GRO and other properties of PIFs

Design document
Revision v1
Status released (6.5)
Review create new issue

It has been possible to enable and disable GRO and other “ethtool” features on PIFs for a long time, but there was never an official API for it. Now there is.


The former way to enable GRO via the CLI is as follows:

xe pif-param-set uuid=<pif-uuid> other-config:ethtool-gro=on
xe pif-plug uuid=<pif-uuid>

The other-config field is a grab-bag of options that are not clearly defined. The options exposed through other-config are mostly experimental features, and the interface is not considered stable. Furthermore, the field is read/write and does not have any input validation, and cannot not trigger any actions immediately. The latter is why it is needed to call pif-plug after setting the ethtool-gro key, in order to actually make things happen.


New field:

  • Field of type (string -> string) map.
  • Physical and bond PIFs have a gro key in their properties, with possible values on and off. There are currently no other properties defined.
  • VLAN and Tunnel PIFs do not have any properties. They implicitly inherit the properties from the PIF they are based upon (either a physical PIF or a bond).
  • For backwards compatibility, if there is a other-config:ethtool-gro key present on the PIF, it will be treated as an override of the gro key in

New function:

  • Message void PIF.set_property (PIF ref, string, string).
  • First argument: the reference of the PIF to act on.
  • Second argument: the key to change in the properties field.
  • Third argument: the value to write.
  • The function can only be used on physical PIFs that are not bonded, and on bond PIFs. Attempts to call the function on bond slaves, VLAN PIFs, or Tunnel PIFs, fail with CANNOT_CHANGE_PIF_PROPERTIES.
  • Calls with invalid keys or values fail with INVALID_VALUE.
  • When called on a bond PIF, the key in the properties of the associated bond slaves will also be set to same value.
  • The function automatically causes the settings to be applied to the network devices (no additional plug is needed). This includes any VLANs that are on top of the PIF to-be-changed, as well as any bond slaves.

Defaults, Installation and Upgrade

  • Any newly introduced PIF will have its properties field set to "gro" -> "on". This includes PIFs obtained after a fresh installation of XenServer, as well as PIFs created using PIF.introduce or PIF.scan. In other words, GRO will be “on” by default.
  • An upgrade from a version of XenServer that does not have the field, will give every physical and bond PIF a properties field set to "gro" -> "on". In other words, GRO will be “on” by default after an upgrade.


  • When creating a bond, the bond-slaves-to-be must all have equal If not, the bond.create call will fail with INCOMPATIBLE_BOND_PROPERTIES.
  • When a bond is created successfully, the properties of the bond PIF will be equal to the properties of the bond slaves.

Command Line Interface

  • The field is exposed through xe pif-list and xe pif-param-list as usual.
  • The PIF.set_property call is exposed through xe pif-param-set. For example: xe pif-param-set uuid=<pif-uuid> properties:gro=off.