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FreeBSD Netperf Cluster



The netperf cluster provides a multi-node, SMP-capable, network functionality and performance test capability for the FreeBSD Project, supporting a variety of on-going sub-projects including the netperf project, and on-going work on high performance threading. The cluster is available on a check out basis for developers, who must request accounts be created by contacting one of the netperf cluster admins. The cluster includes both 1gbps and 10gbps test segments, with network hardware from a number of vendors.


The netperf cluster was made possible through the generous donation of a number of organizations, including:

  • Sentex Data Communications, who not only host the complete cluster, provide front-end build system, several test systems, and the management infrastructure (remote power, serial console, network switch, etc), but also appear to be endlessly willing to help configure, reconfigure, and troubleshoot at almost any time of day or night.

  • FreeBSD Systems, who through a generous matching grant with the FreeBSD Foundation, provide the majority of testing hardware used in the cluster, including three dual-Xeon test systems.

  • The FreeBSD Foundation, who provided a matching grant for the purposes of purchasing testing hardware, as well as taking ownership of hardware, offering tax receipts to donors in its role as a non-profit, and participating in cluster planning.

  • IronPort Systems, who have donated a test server.

  • iXsystems, who have donated several test servers.

  • Google, Inc., who have donated two test servers.

  • Cisco, Inc., who have donated a 10gbps switch.

  • Chelsio Communications, who have donated two 10gbps network cards.

  • Myricom, Inc., who have donated two 10gbps network cards.

  • Intel Corporation, who have donated two 10gbps network cards.

  • Meinberg, who have donated a LANTIME M600 IEEE 1588 Grandmaster Clock.

  • George V. Neville-Neil, who has donated a quad-core AMD test system.

  • Robert Watson, who has donated a dual-CPU PIII system and a Portmaster terminal server.

Donations to support the netperf cluster have an immediate and substantial impact on the success of a number of on-going performance projects, providing access to high-end hardware to a large number of developers. If you or your company are interested in helping to support continued development of the netperf cluster as a resource for FreeBSD development, please contact the netperf cluster admins.

Netperf Cluster Admins

The FreeBSD netperf cluster is managed by a small team of developer/administrators to support SMP development and performance testing on high-end hardware. If you have any questions, including questions about access to the cluster as a developer, or about possible future donations of testing hardware, please feel free to contact them via netperf-admin at

Netperf Cluster Resources

The Netperf cluster consists of several systems interconnected using a management network, as well as individual back-to-back gigabit ethernet links for a test network. The following systems are available as testing resources on a check-out basis:

  • is the front-end build and management system. This system was donated by Sentex Communications.

  • elephant is a dual-PIII 800MHz system with ATA disk subsystem.

  • orangutan is a dual-Xeon 2GHz system equipped with an Adaptec SCSI RAID array. This system was donated by IronPort Systems.

  • tiger-1, tiger-2, and tiger-3 are a set of interconnected, matching dual-Xeon 3GHz systems with ATA disk subsystems. Each has four if_em network interfaces, and these are interconnected so that various topologies can be created. These systems were donated by FreeBSD Systems and the FreeBSD Foundation.

  • cheetah is a dual core Opteron 270 system with two 2GHz CPUs each with two cores using a Tyan K8S Pro (S2882) motherboard. The machine identifies as a quad processor machine in dmesg. The system has SATA disk, 2GB of RAM, 1GB for each processor, and 5 ethernet ports. fxp0 is the management port and em0, em1, bge0 and bge1 are gigE interfaces which will eventually connect cheetah to elephant and orangutan. This system was donated by George Neville-Neil.

  • hippo is a quad-processor Pentium III 500MHz system with 50GB RAID array, donated by Sentex Communications.

  • camel is a dual core Pentium D 3.0Ghz SMP system with four SATA disks and two hardware crypto devices, donated by Sentex Communications.

  • interlope is a Celeron 2.5GHz system with two SATA disks running SUN Solaris 10, donated by Sentex Communications.

  • apc2, apc3, and apc4 are the remote power consoles for the test network. These systems were donated by Sentex Communications.

  • leopard1, leopard2, and leopard3 are dual-core Intel systems hooked up to the 10gbps test cluster, and use Chelsio and Myricom 10gbps cards. These systems were donated by iXsystems.

  • hydra1 and hydra2 are 8-core Intel systems hooked up to the 10gbps test cluster. These systems were donated by Google and the FreeBSD Foundation.

The current serial port and network configuration of test systems, as well as password information, can be found in /etc/motd on zoo. We are currently interested in adding amd64 and em64t hardware to the cluster.

Netperf Cluster Procedures

As the netperf cluster is a centrally managed and shared resource, understanding and consistent following of its procedures is important. In particular, following of the procedures makes it easier for developers to have reasonable expectations about the configuration of systems in the cluster, as well as to avoid treading on each others toes.

Pointers and documentation on Netperf Cluster procedures can be found on the Test Cluster One Pointers page on the FreeBSD wiki.

Current Configuration Notes and News

A few hopefully up-to-date configuration notes that may be relevant to users of the netperf cluster:

  • 20070727 - The 10gbps testbed is now being configured, thanks to donations from iXsystems, Chelsio, Myricom, Intel, Google, Cisco, and the FreeBSD Foundation.

  • 20061211 - The Netperf Cluster Reservations page is now online on the wiki. Also, a Netperf Cluster Pointers wiki page has been set up documenting procedures for the Netperf cluster.

  • 20061205 - has been updated to the most recent version of 6-STABLE.

  • 20050624 - cheetah is now online!

  • 20050204 - orangutan is now configured to use PXEboot, thanks to help from Sentex.

  • 20050203 - system upgrades to tiger-1, tiger-2, and tiger-3 have been completed -- the latest versions of 4.x (ar0s1) and 6.x (ar0s2) are now installed.

  • 20050203 - has been updated to the most recent version of 5-STABLE.