What NFV and SDN can do for intercloud applications
Thu 10 Nov 2016
In the new research paper entitled ZeroTouch Provisioning (ZTP) Model and Infrastructure Components for Multi-provider Cloud Services Provisioning, researchers from Amsterdam, Macedonia and the Netherlands address the problem of provisioning inter-cloud network connectivity by adding SDN-based network provisioning to the model.
Zero Touch Provisioning, Operation and Management (ZTP or ZTPOM) has been used for fast provisioning of virtual servers to new network devices for a while, but it hasn’t yet fully rounded on the problem of intercloud (rather than intracloud) automation.
The paper proposes the re-use of recent developments in large-scale services deployment, extended with ZTP-enabled network infrastructure provisioning – underpinned with Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN).
The researchers presented a demonstration of the concept, a use-case scenario involving a multi-cloud application for real-time UHD video editing – one of the most data-intensive prospects for any cloud-based framework.
The system uses NFV in concert with Service Function Chaining (SFC) over an SDN-based OCX network. NFV is used to modify functions performed over active traffic while an SDN programmable network provides real-time agility and transparency.
In the demo, the gOCX programmable instance directs traffic flow between Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), each of which is furnishing a specific video editing function, all taking place within a framework defined by the user in real-time. The SFC structure is based on VLAN stitching and MAC rewrites, to separate paths and functions.
The researchers contend that their new protocol for identifying service function paths (Network Services Headers, or NSH) will add new possibilities for SFC to develop even more elaborate intercloud scenarios:
‘The proposed ZTPOM over the OCX infrastructure creates a complete ecosystem that fosters the development of new multi-cloud services and application that can directly interact with the underlying cloud aware agile programmable network. Using the NFV paradigm, the OCX marketplace can become a pool of virtualized resources that can be used for defining composite complex applications in a modular way by the means of SFC. In this way, the creation of custom multi-cloud solutions used by research community can be pushed towards the zero-touch experience for the end-users that can now focus on what they need opposed to how to do it.’
The team envisages that under this system the OCX marketplace could be re-imagined as a fund of virtualised resources available to create composite complex applications in modular fashion, by leveraging SFC – paving the way for ‘zero touch’ experience for academic and other high-volume data practitioners needing to assemble unique resources from disparate clouds. The researchers anticipate more investigation into multi-domain SDN, incorporating components of Self-Organised Networks (SON). The ultimate aim is the self-provisioning intercloud network application – no small goal.