Hyperscan is a regular expression matching library. It provides simultaneous matching of regular expressions across streams of data. Hyperscan runs only on x86_64 platforms.

Vectorscan is an architecture-inclusive fork of Hyperscan , that preserves the support for x86_64 and modifies the framework for the Arm architecture.

This Learning Path explains how to use Vectorscan on Arm and provides an example of using it with the Snort3 application.

Before you begin

You should have an Arm server available with Ubuntu 20.04 or Ubuntu 22.04 installed.

The instructions provided have been tested on an Ubuntu 22.04 AWS Arm EC2 instance (c6g.xlarge) and Ubuntu 20.04 Oracle Ampere A1 instance.

Software dependencies

Before building Vectorscan, install the following software.

Update the sources list for the package manager.


            sudo apt update

GCC for your Arm Linux distribution. If needed, refer to the installation guide .


            sudo apt install -y build-essential 

CMake build system :


            sudo apt install -y cmake

Boost C++ libraries :


            sudo apt install -y libboost-all-dev

Ragel :


            sudo apt install -y ragel

PkgConfig :


            sudo apt install -y pkg-config

SQLite3 :


            sudo apt install -y libsqlite3-dev

libpcap :


            sudo apt install -y libpcap-dev

Install Vectorscan

Clone the Vectorscan git repository:


            git clone https://github.com/VectorCamp/vectorscan.git
cd vectorscan

Configure the build environment

You must first fix the PCRE download location in the cmake file.

  1. Use a text editor to modify the file cmake/setenv-arm64-cross.sh

Set the environment variables to the values shown in the example below:


            export CROSS=/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-

            export CROSS_SYS=/

            export BOOST_PATH=/usr/include

The script below shows cmake/setenv-arm64-cross.sh with the edits complete:


            export BOOST_VERSION=1_57_0
export CROSS=/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-
export CROSS_SYS=/

# if [ ! -d "boost_$BOOST_VERSION" ];
# then
#       wget -O boost_$BOOST_VERSION.tar.gz https://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/$BOOST_DOT_VERSION/boost_$BOOST_VERSION.tar.gz/download
#       tar xf boost_$BOOST_VERSION.tar.gz
# fi
if [ ! -d "pcre-8.41" ];
        wget -O pcre-8.41.tar.bz2 https://sourceforge.net/projects/pcre/files/pcre/8.41/pcre-8.41.tar.bz2/download
        tar xf pcre-8.41.tar.bz2
        export PCRE_SOURCE=./pcre-8.41

export BOOST_PATH=/usr/include

After making the edits, save and close the file.

  1. Source the modified file in your shell:

            source cmake/setenv-arm64-cross.sh
  1. Determine if your processor has SVE

Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE) is a SIMD extension of the Arm architecture which is available on some Arm processors. For example, the Neoverse-N1 does not include SVE and the Neoverse-V1 does include SVE.

Vectorscan will run faster if you have an processor with SVE and you enable it when building the software.

To determine if SVE is available on your processor run:


            lscpu | grep sve

If SVE is available the Flags will be printed:


        Flags: fp asimd evtstrm aes pmull sha1 sha2 crc32 atomics fphp asimdhp cpuid asimdrdm jscvt fcma lrcpc dcpop sha3 sm3 sm4 asimddp sha512 sve asimdfhm dit uscat ilrcpc flagm ssbs paca pacg dcpodp svei8mm svebf16 i8mm bf16 dgh rng


If no SVE is present, there will be no output.

  1. Configure the build with cmake

For processors without SVE, create a build directory and run cmake:


            mkdir vectorscan-build
cd vectorscan-build
cmake -DCROSS_COMPILE_AARCH64=1 ../ -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../cmake/arm64-cross.cmake

For processors with SVE, create a build directory and run cmake and define BUILD_SVE on your cmake command:


            cmake -DCROSS_COMPILE_AARCH64=1 ../ -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../cmake/arm64-cross.cmake -DBUILD_SVE=1

Build Vectorscan

Use make to build the vectorscan library:


            make -j$(nproc)

The executables from the build are created in the bin directory.

Run Vectorscan unit tests

Run a check to validate that Vectorscan is built and running correctly:



All the unit tests should run successfully. At the end of execution you will see output similar to:


        [----------] Global test environment tear-down
[==========] 3746 tests from 33 test cases ran. (197558 ms total)
[  PASSED  ] 3746 tests.


You have successfully built and run Vectorscan.