This page describes the policy for updating the src:dpdk package in regard to upstream LTS stable releases. This is an exception to the standard SRU process under the banner of the SRU "New upstream microreleases" exception.

Table of contents:

Background on DPDK

This outlines details of the project and the current state of their verification to prove that the LTS releases can be considered for an MRE exception.

The DPDK Project

DPDK was included in Ubuntu main during the 16.04 release cycle; since then upstream DPDK have started maintaining LTS releases of DPDK; At least for our LTS releases we try to base on DPDK LTS releases The first one was 16.11 which shipped in Zesty, and the next DPDK LTS will be 17.11 which is our target for Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver.

DPDK is a set of libraries and userspace drivers for fast packet processing. It is designed to run on any processors. The first supported CPU was Intel x86 and it is now extended to IBM POWER and ARM. It runs mostly in Linux userland.

Having a MRE for DPDK will ensure that users of DPDK receive timely critical updates to this software.

Upstream Change and Release Policy

Upstream have a policy for accepting changes into the LTS release branches which includes:

  • Back-porting of any critical bug fixes (crashes, data loss, etc)
  • Minor usability items that are very low risk
  • Only changes are backported that are part of the last main release (This ensures more test coverage on those changes)

There is a section on backporting features as well, but the constraints limit it to something that is IMHO sane to SRU:

  • There is a justifiable use case (for example a new PMD).
  • The change is non-invasive.
  • There is support within the community.

This so far happened very rarely and In addition those features (mostly PMDs to support more HW) are only added in stable releases being not built by default. For packaging that means this is a no-op as we won't enable it so nothing changes.

Commits are peer reviewed as part of the normal development process and are signed to signify both the developer and review (see contrib for the doc on this).

LTS release updates are made after some time has passed (to allow testing) and usually follow the new master release which happens more or less every 3 months (see the the current road-map).

Updates to LTS releases are numbered with a minor point release

   16.11: 16.11.1, 16.11.2, ...
   17.11: 17.11.1, 17.11.2, ...

I watched the DPDK 16.11.x LTS release as it was the first of its kind and it was great. Due to the fast pace of DPDK development with 3 month release cycles a stable release is very important to carry the stability needed by Distribution LTS releases. Therefore I now plan to:

  • - release Ubuntu 18.04 with the first stable release 17.11.1 - Ask for this MRE to keep up with further stable releases

Upstream Regression Testing

The upstream DPDK regression suite is a mix of comprehensive functional tests (API coverage, etc.) and stress workloads via packet generators. The full set is defined at the DTS suite.

The QA suite is run against the branches regularly to hunt for low-frequency problems. Everything should be tested regularly, and all but the most recent patches have been tested over and extended period of time.

Results are published via email to the dpdk-test-report mailing list (see an examples).

In addition there is a smaller set of integration tests that runs pre-checks. This is integrated into patchwork to directly augment the patch review. Those checks were run by Intel so far but are currently extended to be a Hardware vendor opt-in to gain even more coverage - see CI efforts for details on this growing part of the project that will provide even more coverage.

Ubuntu DPDK Testing

DPDK has very high constraints on the environment (a lot of memory, huge pages, certain CPU features) as well as the Hardware (limited to a set of cards that have PMDs).

Therefore we have a test set outside of autopkgtest that tries to cover the basic use case we know users have in mind (you can use DPDK for way more, but we want and can only test what is in the archive).

In particular this sets up a set of KVM guests and runs a few test tools to finally set up a dpdk enabled Open vSwitch between them. On this dpdk enabled Open vSwitch it then runs some benchmarks to ensure no significant performance loss (compared manually for now) and some endurance tests via re-attaching devices or re-starting guests (all those based on lessons learned by past issues we identified).

In addition, we set up autopkgtests as well for those components that can be tested. Those are mostly the extra packaging bits that would not be covered by the upstream testing: - testing the init scrips - testing dkms modules work withing Ubuntu - testing the correct linking of builds against dpdk

Note: We also test the dpdk autotests in autopkgtests but for the constraints mentioned before they are not reliable in the environment they run in and thereby not yet gating.

Proposed SRU Approach

=== only DPDK LTS releases for Ubuntu LTs releases ==

SRU updates for DPDK in Ubuntu will be aligned to the associated LTS release of DPDK and only taken care for Ubuntu LTS releases:

  • 18.04 -> DPDK 17.11.x 20.04 -> DPDK 19.11.x (if releases still align) [...]

Ubuntu will only use the released version of updates and will not pull directly from the upstream VCS. That is important as on the release of a DPDK LTS there is another test/verification loop that we want to see passed.

Testing and verification

In addition to all the verification done by upstream prior to be releases the proposed packages will be prepared, uploaded and tested both standalone and in-conjunction with Open vSwitch (following the methodology detail above) as part of the standard SRU verification process for packages with MRE's.

An upload for an SRU shall be acompanied by a log of running the internal test. All tests in this log shall be passed or explained in the Template why not passing is to be considered ok in this case.

Requesting the SRU

The SRU should be done with a single process bug, instead of individual bug reports for individual bug fixes. The one bug should have the following:

  • The SRU should be requested "normally" per the StableReleaseUpdates documented process.

  • The template at the end of this document should be used and all ‘TODO’ filled out.
  • Major changes should be called out in the SRU template, especially where changed behavior is not backwards compatible.
  • Changelog should contain a link to the stable releases announcement (example)

SRU Template

This bug tracks an update for the DPDK packages, version TODO.

This update includes bugfixes only following the SRU policy exception defined at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUpdates/DPDK.
[TODO: check to be true (ensure features stay disabled by default) or discuss new features on the SRU in detail if they are applying to "other safe" category (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUpdates#Other_safe_cases)]


Stable release update so not directly applicable; see the exception policy document.

[Major Changes]

TODO: List the major changes
TODO: list to the announce mail containing all changes

[Test Plan]

See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUpdates/DPDK#SRU_TestVerify
TODO: attach a log of executing said tests from a ppa with the upload
TODO: if there are any non passing tests - explain why that is ok in this case.

[Regression Potential]

Upstream performs extensive testing before release, giving us a high degree of confidence in the general case. There problems are most likely to manifest in Ubuntu-specific integrations, such as in relation to the versions of dependencies available and other packaging-specific matters.

TODO: consider any other regression potential specific to the version being updated and list if any or list N/A.

StableReleaseUpdates/DPDK (last edited 2019-03-26 15:59:42 by brian-murray)