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MIT licensed is a Rust rewrite of the ixy userspace network driver. It is designed to be readable, idiomatic Rust code. It supports Intel 82599 10GbE NICs (ixgbe family). Check out my thesis to read about the details of the implementation.


  • driver for Intel NICs in the ixgbe family, i.e. the 82599ES family (aka Intel X520)
  • driver for ixgbe virtual functions, i.e. ixgbevf (SR-IOV)
  • driver for paravirtualized virtio NICs
  • super fast, can forward > 26 million packets per second on a single 3.3 GHz CPU core
  • less than 2000 lines of Rust code for the driver and a packet forwarder
  • no kernel modules needed (except vfio-pci for the IOMMU)
  • can run without root privileges (using the IOMMU)
  • packet prefetching
  • support for multiple device queues
  • very few dependencies
  • simple API to use
  • documented code
  • MIT license

Build instructions

You will need Rust and its package manager cargo. Install using:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh -s -- -y
source $HOME/.cargo/env uses hugepages. To enable them run:

sudo ./

To build the provided sample applications and execute them manually run:

cargo build --release --all-targets

The built binaries are located in target/release/examples/.

To build and execute the examples at once see Usage.

Usage of sse and prefetching requires x86 or x86_64 and sse enabled. This requires extra buildflags to be passed to cargo.

RUSTFLAGS="-C target-cpu=native -C target-feature=+sse" cargo build --release --all-targets

Using the IOMMU / VFIO

The usage of the IOMMU via the vfio-pci driver is implemented for ixgbe devices (Intel X520, X540, and X550). To use it, you have to:

  1. Enable the IOMMU in the BIOS. On most Intel machines, the BIOS entry is called VT-d and has to be enabled in addition to any other virtualization technique.

  2. Enable the IOMMU in the linux kernel. Add intel_iommu=on to your cmdline (if you are running grub, the file /etc/default/grub.cfg contains a GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX where you can add it).

  3. Get PCI address, vendor and device ID of each device to be used: lspci -nn | grep Ether returns something like 05:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Intel Corporation Ethernet Controller 10-Gigabit X540-AT2 [8086:1528] (rev 01). In this case, 0000:05:00.0 is the PCI Address, and 8086 and 1528 are the vendor and device id, respectively.

  4. Unbind all devices to be used from the current driver:

    sudo sh -c 'echo $PCI_ADDRESS > /sys/bus/pci/devices/$PCI_ADDRESS/driver/unbind'
  5. Enable the vfio-pci driver:

    sudo modprobe vfio-pci
  6. Bind the devices to the vfio-pci driver:

    sudo sh -c 'echo $VENDOR_ID $DEVICE_ID > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/vfio-pci/new_id'
  7. For each device find its IOMMU group and chown the device group file to the user:

    IOMMU_GROUP=$(readlink /sys/bus/pci/devices/$PCI_ADDRESS/iommu_group | awk -F '/' '{print $NF}')
    sudo chown $USER:$GROUP /dev/vfio/$IOMMU_GROUP
  8. That's it! Now you can compile and run as stated above!


Running the forwarder example on a single core of a Xeon E3-1230 v2 CPU @ 3.3 GHz under full bidirectional load at 20 Gbit/s with 64 byte packets, i.e. 2x 14.88 million packets per second (Mpps), yields these throughput results when varying the batch size: Performance with different batch sizes, CPU at 3.3 GHz

For a comparison to the other drivers, have a look at the performance results in the ixy-languages repository.


There are two sample applications included in the crate. You can run the packet generator with

sudo cargo run --release --example generator 0000:AA:BB.C 

and the forwarder with

sudo cargo run --release --example forwarder 0000:AA:BB.C 0000:AA:BB.D


src/ defines's public API.


examples contains all sample applications included in this crate.


src/ contains the core logic.

Docs contains documentation that can be created and viewed by running

cargo doc --open

License is licensed under the MIT license.

Disclaimer is not production-ready. Do not use it in critical environments. DMA may corrupt memory.

Other languages

Check out the other ixy implementations.