The degree of multiplexing in datacenters necessitates careful resource scheduling, and network bandwidth is no exception. Unfortunately, today we are left with little control to accurately schedule network traffic with low overhead on end-hosts. This paper presents NicPic, a system which enables accurate network traffic scheduling in a scalable fashion. The key insight in NicPic is to decouple the responsibility of state-management and packet scheduling between the CPU and the NIC, respectively. The CPU is only involved in classifying packets, enqueueing them in per-class queues maintained in host memory, and specifying rate limits for each traffic class. The NIC handles packet scheduling and transmission on a real-time basis. In this paper, we present the design of NicPic which offers a scalable solution for transmit scheduling in future high speed NICs.
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