations they can perform.
When an operation is required later, the framework
will look which crypto device is currently not busy, and
offload the operation to that device.
Upon completion, the result is fed back to the application.
The following image illustrates the components
and their interaction.
Offloading the cryptographic requests involves some overhead.
Data needs to be transferred to the hardware and back.
On systems with a slow CPU, this overhead is relatively
small compared to the operation speed of the CPU. On faster
CPUs, the overhead becomes more of a burden, making the
benefit of the crypto hardware negligible.
As examples, while a hifn(4) chip can provide worthwhile
speedups on 500MHz and 1GHz CPUs, no performance
win is experienced on a 2.4GHz CPU.
The communication overhead involves data transfers over
a PCI bus, which is of relatively low speed compared
to today's modern CPUs. Preventing the data transfer
is a worthwhile goal. In coordination with today's modern
multi-core CPUs, using one or more CPUs solely for the
purpose of crypto acceleration, a measurable
improvement of crypto performance is expected. At
the same time, no special hardware requirements beyond
the CPU exist. This allows turning standard contemporary
systems into fast crypto systems easily.
The following image illustrates the idea of
interoperation between a CPU core that runs
the kernel and application codes and three
cores that are dedicated to crypto code.
This is where it gets fishy. ;)
The existing opencrypto(4) framework probably needs to be make
MP-aware at the same time, employing proper use of NetBSD's
locking framework. (Already done)
The existing swcrypto(4) needs to be adjusted for operation on
multiple CPUs at the same time.
A way to decide how many CPUs are dedicated to run swcrypto(4)
CPUs that run swcrypto(4) need to be taken out from the
usual NetBSD CPU scheduling so that they are available exclusively
In no particular order:
- Know how to build and install a kernel
- Understanding of fine grained SMP and locking
- How to use NetBSD's kernel threads, code-wise
- How to interact with NetBSD's scheduler, code-wise
- Tell the scheduler to pin a specific kernel thread to a
- Interaction between applications (IPsec, OpenSSL) with opencrypto(9), code-wise
- Interaction of crypto providers with opencrypto(9), code-wise
- Hardware! You won't be able to do this without at least two
CPU cores in your machine. The more the better.
- Benchmarking & a test setup for it
NetBSD Project Application/Proposal HowTo
if you're serious to work on this project.
If you have any questions let me know, public discussion
should be led on the tech-crypto@ list.
In particular, my understanding of the interaction of the
various layers as outlined above is not 100% accurate,
and userland applications using opencrypto already seem
to benefit from multiple kernel threads.
In-kernel applications apparently do not, and before
providing multiple crypto-servers in kernel (as suggested),
work should probably done first to make sure such
applications exist. Examples of this are IPsec (and the whole
network stack), but also others like cgd (which AFAIU currently
does not use opencrypto(9)).
[Tags: google-soc, opencrypto, swcrypto]