Optimizing NFV Chain Deployment Through Minimizing The Cost Of Virtual Switching

Yaniv Saar Nokia Bell Labs, Israel
Danny Raz Nokia and Technion, Israel
Marcelo Caggiani Luizelli Federal University of Pampa, Brazil


Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a novel paradigm that enables flexible and scalable implementation of network services on cloud infrastructure. A key factor in the success of NFV is the ability to dynamically allocate physical resources according to the demand. This is particularly important when dealing with the data plane since additional resources are required in order to support the virtual switching of the packets between the Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). The exact amount of these resources depends on the way service chains are deployed and the amount of network traffic being handled. Thus, orchestrating service chains that require high traffic throughput is a very complex task and most existing solutions either concentrate on handcrafted tuning of the servers to achieve the needed performance level, or present theoretical placement functions that assume that the switching cost is part of the input. In this work, we bridge this gap by presenting a deployment algorithm for service chains that optimizes performance by minimizing the actual cost of virtual switching. The results are based on extensive measurements of the actual switching cost and the performance of service chains in a realistic NFV environment. Our evaluation indicates that this new algorithm significantly reduces virtual switching resource utilization when compared to the de-facto standard placement in OpenStack/Nova-allowing a much higher acceptance ratio of network services. I. Introduction Despite the ever-growing popularity of Network Function Virtualization (NFV), we are still far away from having large scale fully operational NFV networks. One of the main obstacles on this path is the performance of the network functions in the virtual environment. The hardware middleboxes that are in use by network operators today are specifically designed to provide the needed high performance (and high reliability), but getting the same level of performance from commercially off-the-shelf hardware is much more challenging. Hardware accelerators (such as DPDK and SR-IOV) were developed specifically for this purpose, yet the deployment of high performance service chains in a virtual environment still remains a complex handcrafted process (e.g., as indicated by the reports in [1] and [2]).

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