Automated Network Service Scaling in NFV: Concepts, Mechanisms and Scaling Workflow

by   Oscar Adamuz-Hinojosa, et al.

Next-generation systems are anticipated to be digital platforms supporting innovative services with rapidly changing traffic patterns. To cope with this dynamicity in a cost-efficient manner, operators need advanced service management capabilities such as those provided by NFV. NFV enables operators to scale network services with higher granularity and agility than today. For this end, automation is key. In search of this automation, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has defined a reference NFV framework that make use of model-driven templates called Network Service Descriptors (NSDs) to operate network services through their lifecycle. For the scaling operation, an NSD defines a discrete set of instantiation levels among which a network service instance can be resized throughout its lifecycle. Thus, the design of these levels is key for ensuring an effective scaling. In this article, we provide an overview of the automation of the network service scaling operation in NFV, addressing the options and boundaries introduced by ETSI normative specifications. We start by providing a description of the NSD structure, focusing on how instantiation levels are constructed. For illustrative purposes, we propose an NSD for a representative NS. This NSD includes different instantiation levels that enable different ways to automatically scale this NS. Then, we show the different scaling procedures the NFV framework has available, and how it may automate their triggering. Finally, we propose an ETSI-compliant workflow to describe in detail a representative scaling procedure. This workflow clarifies the interactions and information exchanges between the functional blocks in the NFV framework when performing the scaling operation.


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