Special Issue "Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV)"

A special issue of Future Internet (ISSN 1999-5903).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Symeon Papavassiliou
Website
Guest Editor
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Polytechniou 9, Athens, 15780, Greece
Interests: complex networks; wireless systems; ad hoc and sensor networks; software-defined radios and software-defined networks; online social networks; network modeling and optimization; network economics; cyber physical systems; Internet of Things; future internet research experimentation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Next generation communication networks are expected to be implemented on virtualized infrastructures, where network functions are deployed on virtual machines instead of current proprietary equipment. Moving away from an architecture based on multitude of black boxes equipped with specialized network hardware and pre-loaded with specialized software, to a new architecture consisting of a "white box" running a multitude of specialized network software appears to be the dominant choice and direction in current and future communication and computing infrastructures. This is required to support 5G vision as well, calling for a new network architecture which directs flexible, dynamically configurable network elements to provide on-demand customized services to traffic demands which may be dynamic in time and space, while supporting heterogeneity and diversity.

Towards realizing such a technological paradigm shift Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) have been proven two promising technologies in how we manage future networks. With their enormous benefits which include reducing the operational cost, better resources utilization and easier management requirements, the adoption of such technologies is gaining significant momentum. Increasing network resource utilization and decreasing operational costs have been traditionally among the key objectives in the era of network management and control. NFV allows even further flexibility by migrating network functions from dedicated hardware to virtual machines running on commodity hardware. SDN has emerged as a key driver for innovation and change in networking as several market and technology factors converge. Such factors include the growth of cloud applications and services across enterprise and cloud providers, and the focus on converged infrastructures (compute/storage/network) and on the software-defined datacenters.

Though significant research results and several deployments have occurred and realized over the last few years focusing on the NFV and SDN technologies, several issues - both of theoretical and practical importance - remain still open. For example, optimizing and guaranteeing the performance of such virtualized systems is still a challenging problem. Leveraging semantic technologies towards interoperability and model-based software automation in the context of NFV technology, allows to efficiently deal with the current lack of a common understanding in support of development, deployment and operation tasks, such as orchestration and service assurance across NFV and SDNs. As 5G promises a paradigm shift in telecommunication systems and services, focusing not only on providing high speed connections with higher data rates, but also serving large number of devices/users and flows in large-scale SDNs spanning thousands of switches and routers over large geographic areas, advancements and developments in protocols, application design, and architecture specification for achieving scalability in SDN become of high relevance and criticality.

This special issue is soliciting conceptual, theoretical and experimental contributions, discussing and treating challenges, state-of-the-art, and solutions to a set of currently unresolved key questions including, but not limited to, the following themes related to NFV and SDN technologies: architecture, infrastructure, performance analysis, optimization, orchestration, applications, interoperability, scalability, security, business and techno-economic aspects, etc.

Prof. Dr. Symeon Papavassiliou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Future Internet is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • SDN architectures and design
  • NFV architectures and design
  • SDN-NFV integration
  • SDN-NFV orchestration
  • Optimizing NFV infrastructures including hardware acceleration technologies
  • Network Slicing and hierarchical controllers
  • Communication infrastructure enabled by SDN and NFV including RAN, evolution to 5G, public, private and hybrid clouds
  • Data/control plane performance, interoperability and scalability studies
  • Application of machine learning and big data analytics to manage virtualized networks
  • Performance analysis and optimization
  • Resource dimensioning and optimization, traffic offloading
  • SDN-NFV support for Internet of Things (IoT)
  • SDN-NFV support for big data computing
  • Radio Access network virtualization
  • Edge and fog computing
  • Semantic technologies and ontologies for SDN/NFV
  • Network service chaining and service orchestration
  • Wireless virtualization
  • SDN, NFV and MEC architectures with QoS/QoE support for 5G deployment
  • Business considerations and techno-economic aspects of virtualized networks.
  • Security issues and anomaly detection in SDN deployments  
  • Scalability issues in SDN deployments

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
Future Internet 2020, 12(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi12010007 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The role of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) have been instrumental in realizing the transition and vision “from black boxes to a white box towards facilitating 5G network architectures”. Though significant research results and several deployments have occurred and [...] Read more.
The role of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) have been instrumental in realizing the transition and vision “from black boxes to a white box towards facilitating 5G network architectures”. Though significant research results and several deployments have occurred and realized over the last few years focusing on the NFV and SDN technologies, several issues—both of theoretical and practical importance—remain still open. Accordingly, the papers of this special issue are significant contributions samples within the general ecosystem highlighted above, ranging from SDN and NFV architectures and implementations, to SDN-NFV integration and orchestration approaches, while considering issues associated with optimization, network management and security aspects. In particular, a total of nine excellent articles (one review and eight original research articles) have been accepted, following a rigorous review process, and addressing many of the aforementioned challenges and beyond. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Next Generation Platform as A Service: Composition and Deployment of Platforms and Services
Future Internet 2019, 11(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11050119 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The emergence of widespread cloudification and virtualisation promises increased flexibility, scalability, and programmability for the deployment of services by Vertical Service Providers (VSPs). This cloudification also improves service and network management, reducing the Capital and Operational Expenses (CAPEX, OPEX). A truly cloud-native approach [...] Read more.
The emergence of widespread cloudification and virtualisation promises increased flexibility, scalability, and programmability for the deployment of services by Vertical Service Providers (VSPs). This cloudification also improves service and network management, reducing the Capital and Operational Expenses (CAPEX, OPEX). A truly cloud-native approach is essential, since 5G will provide a diverse range of services - many requiring stringent performance guarantees while maximising flexibility and agility despite the technological diversity. This paper proposes a workflow based on the principles of build-to-order, Build-Ship-Run, and automation; following the Next Generation Platform as a Service (NGPaaS) vision. Through the concept of Reusable Functional Blocks (RFBs), an enhancement to Virtual Network Functions, this methodology allows a VSP to deploy and manage platforms and services, agnostic to the underlying technologies, protocols, and APIs. To validate the proposed workflow, a use case is also presented herein, which illustrates both the deployment of the underlying platform by the Telco operator and of the services that run on top of it. In this use case, the NGPaaS operator facilitates a VSP to provide Virtual Network Function as a Service (VNFaaS) capabilities for its end customers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intelligent Dynamic Data Offloading in a Competitive Mobile Edge Computing Market
Future Internet 2019, 11(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11050118 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), capable of dynamically managing and satisfying the end-users computing demands, have emerged as key enabling technologies of 5G networks. In this paper, the joint problem of MEC server selection by the end-users and their [...] Read more.
Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), capable of dynamically managing and satisfying the end-users computing demands, have emerged as key enabling technologies of 5G networks. In this paper, the joint problem of MEC server selection by the end-users and their optimal data offloading, as well as the optimal price setting by the MEC servers is studied in a multiple MEC servers and multiple end-users environment. The flexibility and programmability offered by the SDN technology enables the realistic implementation of the proposed framework. Initially, an SDN controller executes a reinforcement learning framework based on the theory of stochastic learning automata towards enabling the end-users to select a MEC server to offload their data. The discount offered by the MEC server, its congestion and its penetration in terms of serving end-users’ computing tasks, and its announced pricing for its computing services are considered in the overall MEC selection process. To determine the end-users’ data offloading portion to the selected MEC server, a non-cooperative game among the end-users of each server is formulated and the existence and uniqueness of the corresponding Nash Equilibrium is shown. An optimization problem of maximizing the MEC servers’ profit is formulated and solved to determine the MEC servers’ optimal pricing with respect to their offered computing services and the received offloaded data. To realize the proposed framework, an iterative and low-complexity algorithm is introduced and designed. The performance of the proposed approach was evaluated through modeling and simulation under several scenarios, with both homogeneous and heterogeneous end-users. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Robust Security Architecture for SDN-Based 5G Networks
Future Internet 2019, 11(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11040085 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Due to its significant advantage in high data rate, reduced latency and massive device connectivity, the 5G network plays a vital role in today’s commercial telecommunications networks. However, the 5G network also faces some [...] Read more.
5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Due to its significant advantage in high data rate, reduced latency and massive device connectivity, the 5G network plays a vital role in today’s commercial telecommunications networks. However, the 5G network also faces some challenges when used in practice. This is because it consists of various diverse ingredients, termed heterogeneity. The heterogeneity of the 5G network has two consequences: first, it prevents us to use this technology in a uniform way, preventing the wide use of 5G technology; second, it complicates the structure of the 5G network, making it hard to monitor what is going on in a 5G network. To break through this limitation, researchers have worked in this field and design their own protocol, in which software-defined networking (SDN) is one key design concept. By separating control and data plane, SDN can make the 5G network functional and programmable, such that we can handle the heterogeneity in traditional 5G networks. In light of this, we say that SDN-5G network is attractive, but its advantages are not free. The intelligence centralization used in SDN has its own drawbacks when it comes to security. To break through this limitation, we propose a robust security architecture for SDN-based 5G Networks. To find the illegal request from malicious attackers, we add extra cryptographic authentication, termed synchronize secret. The basic idea of our scheme is leveraging preload secrets to differ attacks from regular network communications. The simulation results indicate that our work can completely handle the security problem from SDN with a low disconnect rate of 0.01%, which is much better than that from state of the art. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness of Segment Routing Technology in Reducing the Bandwidth and Cloud Resources Provisioning Times in Network Function Virtualization Architectures
Future Internet 2019, 11(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11030071 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Network Function Virtualization is a new technology allowing for a elastic cloud and bandwidth resource allocation. The technology requires an orchestrator whose role is the service and resource orchestration. It receives service requests, each one characterized by a Service Function Chain, which is [...] Read more.
Network Function Virtualization is a new technology allowing for a elastic cloud and bandwidth resource allocation. The technology requires an orchestrator whose role is the service and resource orchestration. It receives service requests, each one characterized by a Service Function Chain, which is a set of service functions to be executed according to a given order. It implements an algorithm for deciding where both to allocate the cloud and bandwidth resources and to route the SFCs. In a traditional orchestration algorithm, the orchestrator has a detailed knowledge of the cloud and network infrastructures and that can lead to high computational complexity of the SFC Routing and Cloud and Bandwidth resource Allocation (SRCBA) algorithm. In this paper, we propose and evaluate the effectiveness of a scalable orchestration architecture inherited by the one proposed within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and based on the functional separation of an NFV orchestrator in Resource Orchestrator (RO) and Network Service Orchestrator (NSO). Each cloud domain is equipped with an RO whose task is to provide a simple and abstract representation of the cloud infrastructure. These representations are notified of the NSO that can apply a simplified and less complex SRCBA algorithm. In addition, we show how the segment routing technology can help to simplify the SFC routing by means of an effective addressing of the service functions. The scalable orchestration solution has been investigated and compared to the one of a traditional orchestrator in some network scenarios and varying the number of cloud domains. We have verified that the execution time of the SRCBA algorithm can be drastically reduced without degrading the performance in terms of cloud and bandwidth resource costs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
VNF Placement Optimization at the Edge and Cloud
Future Internet 2019, 11(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11030069 - 09 Mar 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has revolutionized the way network services are offered to end users. Individual network functions are decoupled from expensive and dedicated middleboxes and are now provided as software-based virtualized entities called Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs). NFV is often complemented with [...] Read more.
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has revolutionized the way network services are offered to end users. Individual network functions are decoupled from expensive and dedicated middleboxes and are now provided as software-based virtualized entities called Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs). NFV is often complemented with the Cloud Computing paradigm to provide networking functions to enterprise customers and end-users remote from their premises. NFV along with Cloud Computing has also started to be seen in Internet of Things (IoT) platforms as a means to provide networking functions to the IoT traffic. The intermix of IoT, NFV, and Cloud technologies, however, is still in its infancy creating a rich and open future research area. To this end, in this paper, we propose a novel approach to facilitate the placement and deployment of service chained VNFs in a network cloud infrastructure that can be extended using the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) infrastructure for accommodating mission critical and delay sensitive traffic. Our aim is to minimize the end-to-end communication delay while keeping the overall deployment cost to minimum. Results reveal that the proposed approach can significantly reduce the delay experienced, while satisfying the Service Providers’ goal of low deployment costs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Autonomic Network Management and Cross-Layer Optimization in Software Defined Radio Environments
Future Internet 2019, 11(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11020037 - 03 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The demand for Autonomic Network Management (ANM) and optimization is as intense as ever, even though significant research has been devoted towards this direction. This paper addresses such need in Software Defined (SDR) based Cognitive Radio Networks (CRNs). We propose a new framework [...] Read more.
The demand for Autonomic Network Management (ANM) and optimization is as intense as ever, even though significant research has been devoted towards this direction. This paper addresses such need in Software Defined (SDR) based Cognitive Radio Networks (CRNs). We propose a new framework for ANM and network reconfiguration combining Software Defined Networks (SDN) with SDR via Network Function Virtualization (NFV) enabled Virtual Utility Functions (VUFs). This is the first approach combining ANM with SDR and SDN via NFV, demonstrating how these state-of-the-art technologies can be effectively combined to achieve reconfiguration flexibility, improved performance and efficient use of available resources. In order to show the feasibility of the proposed framework, we implemented its main functionalities in a cross-layer resource allocation mechanism for CRNs over real SDR testbeds provided by the Orchestration and Reconfiguration Control Architecture (ORCA) EU project. We demonstrate the efficacy of our framework, and based on the obtained results, we identify aspects that can be further investigated for improving the applicability and increasing performance of our broader framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
v-Mapper: An Application-Aware Resource Consolidation Scheme for Cloud Data Centers
Future Internet 2018, 10(9), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi10090090 - 15 Sep 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Cloud computing systems are popular in computing industry for their ease of use and wide range of applications. These systems offer services that can be used over the Internet. Due to their wide popularity and usage, cloud computing systems and their services often [...] Read more.
Cloud computing systems are popular in computing industry for their ease of use and wide range of applications. These systems offer services that can be used over the Internet. Due to their wide popularity and usage, cloud computing systems and their services often face issues resource management related challenges. In this paper, we present v-Mapper, a resource consolidation scheme which implements network resource management concepts through software-defined networking (SDN) control features. The paper makes three major contributions: (1) We propose a virtual machine (VM) placement scheme that can effectively mitigate the VM placement issues for data-intensive applications; (2) We propose a validation scheme that will ensure that a cloud service is entertained only if there are sufficient resources available for its execution and (3) We present a scheduling policy that aims to eliminate network load constraints. We tested our scheme with other techniques in terms of average task processing time, service delay and bandwidth usage. Our results demonstrate that v-Mapper outperforms other techniques and delivers significant improvement in system’s performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Tiered Control Plane Model for Service Function Chaining Isolation
Future Internet 2018, 10(6), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi10060046 - 04 Jun 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This article presents an architecture for encryption automation in interconnected Network Function Virtualization (NFV) domains. Current NFV implementations are designed for deployment within trusted domains, where overlay networks with static trusted links are utilized for enabling network security. Nevertheless, within a Service Function [...] Read more.
This article presents an architecture for encryption automation in interconnected Network Function Virtualization (NFV) domains. Current NFV implementations are designed for deployment within trusted domains, where overlay networks with static trusted links are utilized for enabling network security. Nevertheless, within a Service Function Chain (SFC), Virtual Network Function (VNF) flows cannot be isolated and end-to-end encrypted because each VNF requires direct access to the overall SFC data-flow. This restricts both end-users and Service Providers from enabling end-to-end security, and in extended VNF isolation within the SFC data traffic. Encrypting data flows on a per-flow basis results in an extensive amount of secure tunnels, which cannot scale efficiently in manual configurations. Additionally, creating secure data plane tunnels between NFV providers requires secure exchange of key parameters, and the establishment of an east–west control plane protocol. In this article, we present an architecture focusing on these two problems, investigating how overlay networks can be created, isolated, and secured dynamically. Accordingly, we propose an architecture for automated establishment of encrypted tunnels in NFV, which introduces a novel, tiered east–west communication channel between network controllers in a multi-domain environment. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Systematic Literature Review on Military Software Defined Networks
Future Internet 2018, 10(9), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi10090088 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an evolving network architecture paradigm that focuses on the separation of control and data planes. SDN receives increasing attention both from academia and industry, across a multitude of application domains. In this article, we examine the current state [...] Read more.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an evolving network architecture paradigm that focuses on the separation of control and data planes. SDN receives increasing attention both from academia and industry, across a multitude of application domains. In this article, we examine the current state of obtained knowledge on military SDN by conducting a systematic literature review (SLR). Through this work, we seek to evaluate the current state of the art in terms of research tracks, publications, methods, trends, and most active research areas. Accordingly, we utilize these findings for consolidating the areas of past and current research on the examined application domain, and propose directions for future research. Full article
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