University of Cambridge > > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > Running NFV Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware

Running NFV Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware

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Following the success of Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is poised to dramatically change the way network services are deployed. NFV advocates running chains of network functions (NFs) implemented as software on top of commodity hardware. The emerging 100-Gbps deployments will soon challenge the packet processing limits of commodity hardware. As an illustration, the available time to process a 64-byte packet at 100 Gbps is only 5 nanoseconds.

In this talk I will present our vision for running NFV service chains at the true speed of the underlying hardware. First, I will introduce SNF , a framework that synthesizes network function service chains by eliminating redundant I/O and repeated elements, while consolidating stateful cross layer packet operations across the chain. SNF uses graph composition and set theory to determine traffic classes handled by a service chain composed of multiple elements. It then synthesizes each traffic class using a minimal set of new elements that apply single-read-single-write and early-discard operations. Second, I will describe Metron, an NFV platform that achieves high resource utilization by jointly exploiting the underlying network and commodity servers’ resources. This synergy allows Metron to: (i) offload part of the packet processing logic to the network, (ii) use smart tagging to setup and exploit the affinity of traffic classes, and (iii) use tag-based hardware dispatching to carry out the remaining packet processing at the speed of the servers’ fastest cache(s), with zero intercore communication. With commodity hardware assistance, Metron deeply inspects traffic at 40 Gbps and realizes stateful network functions at the speed of a 100 GbE network card on a single server.


Dejan Kostic is a Chair Professor of Internetworking at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He is also associated with the Network Intelligence group at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. His research interests include Distributed Systems, Computer Networks, Operating Systems, and Mobile Computing.

Dejan Kostic obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Duke University. He spent the last two years of his studies and a brief stay as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and Information Technology from the University of Belgrade (ETF), Serbia. From 2006 until 2012 he worked as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the School of Computer and Communications Sciences at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), Switzerland. In 2010, he received a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Investigator Award. From 2012 until June 2014, he worked at the IMDEA Networks Institute (Madrid, Spain) as a Research Associate Professor with tenure. He is a Professor of Internetworking at KTH since April 2014. In 2018, he received a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Award.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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