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

Varnish Software has announced new CDN performance milestones for Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Live Linear video use cases, as well as a white paper detailing the results and testing methods.

The experiment aimed to demonstrate a cost-effective method for fulfilling peak capacity requirements at high bandwidth and user density, as higher throughput levels would soon be required. As an example of the expanding requirement for higher-performance CDN infrastructure, a high-definition (1080p) stream may consume up to 6.77 Mbps per stream, whereas the same material in ultra-high definition (4K) consumes up to 26.82 Mbps, nearly quadrupling the needed bandwidth.

Varnish Software, an Intel Network Builders ecosystem partner who was recently awarded the Titanium level in the Intel Network Builders Winners Circle program, used 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor-based servers with the Intel Select Solution for Visual Cloud Delivery Network configuration to test their commercial CDN software Varnish Edge Cloud. Synchronous direct I/O, NUMA awareness, and hardware-enhanced security with in-core TLS processing were all key Varnish features in achieving the new benchmarks.

According to Varnish Software, the following were the outcomes of the test:

  • 509.7 Gbps live-linear throughput, using a dual-processor configuration
  • 487.2 Gbps video-on-demand throughput, using a dual-processor configuration
Photo Lars Larsson, CEO at Varnish Software
“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,” said Lars Larsson, CEO at Varnish Software.

In real-world applications, the most popular material is often maintained in DRAM for quick access, with the rest being saved on NVMe disk storage. A white paper published by the company outlines the difficult testing circumstances, which included treating cached material as equally popular and requesting it at random for both live-linear and VOD testing workloads; a worst-case scenario that increased the likelihood of NVMe disk access on every request. This white paper can be found here.

Varnish’s URL-based caching technology maintained live material in DRAM alone, while allowing VoD video to be cached both on disk and in DRAM. This simulated periods of time where live content is more popular than VOD, such as popular sporting events. Both workloads were executed on single and dual-processor servers with 256, 512, and 4,096 connections per CPU, respectively.

“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,” said Lars Larsson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Varnish Software. “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.”

Caching Technology

Varnish Software’s sophisticated caching technology enables the world’s largest content providers to give ultra-fast online and streaming experiences to massive audiences. Their solutions combine open-source freedom with corporate scalability to accelerate media streaming services, websites, and APIs, as well as enabling multinational enterprises to create bespoke CDNs. This would result in the highest content delivery performance and reliability. Hulu, Emirates, and Tesla are among Varnish Software’s clients, and their technology is backed by a cache layer trusted by more than 10 million websites globally.

“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,” said Nagesh Puppala, General Manager, Intel Edge & Cloud Video Division. “This collaboration demonstrates the possibilities when software is optimized on the latest Intel Xeon processors. 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.”