Running VPP


When VPP is installed, a new usergroup 'vpp' is created. To avoid running the VPP CLI (vppctl) as root, add any existing users to the new group that need to interact with VPP:

$ sudo usermod -a -G vpp user1

Update your current session for the group change to take effect:

$ newgrp vpp

Systemd File vpp.service

When the VPP is installed, a systemd service files is also installed. This file, vpp.service (Ubuntu: /lib/systemd/system/vpp.service and CentOS: /usr/lib/systemd/system/vpp.service), controls how VPP is run as a service. For example, whether or not to restart on failure and if so, with how much delay. Also, which UIO driver should be loaded and location of the 'startup.conf' file.

$ cat /usr/lib/systemd/system/vpp.service
Description=Vector Packet Processing Process auditd.service

ExecStartPre=-/bin/rm -f /dev/shm/db /dev/shm/global_vm /dev/shm/vpe-api
ExecStartPre=-/sbin/modprobe uio_pci_generic
ExecStart=/usr/bin/vpp -c /etc/vpp/startup.conf



Some older versions of the 'uio_pci_generic' driver don't bind all the supported NICs properly, so the 'igb_uio' driver built from DPDK needs to be installed. This file controls which driver is loaded at boot. 'startup.conf' file controls which driver is used.

Huge Pages

VPP requires hugepages to run during VPP operation, to manage large pages of memory. During VPP installation, VPP will overwrite the existing hugepage settings. By default, VPP sets the number of hugepages on a system to 1024 2M hugepages. This is the number of hugepages on the system, not just used by VPP.

When VPP is installed, the following configuration file is copied to the system. The hugepage settings are applied in the VPP installation and on system reboots. To set the hugepage settings, perform the following commands:

$ cat /etc/sysctl.d/80-vpp.conf
# Number of 2MB hugepages desired

# Must be greater than or equal to (2 * vm.nr_hugepages).

# All groups allowed to access hugepages

# Shared Memory Max must be greater or equal to the total size of hugepages.
# For 2MB pages, TotalHugepageSize = vm.nr_hugepages * 2 * 1024 * 1024
# If the existing kernel.shmmax setting  (cat /sys/proc/kernel/shmmax)
# is greater than the calculated TotalHugepageSize then set this parameter
# to current shmmax value.

Depending on how the system is being used, this configuration file can be updated to adjust the number of hugepages reserved on a system. Below are some examples of possible settings.

For a small VM with minimal workload:


For a large system running multiple VMs, each needing its own set of hugepages:



If VPP is being run in a Virtual Machine (VM), the VM must have hugepage backing. When VPP is installed, it will attempt to overwrite existing the hugepage setting. If the VM does not have hugepage backing, the install will fail, but the failure may go unnoticed. When the VM is rebooted, on system startup, 'vm.nr_hugepages' will be reapplied, and will fail, and the VM will abort kernel boot, locking up the VM. To avoid this scenario, ensure the VM has enough hugepage backing.