Electrode: Accelerating Distributed Protocols with eBPF


Yang Zhou, Harvard University; Zezhou Wang, Peking University; Sowmya Dharanipragada, Cornell University; Minlan Yu, Harvard University


Implementing distributed protocols under a standard Linux kernel networking stack enjoys the benefits of load-aware CPU scaling, high compatibility, and robust security and isolation. However, it suffers from low performance because of excessive user-kernel crossings and kernel networking stack traversing. We present Electrode with a set of eBPF-based performance optimizations designed for distributed protocols. These optimizations get executed in the kernel before the networking stack but achieve similar functionalities as were implemented in user space (e.g., message broadcasting, collecting quorum of acknowledgments), thus avoiding the overheads incurred by user-kernel crossings and kernel networking stack traversing. We show that when applied to a classic Multi-Paxos state machine replication protocol, Electrode improves its throughput by up to 128.4% and latency by up to 41.7%.

NSDI '23 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {286467,
author = {Yang Zhou and Zezhou Wang and Sowmya Dharanipragada and Minlan Yu},
title = {Electrode: Accelerating Distributed Protocols with {eBPF}},
booktitle = {20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-33-5},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {1391--1407},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/nsdi23/presentation/zhou},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr,

Presentation Video