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Heterogeneous architectures applied to network functions virtualization infrastructures

Abstract

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a paradigm that promotes important innovation on the Internet and on computer networks in general. By decoupling network functions from dedicated devices, and instead implementing them as Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) on General-Purpose Processors (GPPs), NFV offers greater flexibility and reductions in capital and operational expenses. However, to enable its widespread adoption in large scale networks as well, it is important to offer the required performance, which is not always feasible in GPPs. Heterogeneous architectures, integrating devices such as GPPs and Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) may become a solution, combining high performance and flexibility through the execution, on FPGAs, of those VNF Components (VNFCs) that take greater advantage of these devices. The adoption of FPGAs in NFV finds, however, issues on the development of VNFCs that use these devices efficiently, especially in heterogeneous infrastructures equipped with FPGAs of different capabilities and sizes. Moreover, the management of these infrastructures is typically not aware of the heterogeneous resources in each node or of the performance attained by each VNFC in each of these varied devices. Thus, this project proposes addressing these problems through: i) design methodologies based on high-level synthesis and design space exploration to quickly generate multiple VNFC configurations for heterogeneous devices; and ii) the development of scalable heuristics for the placement of VNFCs in heterogeneous NFV infrastructures. (AU)

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