Orchestrating Virtualized Network Functions

Faizul Bari, Shihabur Rahman Chowdhury, Reaz Ahmed, Raouf Boutaba, Otto Carlos Muniz Bandeira Duarte
2016 IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management  
Middleboxes or network appliances like firewalls, proxies and WAN optimizers have become an integral part of today's ISP and enterprise networks. Middlebox functionalities are usually deployed on expensive and proprietary hardware that require trained personnel for deployment and maintenance. Middleboxes contribute significantly to a network's capital and operation costs. In addition, organizations often require their traffic to pass through a specific sequence of middleboxes for compliance
more » ... for compliance with security and performance policies. This makes the middlebox deployment and maintenance tasks even more complicated. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging and promising technology that is envisioned to overcome these challenges. It proposes to move packet processing from dedicated hardware middleboxes to software running on commodity servers. In NFV terminology, software middleboxes are referred to as Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs). It is a challenging problem to determine the required number and placement of VNFs that optimizes network operational costs and utilization, without violating service level agreements. We call this the VNF Orchestration Problem (VNF-OP) and provide an Integer Linear Programming (ILP) formulation with implementation in CPLEX. We also provide a dynamic programming based heuristic to solve larger instances of VNF-OP. Trace driven simulations on real-world network topologies demonstrate that the heuristic can provide solutions that are within 1.3 times of the optimal solution. Our experiments suggest that a VNF based approach can provide more than 4× reduction in the operational cost of a network.
doi:10.1109/tnsm.2016.2569020 fatcat:ih5oww7vg5grrjwgdgw6pwbiqq