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Network Function Virtualization

The information below is for a proposed recharter. The current approved charter is version 01
Document Charter Network Function Virtualization RG (nfvrg)
Title Network Function Virtualization
Last updated 2016-07-08
State Approved
RG State Concluded
Send notices to (None)



Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a key emerging area for
network operators, hardware and software vendors, cloud service
providers, and in general network practitioners and researchers. This
area requires exploring new directions and working collaboratively on
how to create network services that utilize a virtualized
infrastructure. Network functions that are traditionally implemented
in dedicated hardware appliances will need to be decomposed and
executed in software elements running on cloud-based infrastructures.
One essential goal of this new approach is to reduce capital and
operating expenditures for future deployments for networks and
associated services. Another important goal is for the network
operators to be able to offer value added cloud services to their
customers. Finally, new business models will open for the provision of
network services.

The technologies enabling the virtualization of network functions
(NFs) are currently in an early stage, and they need researchers to
develop new architectures, systems, and software, and to explore
trade-offs and possibilities for leveraging virtualized infrastructure
to provide support for network functions. The Network Function
Virtualization Research Group (NFVRG) will bring together researchers
and grow the community around the world in both academia and industry
to explore this new research area. Beyond the direct activity through
the IRTF collaboration tools it will organize research group meetings
and workshops at premier conferences (such as IEEE ICC, IEEE GLOBECOM)
and inviting special issues in well-known publications.

The NFVRG will focus on research problems associated with NFV-related
topics and on bringing a research community together that can jointly
address them, concentrating on problems that relate not just to
networking but also to computing and storage aspects in such
environments. It is hoped that the outcome of the research will
benefit research efforts in other groups within the IRTF (and
especially the SDNRG) and standardization activities of IETF WGs (like
the ones going in SFC). Specific results can also spawn activities via
IRTF & IETF BoF meetings and/or provide useful input to other related
efforts in the ETSI NFV ISG or other standards bodies.

Areas of Interest

  • New network architectures based on virtualized network functions
    (VNFs), including NF building from virtualized components

  • NFV challenges in various cloud architectures (e.g., VNF intra- and
    inter-cloud mobility)

  • Network and service function chaining: architecture and
    implementation (e.g., automation of VNF chain building, chaining of
    VNFs and non-virtual NFs)

  • Autonomous orchestration and optimization

  • Requirements and mechanisms to ensure reliable virtual network
    functions and services, in particular in what relates to failure
    characterization and representation

  • New operational models associated with NFV

  • Infrastructure and NF description and programming (languages, APIs,
    frameworks for combined processing, network and storage programming,
    policy languages, etc.)

  • Coexistence with non-virtualized infrastructure and services

  • Virtualized network economics and business modeling

  • Security, trust and service verification

  • Performance modeling

  • Real-time big data analytics and data-centric management of
    virtualized infrastructure

  • New application domains enabled by virtualized infrastructure and
    services, including use cases across heterogeneous infrastructures
    (wired, optical, cellular, satellite)

  • End to end and system-wide optimization of compute, storage, network
    and energy efficiency

  • Exploration of infrastructure and service abstractions enabled by

  • Real-time and novel monitoring techniques (for performance
    guarantees, error and anomaly detection, smarter auto-scaling and
    optimization in general, etc.)

The group will report progress through its wiki and presentations at
IETF and IRTF meetings. Relevant information and research developed by
the research group will be submitted for publication as Experimental
or Informational RFCs.