Network functions such as firewalls, NAT devices, load balancers have increasing importance in modern telecommunication networks. Nowadays these are running on different special purpose platforms, which means high operational and maintenance costs to network operators, and this current solution is barely able to cope with the always growing network traffic.
These days from many places can be heard the NFV (Network Function Virtualization). The essence of this new approach is instead of the special expensive hardware cheap, general purpose equipment are used, which have large computing power and packet processing capabilities, thereby they can run any network function in virtualized environment in the form of a software component. Supplemented by SDN (Software Defined Networking), the network can be treated as an abstract resource pool, which can be used to define different service chains on the top of it. After that, the orchestrator’s task – which is running as a coordinator over the resources – is to implement these services in the real network. By these new principles, the network can react to the increasing changes in a much more effective way.
In the first part of my thesis, I will introduce the most important virtualization techniques, which make possible to run network functions in virtualized environments and after that the new open source packet processing techniques which are making the packet forwarding more effective even without special hardware extensions.
As the second part of my work, measurements will be made to examine the capabilities of the different virtualization solutions and compare them from different aspects, such as latency, resource usage or maximum throughput.
Finally I will show a NFV environment, called ESCAPE (Extensible Service ChAin Prototyping Environment), serving as a real life example for future networks, and I will do the integration of the selected virtualization solution to this framework.