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Linux kernel utility could solve Kubernetes networking woes

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As production Kubernetes clusters grow, a standard Linux kernel utility that's been reinvented for the cloud era may offer a fix for container networking scalability challenges.

The utility, extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF), traces its origins back to a paper published by computer scientists in 1992. It's a widely adopted tool that uses a mini-VM inside the Linux kernel to perform network routing functions. Over the last four years, as Kubernetes became popular, open source projects such as Cilium began to use eBPF data to route and filter Kubernetes network traffic without requiring Linux kernel changes.

In the last two years, demand for such tools rose among enterprises as their Kubernetes production environments grew, and they encountered new kinds of thorny bottlenecks and difficult tradeoffs between complexity and efficiency.

IT monitoring vendor Datadog saw eBPF-based tooling as the answer to its Kubernetes scaling issues after a series of experiments with other approaches.

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