Towards lightweight, low-latency network function virtualisation at the network edge

Cziva, Richard (2018) Towards lightweight, low-latency network function virtualisation at the network edge. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Communication networks are witnessing a dramatic growth in the number of connected mobile devices, sensors and the Internet of Everything (IoE) equipment, which have been estimated to exceed 50 billion by 2020, generating zettabytes of traffic each year. In addition, networks are stressed to serve the increased capabilities of the mobile devices (e.g., HD cameras) and to fulfil the users' desire for always-on, multimedia-oriented, and low-latency connectivity.

To cope with these challenges, service providers are exploiting softwarised, cost-effective, and flexible service provisioning, known as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). At the same time, future networks are aiming to push services to the edge of the network, to close physical proximity from the users, which has the potential to reduce end-to-end latency, while increasing the flexibility and agility of allocating resources. However, the heavy footprint of today's NFV platforms and their lack of dynamic, latency-optimal orchestration prevents them from being used at the edge of the network.

In this thesis, the opportunities of bringing NFV to the network edge are identified. As a concrete solution, the thesis presents Glasgow Network Functions (GNF), a container-based NFV framework that allocates and dynamically orchestrates lightweight virtual network functions (vNFs) at the edge of the network, providing low-latency network services (e.g., security functions or content caches) to users. The thesis presents a powerful formalisation for the latency-optimal placement of edge vNFs and provides an exact solution using Integer Linear Programming, along with a placement scheduler that relies on Optimal Stopping Theory to efficiently re-calculate the placement following roaming users and temporal changes in latency characteristics.

The results of this work demonstrate that GNF's real-world vNF examples can be created and hosted on a variety of hosting devices, including VMs from public clouds and low-cost edge devices typically found at the customer's premises. The results also show that GNF can carefully manage the placement of vNFs to provide low-latency guarantees, while minimising the number of vNF migrations required by the operators to keep the placement latency-optimal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: computer networks, software-defined networking, network function virtualisation, network edge.
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Supervisor's Name: Pezaros, Dr. Dimitrios
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Richard Cziva
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30758
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 13:11
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2018 08:15

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