Keio University, Graduate School of Media and Governance
MAUI Project
Ph.D. Dissertation

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NAME HORIBA, Katsuhiro
TITLE Container Based NFV Architecture

This dissertation proposes the Container-based "Network Function Virtualization (NFV)" Architecture. It realizes high-performance in packet processing while keeping the portability of network functions that is difficult to achieve by the conventional Virtual Machine (VM)-based NFV implementation.

NFV is a technology to virtualize the network functions so that they (Virtualized Network Functions, or VNF) can run on the general-purpose computer hardware instead of the traditional function-dedicate equipment. NFV is a pivotal technology to provide the network extensibility and flexibility to support more diverse and complicated network traffic expected in the future.On the other hand, the network quality required by the applications on the Internet becomes more diverse due to the expansion of the usage of them. To dynamically provide the optimized network functions for each application, a new concept called "Network Slicing" was proposed. The technology components to implement this concept includes NFV, Software Defined Networking (SDN), and cloud computing. However, the methodology of implementation using those components has not been yet clearly designed.

First, as an essential concept to implement the "Network Slicing," this research proposes a new idea of "Network as a Service" that dynamically provides the optimized network functions to the application, while a similar concept "Platform as a Service (PaaS)" dynamically provides the necessary resources to the application. This thesis discusses the importance of "portability" that can guarantee the optimized VNF allocation. Secondly, to make the "Network as a Service" into reality, I contributed to establish an industry-academic consortium to assess the feasibility of existing NFV products from the various vendors. The consortium played a vital role to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and analysis of each product as well as the wide-range of the experiment in the real network environment jointly among various vendors. The result identified the major problem in the traditional NFV that runs VNF on VM, the difficulty of pursuing the high-performance in the packet processing while keeping the portability of VNF. As a solution to this problem, this thesis proposes the "Container-based NFV Architecture." This architecture enables both high-performance in packet processing and portability at the same time.

In the proposed architecture, a VNF is a container, a cluster of processes in the Operating System. Also, the network I/O interface is abstracted by POSIX API to realize high-level interoperability and portability of VNF.

This architecture enabled to increase the packet processing performance of VNF by bypassing the bottleneck staying in the network stack of the general OSs. Lastly, the proposed "Container-Base NFV Architecture" is validated by a sample implementation of a VNF process using Netmap for VNF's network I/O. The result shows 2 to 5.5 times higher performance of the packet processing, comparing with the traditional implementation given a similar portability requirement.

This research identified the problems in realizing the concept of "Network Slicing" and proposed a new methodology to solve them. It will contribute to establishing a future network platform that can support diverse and advanced quality requirements. Then the platform will make a variety of applications such as auto-driving and remote-medical-service reality.

Keywords: NFV, Network Virtualization, telecom carriers, the Internet

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