Service Chain (SC) Mapping with Multiple SC Instances in a Wide Area Network


Network Function Virtualization (NFV) aims to simplify deployment of network services by running Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) on commercial off-the-shelf servers. Service deployment involves placement of VNFs and in-sequence routing of traffic flows through VNFs comprising a Service Chain (SC). The joint VNF placement and traffic routing is usually referred as SC mapping. In a Wide Area Network (WAN), a situation may arise where several traffic flows, generated by many distributed node pairs, require the same SC, one single instance (or occurrence) of that SC might not be enough. SC mapping with multiple SC instances for the same SC turns out to be a very complex problem, since the sequential traversal of VNFs has to be maintained while accounting for traffic flows in various directions. Our study is the first to deal with SC mapping with multiple SC instances to minimize network resource consumption. Exact mathematical modeling of this problem results in a quadratic formulation. We propose a two-phase column-generation-based model and solution in order to get results over large network topologies within reasonable computational times. Using such an approach, we observe that an appropriate choice of only a small set of SC instances can lead to solution very close to the minimum bandwidth consumption

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