Benchmarking Redis

Redis is a simple, single-threaded key--value store written in C. It is a useful test to measure single-threaded performance of the system.

Automated integration tests

The easiest way to run redis on nrk, is to invoke the redis integration tests directly:

  • s05_redis_smoke will spawn nrk with a redis instance, connect to it using nc and issue a few commands to test basic functionality.
  • s06_redis_benchmark_virtio and s06_redis_benchmark_e1000 will spawn nrk with a redis instance and launch the redis-benchmark CLI tool on the host for benchmarking. The results obtained by redis-benchmark are parsed and written into redis_benchmark.csv. The virtio and e1000 suffix indicate which network driver is used.
cd kernel
# Runs both _virtio and _e1000 redis benchmark tests
RUST_TEST_THREADS=1 cargo test --test integration-test -- s06_redis_benchmark

Launch redis manually

You can also do the steps that the integration-test does manually. We start a DHCP server first. The apparmor teardown is necessary if you don't have a security policy that allows the use of a dhcpd.conf at this location.

cd kernel
sudo service apparmor teardown
sudo dhcpd -f -d tap0 --no-pid -cf ./tests/dhcpd.conf

Next run the redis server in nrk (exchange the nic parameter with virtio to use the virtio NIC):

python3 \
  --kfeatures test-userspace \
  --nic e1000 \
  --cmd "log=info init=redis.bin" \
  --mods rkapps \
  --ufeatures "rkapps:redis" \
  --qemu-settings="-m 1024M"

Finally, execute the redis-benchmark on the host.

redis-benchmark -h -n 10000000 -p 6379 -t get,set -P 29

You should see an output similar to this:

====== SET ======
  10000000 requests completed in 10.29 seconds
  50 parallel clients
  3 bytes payload
  keep alive: 1

0.31% <= 1 milliseconds
98.53% <= 2 milliseconds
99.89% <= 3 milliseconds
100.00% <= 4 milliseconds
100.00% <= 4 milliseconds
972100.75 requests per second

====== GET ======
  10000000 requests completed in 19.97 seconds
  50 parallel clients
  3 bytes payload
  keep alive: 1

0.14% <= 1 milliseconds
6.35% <= 2 milliseconds
77.66% <= 3 milliseconds
94.62% <= 4 milliseconds
97.04% <= 5 milliseconds
99.35% <= 6 milliseconds
99.76% <= 7 milliseconds
99.94% <= 8 milliseconds
99.99% <= 9 milliseconds
99.99% <= 10 milliseconds
100.00% <= 11 milliseconds
100.00% <= 11 milliseconds
500726.03 requests per second


redis-benchmark is a closed-loop benchmarking tool that ships with redis. You can get it on Ubuntu by installing the redis-tools package:

sudo apt-get install redis-tools

Example invocation:

redis-benchmark -h -t set,ping

For maximal throughput, use pipelining (-P), and the virtio network driver:

redis-benchmark -h -n 10000000 -p 6379 -t get,set -P 29

Redis on Linux

You'll need a Linux VM image, see the Compare against Linux section for steps on how to create one.

Before starting the VM we can re-use the DHCP server config in nrk/kernel/tests to start a DHCP server on the host that configures the network of the guest VM:

# Launch a DHCP server (can reuse nrk config)
cd nrk/kernel
sudo dhcpd -f -d tap0 --no-pid -cf ./tests/dhcpd.conf

Next, start the VM. To have the same benchmarks conditions as nrk (e.g., use a tap device) launch the VM like this (select either e1000 or virtio, generally virtio will perform better than emulated e1000):

e1000 NIC:

qemu-system-x86_64 \
  --enable-kvm -m 2048 -k en-us --smp 2 \
  -boot d ubuntu-testing.img -nographic \
  -net nic,model=e1000,netdev=n0 \
  -netdev tap,id=n0,script=no,ifname=tap0

virtio NIC:

qemu-system-x86_64 \
  --enable-kvm -m 2048 -k en-us --smp 2 \
  -boot d ubuntu-testing.img -nographic \
  -net nic,model=virtio,netdev=n0 \
  -netdev tap,id=n0,script=no,ifname=tap0

Inside the Linux VM use the following steps to install redis:

sudo apt install vim git build-essential libjemalloc1 libjemalloc-dev net-tools
git clone
cd redis
git checkout 3.0.6

Finally, start redis:

cd redis/src
rm dump.rdb && ./redis-server

Some approximate numbers to expect on a Linux VM and Server CPUs:

e1000, no pipeline:

  • SET 50k req/s
  • GET 50k req/s

virtio, -P 29:

  • SET 1.8M req/s
  • GET 2.0M req/s

Redis on the rumprun unikernel

Install the toolchain:

git clone rumprun
cd rumprun
# Rumprun install
git submodule update --init
./ hw -- -F CFLAGS='-w'
. "/root/rumprun/./obj-amd64-hw/"

Build the redis unikernel:

# Packages install
git clone
cd rumprun-packages


cd redis
make -j8
rumprun-bake hw_generic redis.bin bin/redis-server

Run the unikernel

# Run using virtio
rumprun kvm -i -M 256 -I if,vioif,'-net tap,script=no,ifname=tap0'  -g '-curses'  -W if,inet,dhcp  -b images/data.iso,/data -- redis.bin
# Run using e1000
rumprun kvm -i -M 256 -I if,wm,'-net tap,ifname=tap0'  -g '-curses -serial -net nic,model=e1000'  -W if,inet,dhcp  -b images/data.iso,/data -- redis.bin

Run the benchmark

redis-benchmark -h

Approximate numbers to expect:

  • virtio: PING ~100k req/s
  • e1000 PING ~30k req/s