On the Fly Orchestration of Unikernels: Tuning and Performance Evaluation of Virtual Infrastructure Managers

by   Pier Luigi Ventre, et al.

Network operators are facing significant challenges meeting the demand for more bandwidth, agile infrastructures, innovative services, while keeping costs low. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Cloud Computing are emerging as key trends of 5G network architectures, providing flexibility, fast instantiation times, support of Commercial Off The Shelf hardware and significant cost savings. NFV leverages Cloud Computing principles to move the data-plane network functions from expensive, closed and proprietary hardware to the so-called Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). In this paper we deal with the management of virtual computing resources (Unikernels) for the execution of VNFs. This functionality is performed by the Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) in the NFV MANagement and Orchestration (MANO) reference architecture. We discuss the instantiation process of virtual resources and propose a generic reference model, starting from the analysis of three open source VIMs, namely OpenStack, Nomad and OpenVIM. We improve the aforementioned VIMs introducing the support for special-purpose Unikernels and aiming at reducing the duration of the instantiation process. We evaluate some performance aspects of the VIMs, considering both stock and tuned versions. The VIM extensions and performance evaluation tools are available under a liberal open source licence.


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