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New Paper in IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management 14(1), March 2017

Multi-Provider Service Chain Embedding with Nestor


D. Dietrich, A. Abujoda, A. Rizk, and P. Papadimitriou, Multi-Provider Service Chain Embedding with Nestor, IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management, 14(1), March 2017

DOI: 10.1109/TNSM.2017.2654681


Network function (NF) virtualization decouples NFs from the underlying middlebox hardware and promotes their deployment on virtualized network infrastructures. This essentially paves the way for the migration of NFs into clouds (i.e., NF-as-a-Service), achieving a drastic reduction of middlebox investment and operational costs for enterprises. In this context, service chains (expressing middlebox policies in the enterprise network) should be mapped onto datacenter networks, ensuring correctness, resource efficiency, as well as compliance with the provider's policy. The network service embedding (NSE) problem is further exacerbated by two challenging aspects: 1) traffic scaling caused by certain NFs (e.g., caches and WAN optimizers) and 2) NF location dependencies. Traffic scaling requires resource reservations different from the ones specified in the service chain, whereas NF location dependencies, in conjunction with the limited geographic footprint of NF providers (NFPs), raise the need for NSE across multiple NFPs. In this paper, we present a holistic solution to the multi-provider NSE problem. We decompose NSE into: 1) NF-graph partitioning performed by a centralized coordinator and 2) NF-subgraph mapping onto datacenter networks. We present linear programming formulations to derive near-optimal solutions for both problems. We address the challenging aspect of traffic scaling by introducing a new service model that supports demand transformations. We also define topology abstractions for NF-graph partitioning. Furthermore, we discuss the steps required to embed service chains across multiple NFPs, using our NSE orchestrator (Nestor). We perform an evaluation study of multi-provider NSE with emphasis on NF-graph partitioning optimizations tailored to the client and NFPs. Our evaluation results further uncover significant savings in terms of service cost and resource consumption due to the demand transformations.