Ubuntu 24.04 Server Big Updates Including Intel QuickAssist Support

Ubuntu 24.04 Running Large
Ubuntu 24.04 Running Large

Ubuntu 24.04 Noble Numbat was released this week with some big updates. On the server side, we saw something very exciting for STH as the new long term support (LTS) distribution version has support for Intel QuickAssist or Intel QAT built-in.

Ubuntu 24.04 Server Big Updates Including Intel QuickAssist Support

Going through the Noble Numbat release notes, there are a ton of features. One of them in particular was notable for STH readers:

Intel QuickAssist Technology (Intel QAT)

Intel QAT is a built-in accelerator on 4th Gen and newer Intel Xeon Scalable Processors that offloads critical data compression and decompression, encryption and decryption, and public key data encryption tasks from the CPU cores and accelerates those operations to help improve performance and save valuable compute resources.

The components enabled on Ubuntu 24.04 are:

  • qatlib 24.02.0
    This package provides user space libraries that allow access to Intel® QAT devices and expose the Intel QAT APIs and sample codes.
  • qatengine 1.5.0
    This package provides the Intel QAT OpenSSL Engine Plug-in as a shared library that sits between OpenSSL and the QAT library. The engine can be configured to use Intel optimized libraries (ipp-crypto and intel-ipsec-mb) and/or offload those operations to the QAT device.
  • qatzip 1.2.0
    This package provides a user space library offering accelerated compression and decompression services by offloading the work to the Intel QAT device, which uses the deflate and lz4 algorithms.
  • ipp-crypto 2021.10.0
    Intel Integrated Performance Primitives Cryptography (Intel IPP Cryptography) is a secure, fast and lightweight library of building blocks for cryptography, highly-optimized for various Intel CPUs.
  • intel-ipsec-mb 1.5-1
    Intel Multi-Buffer Crypto for IPsec Library provides software crypto acceleration that primarily focuses on symmetric cryptography applications. (Source: Ubuntu release notes)

This is huge. Ubuntu has integrated support for Intel QAT. We have been on the QAT journey perhaps since the 2013 Atom C2000 series launch, but certainly by the time we were doing Intel QuickAssist Technology and OpenSSL Benchmarks and Setup Tips. In 2016, getting QAT setup was a pain, especially if you did not use RedHat/ CentOS. Since then it has gotten easier, and platforms like pfSense+ and OPNsense have introduced QAT offloads directly from the firewall UI. Now, it is also a supported accelerator in Ubuntu.

If you want to learn more about Intel QAT you can see more here:

We also have an Intel QuickAssist Parts and Cards by QAT Generation guide, an Intel QuickAssist in Ice Lake Servers deep-dive, an Intel Xeon D-2700 onboard QuickAssist QAT Acceleration deep-dive, and more. Unfortunately, we did the testing for our recent Supermicro A3SSV-16C-SPLN10F Intel Atom P5342 25GbE motherboard review before Ubuntu 24.04 was ready.

Final Words

Ubuntu LTS releases are big industry events just given the large Ubuntu market share. Since the LTS cycle is every two years, that means there is a ton that goes into each release. We suggest downloading the desktop and server images and getting started soon, since if you are building servers, the new LTS releases are going to have the latest hardware support and longest lifecycles. We just found the QAT support note and got very excited since we have been working with QAT for eight years!

Hopefully that is a fun weekend project for STH readers.


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