Varnish Software Achieves 500 Gbps Throughput Per Server For UHD Video Content

Live Linear and VOD performance milestones for TLS-encrypted traffic reached with Varnish Edge Cloud running on Intel architecture-based servers.

Varnish Software has announced record-setting CDN performance milestones for Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Live Linear video use cases, publishing the results and testing methodology in a white paper.

With higher throughput levels soon to be essential for meeting peak capacity requirements at high bandwidth and user density, the testing sought to demonstrate a solution for meeting these needs cost-effectively. As an illustration of the growing need for higher performance CDN platforms; a high-definition (1080p) stream consumes up to 6.77 Mbps per stream, but the same content at ultra-high definition (4K) increases the bitrate to 26.82 Mbps, a near 4X increase in required bandwidth.

Varnish Software, an Intel Network Builders ecosystem partner and recently awarded the Titanium level in the Intel Network Builders Winners Circle program, tested their commercial CDN software Varnish Edge Cloud to explore its potential, fueled by 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor-based servers that leverage the Intel Select Solution for Visual Cloud Delivery Network configuration. Specific Varnish features instrumental in reaching the new benchmarks were synchronous direct I/O, NUMA awareness and hardware-enhanced security with in-core TLS processing.

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The enterprise streaming and telecommunications industry is ready – and actively looking – for agile solutions to meet future demand while balancing costs and energy consumption. Our work with Intel is setting new benchmarks in this regard. – Lars Larsson, CEO, Varnish Software

The results were as follows:

●    509.7 Gbps live-linear throughput, using a dual-processor configuration
●    487.2 Gbps video-on-demand throughput, using a dual-processor configuration

In real-world applications, the most popular content is often kept in DRAM for fastest access, with the remainder stored on NVMe disk storage. The white paper explains the challenging testing conditions, where for both live-linear and VOD testing workloads, cached content was considered to be of equal popularity and requested randomly; a worst-case scenario that increased the probability of NVMe disk access for every request. Varnish functionality for making URL-based caching decisions kept live content in DRAM only, while allowing VoD content to be cached on disk as well as in DRAM. This simulated periods of time where live content is more popular than VOD, such as popular sporting events. Both workloads were run on both single and dual-processor server configurations using a total of 256, 512 and 4,096 connections per processor.

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Lars Larsson, CEO, Varnish Software, said “These industry leading performance proof points set the stage for next-generation CDN services, showing that 500 Gbps throughput is possible with commercially available software, without using expensive and power-hungry accelerators. As we saw with Netflix’s recent, impressive announcement, the enterprise streaming and telecommunications industry is ready – and actively looking – for agile solutions to meet future demand while balancing costs and energy consumption. Our work with Intel is setting new benchmarks in this regard.”

“Communications Service Providers can now achieve outstanding performance of over 500Gbps video delivery throughput, without needing expensive or power hungry discrete add-ons for encryption offload, by using off-the-shelf solutions available today from Varnish and Intel. This collaboration demonstrates the possibilities when software is optimized on the latest Intel Xeon processors” said Nagesh Puppala, General Manager, Intel Edge & Cloud Video Division. “Together with the ecosystem, we will continue to enhance CDN performance, enabling the industry with streaming solutions to meet today’s explosive demand and evolving usages.”