Performance Tuning

Any high-performance benchmark setup requires separate server for generating traffic which then sends the traffic to the target server under test. In order to scale-up DNS Shotgun to be able to perform well under heavy load, some performance tuning and network adjustments are needed.


An example of performance tuning we use in our benchmarks can be found in our ansible role.

Number of file descriptors

Make sure the number of available file descriptors is sufficient. It's typically necessary when running DNS Shotgun from terminal. When using docker, the defaults are usually sufficient.

$ ulimit -n 1000000

Ephemeral port range

Extending the ephemeral port range gives the tool more outgoing ports to work with.

$ sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range="1025 60999"

NIC queues

High-end network cards typically has multiple queues. Ideally, you want to set their number to be the same as number of available CPUs.

$ ethtool -L $INTERFACE combined $NCPU


It's important that the NIC interrupts from different queues are handled by different CPUs. If there are throughput issues, you may want to verify this is the case.


DNS Shotgun can generate quite bursty traffic. Increasing the receiving server's socket memory can help to prevent that. If this buffer isn't sufficient, it can cause packet loss.

$ sysctl -w net.core.rmem_default="8192000"


Tuning the network stack for TCP isn't as straightforward and it's network-card specific. It's best to refer to kernel documentation for your specific network card.


For our benchmarks, we don't use iptables or any firewall. Especially the conntrack module probably won't be able to handle serious load. Make sure the conntrack module isn't loaded by kernel if you're not using it.