Towards network softwarization : a modular approach for network control delegation

Hardik Soni 1
1 DIANA - Design, Implementation and Analysis of Networking Architectures
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée
Abstract : Network operators are facing great challenges in terms of cost and complexity in order to incorporate new communication technologies (e.g., 4G, 5G, fiber) and to keep up with increasing demands of new network services to address emerging use cases. Softwarizing the network operations using SoftwareDefined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) paradigms can simplify control and management of networks and provide network services in a cost effective way. SDN decouples control and data traffic processing in the network and centralizes the control traffic processing to simplify the network management, but may face scalability issues due to the same reasons. NFV decouples hardware and software of network appliances for cost effective operations of network services, but faces performance degradation issues due to data traffic processing in software. In order to address scalability and performance issues in SDN/NFV, we propose in the first part of the thesis, a modular network control and management architecture, in which the SDN controller delegates part of its responsibilities to specific network functions instantiated in network devices at strategic locations in the infrastructure. We have chosen to focus on a modern application using an IP multicast service for live video streaming applications (e.g., Facebook Live or Periscope) that illustrates well the SDN scalability problems. Our solution exploits benefits of the NFV paradigm to address the scalability issue of centralized SDN control plane by offloading processing of multicast service specific control traffic to Multicast Network Functions (MNFs) implemented in software and executed in NFV environment at the edge of the network. Our approach provides smart, flexible and scalable group management and leverages centralized control of SDN for Lazy Load Balance Multicast (L2BM) traffic engineering policy in software defined ISP networks. Evaluation of this approach is tricky, as real world SDN testbeds are costly and not easily available for the research community. So, we designed a tool that leverages the huge amount of resources available in the grid, to easily emulate such scenarios. Our tool, called DiG, takes into account the physical resources (memory, CPU, link capacity) constraints to provide a realistic evaluation environment with controlled conditions. Our NFV-based approach requires multiple application specific functions (e.g., MNFs) to control and manage the network devices and process the related data traffic in an independent way. Ideally, these specific functions should be implemented directly on hardware programmable routers. In this case, new routers must be able to execute multiple independently developed programs. Packet-level programming language P4, one of the promising SDN-enabling technologies, allows applications to program their data traffic processing on P4 compatible network devices. In the second part of the thesis, we propose a novel approach to deploy and execute multiple independently developed and compiled applications programs on the same network device. This solution, called P4Bricks, allows multiple applications to control and manage their data traffic, independently. P4Bricks merges programmable blocks (parsers/deparsers and packet processing pipelines) of P4 programs according to processing semantics (parallel or sequential) provided at the time of deployment.
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Hardik Soni. Towards network softwarization : a modular approach for network control delegation. Networking and Internet Architecture [cs.NI]. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4026⟩. ⟨tel-01867973v2⟩

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