IEEE Communications Magazine - June 2017 - page 18

IEEE Communications Magazine • June 2017
0163-6804/17/$25.00 © 2017 IEEE
In the context of NFV and agile service produc-
tion, virtualization of resources and SFC play a key
role in automating network services deployment.
Designing NFV management and orchestration
to provide dynamic SFC as a service is addressed
by the proposed NFV orchestration framework.
The framework is designed to facilitate the devel-
opment of NFV architecture components with
a focus on SFC orchestration, placement algo-
rithms, required monitoring, and network ser-
vices stitching. The proposed framework can be
used to compare placement algorithms as well
as develop and evaluate other service function
chaining solutions using a variety of SDN con-
trollers to interact with heterogeneous underlying
networking technologies. This article presents the
SFC orchestration framework, an implementation,
and a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of its
components in an experimental environment.
The network functions virtualization (NFV)
concept was first proposed by the European Tele-
communication Standards Institute (ETSI) as a way
to reduce cost and accelerate service deployment
for network operators [1]. NFV transforms tradi-
tional networking by decoupling network func-
tions from hardware using virtualization and cloud
technologies and by abstracting network services
into software known as virtualized network func-
tions (VNFs) running on basic hardware.
To facilitate the dynamic provisioning and
establishment of network services chains, NFV
is combined with software defined networking
(SDN) and clouds to automatically deploy VNFs
composing complex network services and to
steer traffic across the VNFs. The dynamic estab-
lishment of network services is achieved by an
orchestrator capable of deploying VNFs in shared
hosting infrastructures and combining them with
other services, including, physical network func-
tions (PNFs) to produce complex network services
to support applications and tenants. Designing
such an orchestrator remains challenging, espe-
cially if the objective is to ensure the dynamic
establishment of dedicated network connectivity
topologies and to reduce network services’ pro-
duction, deployment, and activation times. Some
of the most important NFV orchestration chal-
lenges [2, 3] to address and overcome include
availability of:
• Harmonized service abstraction and descrip-
tion languages for NFV and SDN require-
• Smart, scalable, and fast VNF placement
algorithms meeting service level agreement
(SLA), performance, and fault recovery
• Interfaces and abstraction layers that handle
distributed and heterogeneous cloud and
SDN technologies
• Automated end-to-end service production for
agile NFV services
To address these challenges, and foster imple-
mentation and evaluation of NFV architecture
components, we propose an End-to-End SFC
Orchestration Framework (ETSO) compliant with
the ETSI NFV-MANO (management and orches-
tration) specification [1]. The proposed frame-
work is extensible and modular, and relies on the
plugin concept for easy modification by third par-
ties (applications, service providers, and users)
and facilitating interfacing and communications
with heterogeneous technologies. The framework
kernel is the orchestrator with its northbound and
southbound interfaces to interact with applica-
tions and networking technologies, respectively.
To deal with the network service description, we
have extended the Topology and Orchestration
Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA)
standard data model
, which describes service
templates for cloud applications to embed net-
work resources and services. Another key com-
ponent is the smart placement module invoked
by the orchestrator for optimal placement of net-
work services chains. We show how the frame-
work addresses the cited challenges and how it
can be used to develop and evaluate solutions for
NFV architectures in a real environment. Before
we present the proposed framework, we review
the current state of the art on NFV orchestrators.
verview of
NFV orchestration has received plenty of atten-
tion from industry and academia so far, but addi-
tional effort is required to provide comprehensive
NFV MANO solutions meeting service and net-
work providers’ needs. For example the industrial
project Weaver, a VNF manager for multi-domain
and multi-vendor VNFs orchestration and lifecy-
cle management, proposed by Openet,
not consider VNF chaining. Weaver does not use
any SDN technology for flow management either
and supports only the OpenStack virtualized infra-
structure manager (VIM).
NFV Orchestration Framework
Addressing SFC Challenges
Marouen Mechtri, Chaima Ghribi, Oussama Soualah, and Djamal Zeghlache
In the context of NFV and
agile service production,
virtualization of resources
and SFC play a key role
in automating network
services deployment.
Designing NFV manage-
ment and orchestration to
provide dynamic SFC as
a service is addressed by
the proposed NFV orches-
tration framework. The
framework is designed to
facilitate the development
of NFV architecture com-
ponents with a focus on
SFC orchestration, place-
ment algorithms, required
monitoring, and network
services stitching.
Marouen Mechtri is with Orange Labs; Chaima Ghribi , Oussama Soualah, andDjamal Zeghlache are with Telecom SudParis and Université Paris-Saclay.
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