The emergence of Edge computing in the area of Telco / 5G plays a key role in
reducing latency and congestion problems and improving application performance.
Simply put, latency determines how fast data (packets) moves from the sender to receiver and returns to the sender after processing by the receiver. Maintaining a network architecture with the lowest possible delay of latency speeds is key for meeting the network performance requirements of 5G. Compared to 4G technology, with an average latency of 50 ms, 5G is targeted to reach latency numbers of 1 ms or less. This reduction in latency boosts wireless throughput by a factor of 10.
The Edge computing initiative also comes in to play for reducing latency rates. Think of it as being on the edge of the cloud and closer to the user. This greatly reduces the distance between the user and distant data centers, resulting in reduced application response times and performance latency.
Administrators must be able to manage their many Edge sites and local services in a centralized way so that all of the deployments can run at the lowest possible management cost. They also need an easy way to deploy and configure certain nodes of their cluster for real-time low latency and high-performance purposes. Low latency nodes are useful for applications such as Cloud-native Network Functions (CNF) and Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).
OpenShift Container Platform currently provides mechanisms to tune software on an OpenShift Container Platform cluster for real-time running and low latency (around <20 microseconds reaction time). This includes tuning the kernel and OpenShift Container Platform set values, installing a kernel, and reconfiguring the machine. But this method requires setting up four different Operators and performing many configurations that, when done manually, is complex and could be prone to mistakes.
OpenShift Container Platform uses the Node Tuning Operator to implement automatic tuning to achieve low latency performance for OpenShift Container Platform applications. The cluster administrator uses this performance profile configuration that makes it easier to make these changes in a more reliable way. The administrator can specify whether to update the kernel to kernel-rt, reserve CPUs for cluster and operating system housekeeping duties, including pod infra containers, and isolate CPUs for application containers to run the workloads.
OpenShift Container Platform also supports workload hints for the Node Tuning Operator that can tune the
PerformanceProfile to meet the demands of different industry environments. Workload hints are available for
highPowerConsumption (very low latency at the cost of increased power consumption) and
realTime (priority given to optimum latency). A combination of
true/false settings for these hints can be used to deal with application-specific workload profiles and requirements.
Workload hints simplify the fine-tuning of performance to industry sector settings. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, workload hints can cater to usage patterns such as placing priority on:
Efficient use of power
In an ideal world, all of those would be prioritized: in real life, some come at the expense of others. The Node Tuning Operator is now aware of the workload expectations and better able to meet the demands of the workload. The cluster admin can now specify into which use case that workload falls. The Node Tuning Operator uses the
PerformanceProfile to fine tune the performance settings for the workload.
The environment in which an application is operating influences its behavior. For a typical data center with no strict latency requirements, only minimal default tuning is needed that enables CPU partitioning for some high performance workload pods. For data centers and workloads where latency is a higher priority, measures are still taken to optimize power consumption. The most complicated cases are clusters close to latency-sensitive equipment such as manufacturing machinery and software-defined radios. This last class of deployment is often referred to as Far edge. For Far edge deployments, ultra-low latency is the ultimate priority, and is achieved at the expense of power management.
In OpenShift Container Platform version 4.10 and previous versions, the Performance Addon Operator was used to implement automatic tuning to achieve low latency performance. Now this functionality is part of the Node Tuning Operator.
About hyperthreading for low latency and real-time applications
Hyperthreading is an Intel processor technology that allows a physical CPU processor core to function as two logical cores, executing two independent threads simultaneously. Hyperthreading allows for better system throughput for certain workload types where parallel processing is beneficial. The default OpenShift Container Platform configuration expects hyperthreading to be enabled by default.
For telecommunications applications, it is important to design your application infrastructure to minimize latency as much as possible. Hyperthreading can slow performance times and negatively affect throughput for compute intensive workloads that require low latency. Disabling hyperthreading ensures predictable performance and can decrease processing times for these workloads.
Hyperthreading implementation and configuration differs depending on the hardware you are running OpenShift Container Platform on. Consult the relevant host hardware tuning information for more details of the hyperthreading implementation specific to that hardware. Disabling hyperthreading can increase the cost per core of the cluster.