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Title: Towards lightweight, low-latency network function virtualisation at the network edge
Author: Cziva, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4215
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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Communication networks are witnessing a dramatic growth in the number of connected mobile devices, sensors and the Internet of Everything (IoE) equipment, which have been estimated to exceed 50 billion by 2020, generating zettabytes of traffic each year. In addition, networks are stressed to serve the increased capabilities of the mobile devices (e.g., HD cameras) and to fulfil the users' desire for always-on, multimedia-oriented, and low-latency connectivity. To cope with these challenges, service providers are exploiting softwarised, cost-effective, and flexible service provisioning, known as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). At the same time, future networks are aiming to push services to the edge of the network, to close physical proximity from the users, which has the potential to reduce end-to-end latency, while increasing the flexibility and agility of allocating resources. However, the heavy footprint of today's NFV platforms and their lack of dynamic, latency-optimal orchestration prevents them from being used at the edge of the network. In this thesis, the opportunities of bringing NFV to the network edge are identified. As a concrete solution, the thesis presents Glasgow Network Functions (GNF), a container-based NFV framework that allocates and dynamically orchestrates lightweight virtual network functions (vNFs) at the edge of the network, providing low-latency network services (e.g., security functions or content caches) to users. The thesis presents a powerful formalisation for the latency-optimal placement of edge vNFs and provides an exact solution using Integer Linear Programming, along with a placement scheduler that relies on Optimal Stopping Theory to efficiently re-calculate the placement following roaming users and temporal changes in latency characteristics. The results of this work demonstrate that GNF's real-world vNF examples can be created and hosted on a variety of hosting devices, including VMs from public clouds and low-cost edge devices typically found at the customer's premises. The results also show that GNF can carefully manage the placement of vNFs to provide low-latency guarantees, while minimising the number of vNF migrations required by the operators to keep the placement latency-optimal.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science