P. Luigi Ventre, P. Lungaroni, G. Siracusano, C. Pisa, F. Schmidt, F. Lombardo, S. Salsano, "On the Fly Orchestration of Unikernels: Tuning and Performance Evaluation of Virtual Infrastructure Managers", IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing Accepted Date November 2018
Network operators are facing significant challenges meeting the demand for more bandwidth, agile infrastructures, innovative services, while keeping costs low. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Cloud Computing are emerging as key trends of 5G network architectures, providing flexibility, fast instantiation times, support of Commercial Off The Shelf hardware and significant cost savings. NFV leverages Cloud Computing principles to move the data-plane network functions from expensive, closed and proprietary hardware to the so-called Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). In this paper we deal with the management of virtual computing resources (Unikernels) for the execution of VNFs. This functionality is performed by the Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) in the NFV MANagement and Orchestration (MANO) reference architecture. We discuss the instantiation process of virtual resources and propose a generic reference model, starting from the analysis of three open source VIMs, namely OpenStack, Nomad and OpenVIM. We improve the aforementioned VIMs introducing the support for special-purpose Unikernels and aiming at reducing the duration of the instantiation process. We evaluate some performance aspects of the VIMs, considering both stock and tuned versions. The VIM extensions and performance evaluation tools are available under a liberal open source licence.
Published in: IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing
PDF download: On the Fly Orchestration of Unikernels
Full paper download: NLE_Research_Paper_On_the_Fly_Orchestration_of_Unikernels_2018.pdf
S. Pontarelli, R. Bifulco, M. Bonola, G. Siracusano, M. Honda, F. Huici, "FlowBlaze: Stateful Packet Processing in Hardware" in USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), March 2019
While programmable NICs allow for better scalability to handle growing network workloads, providing an expressive yet simple abstraction to program stateful network functions in hardware remains a research challenge. We address the problem with FlowBlaze, an open abstraction for building stateful packet processing functions in hardware. The abstraction is based on Extended Finite State Machines and introduces the explicit definition of flow state, allowing FlowBlaze to leverage flow-level parallelism. FlowBlaze is expressive, supporting a wide range of complex network functions, and easy to use, hiding low-level hardware implementation issues from the programmer. Our implementation of FlowBlaze on a NetFPGA SmartNIC achieves very low latency (in the order of a few microseconds), consumes relatively little power, can hold per-flow state for hundreds of thousands of flows, and yields speeds of 40 Gb/s, allowing for even higher speeds on newer FPGA models. Both hardware and software implementations of FlowBlaze are publicly available.
Conference: USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), 2019
PDF download: FlowBlaze: Stateful Packet Processing in Hardware
G. Siracusano, R. Gonzalez, R. Bifulco: "On the application of NLP to discover relationships between malicious network entities”, poster at CCS 2019.