Virtual function placement and traffic steering in flexible and dynamic software defined networks

The integration of network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networks (SDN) seeks to create a more flexible and dynamic software-based network environment. The line between entities involved in forwarding and those involved in more complex middle box functionality in the network is blurred by the use of high-performance virtualized platforms capable of performing these functions. A key problem is how and where network functions should be placed in the network and how traffic is routed through them.

An efficient placement and appropriate routing increases system capacity while also minimizing the delay seen by flows. In this paper, we formulate the problem of network function placement and routing as a mixed integer linear programming problem. This formulation not only determines the placement of services and routing of the flows, but also seeks to minimize the resource utilization. We develop heuristics to solve the problem incrementally, allowing us to support a large number of flows and to solve the problem for incoming flows without impacting existing flows.

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