Meeting the requirements of 5th generation telecommunication networks is a great challenge today for service providers. The number of subscribers, thus the generated traffic and the demand for novel services is rapidly increasing, while seamless and flexible service provisioning is indispensable. To keep up with these changes, continuous but economical improvements are required. Utilization of virtualization and cloud based technologies, including network function virtualization and service chaining seem to be the candidate for a solution. The software implementation of traditional telecommunication appliances with cloud based services as platforms provide configurable and cost-efficient solutions for expanding networks and improving their performance.
The topic of my thesis is the network function virtualization, using OpenStack, a popular open source cloud based platform, and one of its components, Tacker in particular, which is responsible for network function virtualization and service chaining. I present the architecture and operation of these technologies, alongside with Software Defined Networking and the ETSI NFV-MANO frameworks, which provide the basis of network function virtualization. I briefly summarize some existing solutions aiming to follow the guidelines provided by ETSI. I test Tacker in an OpenStack environment with creating service function chains through which I thoroughly examine the capabilities of Tacker and its data structures.
I briefly present the UNIFY architecture partially developed at the BME TMIT, focusing especially on the data structure responsible for realizing service chains. I compare the data structures used by the two services, and create a program in Python that can convert the descriptors used by UNIFY to a format acceptable for Tacker, and to create the corresponding VNFD and VNFFGD components.
Finally, I evaluate the results and briefly outline the future development possibilities in light of the presented technologies.