Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) | Poll Mode Driver (PMD)

Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK)

DPDK is a set of libraries and optimized NIC drivers for fast packet processing in user space. DPDK provides a framework and common API for high speed networking applications.
For more information, see
Mellanox is part of the DPDK open source community, contributing not only to the development of high performance Mellanox drivers but also by improving and expanding DPDK functionalities and use cases.

Mellanox PMDs
Mellanox Poll Mode Driver (PMD) is an open source upstream driver, embedded within releases, designed for fast packet processing and low latency by providing kernel bypass for receive, send, and by avoiding the interrupt processing performance overhead.

The two Mellanox PMDs are mlx4 for ConnectX®-3 Pro Ethernet adapters, and mlx5 for Mellanox ConnectX®-4/ConnectX®-4 Lx/ConnectX®-5/ConnectX®-5 Ex Ethernet adapters. Mellanox PMDs supports bare metal, KVM and VMware SR-IOV on x86_64, Arm and Power9 architectures.
Mellanox PMDs are part of the starting DPDK 2.0 release (mlx4) and DPDK 2.2 (mlx5).

For installation instructions, and other related information on releases, please see

  • Most advanced NIC on the market today enabling multiple offloads in NIC hardware
  • Reaches 100GbE throughput with a single NIC port
  • Secures your application with memory protection in hardware
  • Provides cost effective solution allowing concurrent DPDK application with non-DPDK application use of the NIC
  • Supports multiple CPU architectures and CPU-accelerators - x86, POWER and Arm

For Mellanox DPDK refer to the latest official GA from

Upstream documentation can be found here.
Additional recommended reading material:

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