Network and Functions Virtualisation
Since 2011, Fraunhofer FOKUS researches the leveraging of cloud based solutions within telco systems. Currently, our cloud research is part of the OpenSDNCore team and it concentrates on multi-data center robust Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and on network virtualisation high availability with, or without leveraging, Software Defined Network (SDN), fault management, load balancing, automatic network recovery, dynamic network functions placement, etc.
From the 5G ecosystem perspective, a virtualisation service enablement should be capable of providing a virtual environment, on top of which, the 5G network functions are deployed. Several characteristics of the new environment have to be considered, when designing the 5G ecosystem network functions:
- The virtual environment is prone to failures implying that any network component may fail at any moment;
- The computing and storage resources are virtually infinite – there is no need for load balancing mechanisms;
- The granularity of the components varies – the effect on the subscribers' network does not average for very small components;
- Different network locations are available virtually at any moment;
- The network characteristics are different:
- Currently there is no support for layer-2 networking (and high availability mechanisms);
- Networks are uniform and share the same virtualised environment;
- Resources for the inter-data center networks are unreliable, with higher delay and costly.
- Multiple components may share the same state information, virtually accessing the complete information in the system, while handling the control and data plane only partially. A large need for load balancing mechanisms, while providing high availability, are required.