Live Migration of Virtual Machine and Container based Mobile Core Network Components: A Comprehensive Study
With the increasing demand for openness, flexibility, and monetization the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) of mobile network functions has become the embracing factor for most mobile network operators. Early reported field deployments of virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC) - the core network component of 4G LTE and 5G non-standalone mobile networks - reflect this growing trend. To best meet the requirements of power management, load balancing, and fault tolerance in the cloud
... , the need for live migration for these virtualized components cannot be shunned. Virtualization platforms of interest include both Virtual Machines (VMs) and Containers, with the latter option offering more lightweight characteristics. The first contribution of this paper is the implementation of a number of custom functions that enable migration of Containers supporting virtualized EPC components. The current CRIU-based migration of Docker Container does not fully support the mobile network protocol stack. CRIU extensions to support the mobile network protocol stack are therefore required and described in the paper. The second contribution is an experimental-based comprehensive analysis of live migration in two backhaul network settings and two virtualization technologies. The two backhaul network settings are the one provided by CloudLab and one based on a programmable optical network testbed that makes use of OpenROADM dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) equipment. The paper compares the migration performance of the proposed implementation of OpenAirInterface (OAI) based containerized EPC components with the one utilizing VMs, running in OpenStack. The presented experimental comparison accounts for a number of system parameters and configurations, image size of the virtualized EPC components, network characteristics, and signal propagation time across the OpenROADM backhaul network.