A Generic and Efficient Local Service Function Chaining Framework for User VM-Dedicated Micro-VNFs


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E100-B    No.11    pp.2017-2026
Publication Date: 2017/11/01
Publicized: 2017/05/16
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.2016NNP0009
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Network Virtualization, Network Softwarization, and Fusion Platform of Computing and Networking)
SDN,  NFV,  VNF,  service function chaining,  DPDK,  

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The heart of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is both the softwarization of existing network middleboxes as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and the Service Function Chaining (SFC), also known as Service Chaining of them. Most existing VNFs are realized as VM-based general purpose appliances and shared by multiple user VMs. However, the cover range of VNF can be extended to directly reinforce network functionality of user VMs by introducing VM-specific VNFs. In this study, we propose micro-VNFs (µVNFs) and a VM-specific service chaining framework (vNFChain). Micro-VNFs are VM-specific lightweight VNFs that directly attach to a user VM, and can support not only traditional L2-L4 protocols but also stateful custom L7 protocols. The vNFChain framework constructs local service chains of µVNFs and transparently attaches the chain to the VM. Importantly, our framework achieves zero touch configuration for user VMs as well as no modification for existing system environments, such as virtual switch, hypervisor, and OS. In this paper, we describe architectural design and implementation of the framework. In addition, we evaluate the proposed approach in terms of throughput and CPU usage by comparing it with a DPDK-enabled VM-based µVNF model.