• BPF_MAP_TYPE_CPUMAP was introduced in kernel version 4.15

The 'cpumap' is primarily used as a backend map for XDP BPF helper call bpf_redirect_map() and XDP_REDIRECT action, like 'devmap'.

Unlike devmap which redirects XDP frames out to another NIC device, this map type redirects raw XDP frames to another CPU. The remote CPU will do SKB-allocation and call the normal network stack.

An example use-case for this map type is software based Receive Side Scaling (RSS).

The CPUMAP represents the CPUs in the system indexed as the map-key, and the map-value is the config setting (per CPUMAP entry). Each CPUMAP entry has a dedicated kernel thread bound to the given CPU to represent the remote CPU execution unit.

Starting from Linux kernel version 5.9 the CPUMAP can run a second XDP program on the remote CPU. This allows an XDP program to split its processing across multiple CPUs. For example, a scenario where the initial CPU (that sees/receives the packets) needs to do minimal packet processing and the remote CPU (to which the packet is directed) can afford to spend more cycles processing the frame. The initial CPU is where the XDP redirect program is executed. The remote CPU receives raw xdp_frame objects.


Kernel BPF


long bpf_redirect_map(struct bpf_map *map, u32 key, u64 flags)

Redirect the packet to the endpoint referenced by map at index key. For BPF_MAP_TYPE_CPUMAP this map contains references to CPUs.

The lower two bits of flags are used as the return code if the map lookup fails. This is so that the return value can be one of the XDP program return codes up to XDP_TX, as chosen by the caller.

User space


CPUMAP entries can only be updated/looked up/deleted from user space and not from an eBPF program. Trying to call these functions from a kernel eBPF program will result in the program failing to load and a verifier warning.


int bpf_map_update_elem(int fd, const void *key, const void *value, __u64 flags);

CPU entries can be added or updated using the bpf_map_update_elem() helper. This helper replaces existing elements atomically. The value parameter can be struct bpf_cpumap_val.

struct bpf_cpumap_val {
    __u32 qsize;  /* queue size to remote target CPU */
    union {
        int   fd; /* prog fd on map write */
        __u32 id; /* prog id on map read */
    } bpf_prog;
The flags argument can be one of the following:
  • BPF_ANY: Create a new element or update an existing element.

  • BPF_NOEXIST: Create a new element only if it did not exist.

  • BPF_EXIST: Update an existing element.


int bpf_map_lookup_elem(int fd, const void *key, void *value);

CPU entries can be retrieved using the bpf_map_lookup_elem() helper.


int bpf_map_delete_elem(int fd, const void *key);

CPU entries can be deleted using the bpf_map_delete_elem() helper. This helper will return 0 on success, or negative error in case of failure.



The following code snippet shows how to declare a BPF_MAP_TYPE_CPUMAP called cpu_map and how to redirect packets to a remote CPU using a round robin scheme.

struct {
     __uint(type, BPF_MAP_TYPE_CPUMAP);
     __type(key, __u32);
     __type(value, struct bpf_cpumap_val);
     __uint(max_entries, 12);
 } cpu_map SEC(".maps");

 struct {
     __uint(type, BPF_MAP_TYPE_ARRAY);
     __type(key, __u32);
     __type(value, __u32);
     __uint(max_entries, 12);
 } cpus_available SEC(".maps");

 struct {
     __uint(type, BPF_MAP_TYPE_PERCPU_ARRAY);
     __type(key, __u32);
     __type(value, __u32);
     __uint(max_entries, 1);
 } cpus_iterator SEC(".maps");

 int  xdp_redir_cpu_round_robin(struct xdp_md *ctx)
     __u32 key = 0;
     __u32 cpu_dest = 0;
     __u32 *cpu_selected, *cpu_iterator;
     __u32 cpu_idx;

     cpu_iterator = bpf_map_lookup_elem(&cpus_iterator, &key);
     if (!cpu_iterator)
         return XDP_ABORTED;
     cpu_idx = *cpu_iterator;

     *cpu_iterator += 1;
     if (*cpu_iterator == bpf_num_possible_cpus())
         *cpu_iterator = 0;

     cpu_selected = bpf_map_lookup_elem(&cpus_available, &cpu_idx);
     if (!cpu_selected)
         return XDP_ABORTED;
     cpu_dest = *cpu_selected;

     if (cpu_dest >= bpf_num_possible_cpus())
         return XDP_ABORTED;

     return bpf_redirect_map(&cpu_map, cpu_dest, 0);

User space

The following code snippet shows how to dynamically set the max_entries for a CPUMAP to the max number of cpus available on the system.

int set_max_cpu_entries(struct bpf_map *cpu_map)
    if (bpf_map__set_max_entries(cpu_map, libbpf_num_possible_cpus()) < 0) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Failed to set max entries for cpu_map map: %s",
        return -1;
    return 0;