Abstract

Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) have emerged as the most promising candidates for improving network function and protocol programmability and dynamic adjustment of network resources. On the one hand, SDN is responsible for providing an abstraction of network resources through well-defined application programming interfaces. This abstraction enables SDN to perform network virtualization, that is, to slice the physical infrastructure and create multiple coexisting application-specific virtual tenant networks (VTNs) with specific quality-of-service and service-level-agreement requirements, independent of the underlying optical transport technology and network protocols. On the other hand, the notion of NFV relates to deploying network functions that are typically deployed in specialized and dedicated hardware, as software instances [called virtual network functions (VNFs)] running on commodity servers (e.g., in data centers) through software virtualization techniques. Despite all the attention that has been given to virtualizing IP functions (e.g., firewall; authentication, authorization, and accounting) or Long-Term Evolution control functions (e.g., mobility management entity, serving gateway, and packet data network gateway), some transport control functions can also be virtualized and moved to the cloud as a VNF. In this work we propose virtualizing the tenant SDN control functions of a VTN and moving them into the cloud. The control of a VTN is a key requirement associated with network virtualization, since it allows the dynamic programming (i.e., direct control and configuration) of the virtual resources allocated to the VTN. We experimentally assess and evaluate the first SDN/NFV orchestration architecture in a multipartner testbed to dynamically deploy independent SDN controller instances for each instantiated VTN and to provide the required connectivity within minutes.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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