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TANGO - Development and validation plattform for global industry-specific network services and Apps

The combination of the proposed toolkit, validation Store and the service platform realises an EXTENDED multi-modal NFV DEVOPS MODEL between service developers, telecom operators and vertical industries, increasing operational efficiency, facilitating the implementation and validation of new services and accelerating the adoption of NFV technologies.

Motivation

Telecommunication networks have become a critical part of any society’s infrastructure powering economic growth and social prosperity. The services supported by today’s telecommunication networks are relied upon by millions of people every day. These networks and services continue to evolve, supporting ever increasing workloads and increasing traffic and diversity of supported services. This evolution is forcing the underlying network technologies to change, increasing the level of programmability and flexibility of configuration, while reducing the overall costs related to network operations. Aligned with the 5G vision, this goes beyond a simple increase in network speed or reliability, and instead it represents a substantive shift in telecommunication technology, where the network offers unique features to each of the evolving services it supports.

Software Networks a combination of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a significant area of research and innovation. These technologies are essential to support many aspects of the anticipated functionality offered by 5G Networks. The expression “Software Networks” refer to a general paradigm shift in telecom architecture from “boxes” to “functions”, and from “protocols” to “APIs”. In parallel this shift is also driving a convergence between telecommunications and IT infrastructure, producing an IT solution which delivers carrier grade platform upon which 5G “Software Networks” are implemented.

While this essential paradigm shift is revolutionizing the telecommunications business, there also exists a large legacy in telecom operators and the suitable transition plan towards Software Networks’ operational adoption needs to be carefully demonstrated. Even at this stage before large production deployments by operators, there is an increasingly large variety of SDN and NFV solutions available from a number of vendors (and also open source initiatives), and it is necessary to provide qualification methods which allow services designed by a third party to be vetted. It is also necessary to provide a flexible service platform which can support Software Networks on a range of different operational models with different maturity levels.

Verticals, such as Manufacturing, Automotive or Media, often cope with multiple network traffic types, from broadband traffic typical of immersive media systems to small bursts of many IoT sensors in, e.g., smart factories at the network edge. This produces heterogeneous requirements for reliability, flexibility and scalability. To address these vertical requirements, network operators will need a solution which is technology agnostic and can be configured to the needs of different vertical customer segments and their services.          

The 5G vision of a closer collaboration and higher accessibility to network management between operators and vertical industries will go beyond simply controlling network performance metrics, and require new approaches to network access, service platforms and supporting DevOps workflows for new services and net applications. Software networks will have to offer the possibility to share infrastructures, customize orchestrations, support multitenancy and deploy user services. Associated to network virtualization, the slicing of resources is the next step in the resource and service provision per vertical industry. The network slicing technique allows the optimal configuration of necessary resources to serve a customized vertical service. According to the NGMN Alliance, a slice is a set of network resources that supports a particular connection type with a specific way of handling the control and user planes. NGMN states that the flexibility behind the slice concept is a key enabler to create new businesses and expand the existing ones.

A multitude of services, including IoT, video streaming, mobile apps, etc., are all provided over the same network. Slicing offers an optimized network environment that can be set for each and every service, thus enhancing the overall network operational efficiency. Ericsson described the scenario in which each vertical industry will require a different configuration of requirements and parameters in the network, and each use case will require its own network slice. “Networks should be built in a flexible way so that speed, capacity and coverage can be allocated in logical slices to meet the specific demands of each use case”, the paper states. Software networks lower entry barriers of third party vendors that provide simple Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) or composed Networks Services (NSs). This implies the need to carry out a thorough testing of these services and their qualification before going for deployment on operational environments. Even more, third- party entities could also be given permission to control certain aspects of service provision over slicing via a suitable API, in order to provide tailored, vertical-specific Network Services. These may indicate respective end- to-end QoS/QoE and SLA aspects across network domains (end-to-end) keeping trust levels. Service providers and Over-The-Top (OTT) will be able to programme and combine functions (create service graphs) from compatible Store with qualified VNFs/NSs and deploy them across the points of presence across multiple network segments. The deployment and orchestration is accompanied by the necessary configuration information to fulfil the vertical user application requirements.

Objectives

- Reduce the time-to-market for networked services by shortening the service development cycle and by qualifying those network services to be adopted.

- Reduce the entry barrier to 3rd party developers and support the creation and composition of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and application elements as "Network Services”.

- Enable new business opportunities with the customisation and adaptation of the network to vertical application´s requirements.

- Accelerate the NFV uptake in industry via an 'extended' DevOps model and the validation at scale of Network Service capabilities of the 5GTANGO platform in vertical show cases.

Work Packages

The University of Paderborn ‒ Research Group Computer Networks ‒ is mainly involved in the following work packages:

- WP2 (Pilot definition, Requirements and Architecture Design):

This work package will define use cases for the entire project that serve as the main motivation and guideline for the technologies and innovations to be developed.

- WP4 (Service Programmability):

This work package will design and implement a complete Service Development Kit (SDK) for services that accelerates development, testing, and deployment of services and network functions. The toolkit will particularly focus on validation functionality, state migration mechanisms and QoS and performance profiling functionality.

- WP5 (Service Platform & Orchestration): 

This Work Package deals with the procurement, design, implementation and testing of the Service Platform and its components and features, to support the requirements and architecture defined in Work Package 2. This Service Platform shall be based on a micro-services approach, with plugins being deployed into a kernel, taking advantage of the knowledge acquired in previous H2020 5G first wave projects (i.e. SONATA, 5GEX, etc) and considering other existing open-source developments such as OSM or Open-O. This kind of architecture allows a much higher degree of modularity, scalability and flexibility, at a much more granular level.

- WP7 (Vertical Pilots development and execution): 

The scope of WP7 includes the specification and implementation of the two 5GTANGO pilots, namely Smart manufacturing and Immersive Media. These two demonstrators build to illustrate the added value of the service programmability, service validation and orchestration capabilities offered by the 5GTANGO framework developed in WP3-5. Both cases will be executed following the same task structure and complementary features.

Publications


Open list in Research Information System

Verification and validation framework for 5G network services and apps

M. Zhao, F. Le Gall, P. Cousin, R. Vilalta, R. Munoz, S. Castro, M. Peuster, S.B. Schneider, M. Siapera, E. Kapassa, D. Kyriazis, P. Hasselmeyer, G. Xilouris, C. Tranoris, S. Denazis, J. Martrat, in: 2017 IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN), IEEE, 2017

DOI


Let the state follow its flows: An SDN-based flow handover protocol to support state migration

M. Peuster, H. Küttner, H. Karl, in: 4th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2018), 2018

Dynamically steering flows through virtualized net- work function instances is a key enabler for elastic, on-demand deployments of virtualized network functions. This becomes par- ticular challenging when stateful functions are involved, necessi- tating state management. The problem with existing solutions is that they typically embrace state migration and flow rerouting jointly, imposing a huge set of requirements on the on-boarded VNFs, e.g., solution-specific state management interfaces. In this paper, we introduce the seamless handover proto- col (SHarP). It provides an easy-to-use, loss-less, and order- preserving flow rerouting mechanism that is not fixed to a single state management approach. This allows VNF vendors to implement or use the state management solution of their choice. SHarP supports these solutions with additional information when flows are migrated. Further, we show how SHarP significantly reduces the buffer usage at a central (SDN) controller, which is a typical bottleneck in existing solutions. Our experiments show that SHarP uses a constant amount of controller buffer, irrespective of the time taken to migrate the VNF state.


A Prototyping Platform to Validate and Verify Network Service Header-based Service Chains

M. Peuster, S.B. Schneider, F. Christ, H. Karl, in: IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualisation and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN) 5GNetApp, IEEE, 2018


Scaling and Placing Bidirectional Services with Stateful Virtual and Physical Network Functions

S. Dräxler, S.B. Schneider, H. Karl, in: 4th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2018), IEEE, 2018, pp. 123--131

Network function virtualization requires scaling and placement, deciding the number and the location of function instances. Current approaches are limited in flexibility and practical applicability. Specifically, we study dynamic, single-step, joint scaling and placement of network services with bidirectional flows traversing Physical or Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and returning to their sources. We develop models to support stateful components and legacy network functions with fixed locations in these network services as well as the possibility of reusing VNFs across network services. We formalize the problem of jointly scaling and placing such network services as a mixed- integer linear program (MILP). We show that this problem is NP-complete and also present a heuristic algorithm to find good solutions in short time. In an extensive evaluation with realistic scenarios, we investigate the capabilities of the two approaches.


Containernet 2.0: A Rapid Prototyping Platform for Hybrid Service Function Chains

M. Peuster, J.. Kampmeyer, H. Karl, in: 4th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2018), 2018

Developing a virtualized network service does not only involve the implementation and configuration of the network functions it is composed of but also its integration and test with management solutions that will control the service in its production environment. These integration tasks require testbeds that offer the needed network function virtualization infrastructure~(NFVI), like OpenStack, introducing a lot of management and maintenance overheads. Such testbed setups become even more complicated when the multi point-of-presence~(PoP) case, with multiple infrastructure installations, is considered. In this demo, we showcase an emulation platform that executes containerized network services in user-defined multi-PoP topologies. The platform does not only allow network service developers to locally test their services but also to connect real-world management and orchestration solutions to the emulated PoPs. During our interactive demonstration we focus on the integration between the emulated infrastructure and state-of-the-art orchestration solutions like SONATA or OSM.


5GTANGO: An Approach for Testing NFV Deployments

P. Twamley, M. Muller, P. Bok, G.K. Xilouris, C. Sakkas, M.A. Kourtis, M. Peuster, S.B. Schneider, P. Stavrianos, D. Kyriazis, in: 2018 European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC), IEEE, 2018

Programmability, control and flexibility can be considered as some of the indirect enablers for the success of 5G technologies. A key driver towards this are mechanisms or methodologies to drive shorter time to market for suppliers and operators of virtual network functions (VNFs) and network services. 5GTANGO includes a DevOps approach that can be utilized for the validation and verification (V&V) of VNFs and network services. In this paper, we elaborate further on the approaches made in the areas of testing, catalogues and package management as a means to enable that full DevOps V&V workflow. Finally, we explore the deployment requirement of the V&V via one of our pilot use cases.


Understand your chains and keep your deadlines: Introducing time-constrained profiling for NFV

M. Peuster, H. Karl, in: IEEE/IFIP 14th International Conference on Network and Service Management (CNSM), IEEE/IFIP, 2018


A Generic Emulation Framework for Reusing and Evaluating VNF Placement Algorithms

S.B. Schneider, M. Peuster, H. Karl, in: IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN 2018), IEEE, 2018

In recent years, a variety of different approaches have been proposed to tackle the problem of scaling and placing network services, consisting of interconnected virtual network functions (VNFs). This paper presents a placement abstraction layer (PAL) that provides a clear and simple northbound interface for using such algorithms while hiding their internal functionality and implementation. Through its southbound interface, PAL can connect to different back ends that evaluate the calculated placements, e.g., using simulations, emulations, or testbed approaches. As an example for such evaluation back ends, we introduce a novel placement emulation framework (PEF) that allows executing calculated placements using real, containerbased VNFs on real-world network topologies. In a case study, we show how PAL and PEF facilitate reusing and evaluating placement algorithms as well as validating their underlying models and performance claims.


Emulation-based Smoke Testing of NFV Orchestrators in Large Multi-PoP Environments

M. Peuster, M. Marchetti, G. Garcia de Blas, H. Karl, in: European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC), 2018

Management and orchestration~(MANO) systems are the key components of future large-scale NFV environments. They will manage resources of hundreds or even thousands of NFV infrastructure installations, so called points of presence~(PoP). Such scenarios need to be automatically tested during the development phase of a MANO system. This task becomes very challenging because large-scale NFV testbeds are hard to maintain, too expensive, or simply not available. In this paper, we present a multi-PoP NFV infrastructure emulation platform that enables automated, large-scale testing of MANO stacks. We show that our platform can easily emulate hundreds of PoPs on a single physical machine and reduces the setup time of a test PoP by a factor of 232x compared to a DevStack-based test PoP installation. Further, we present a case study in which we test ETSI's Open Source MANO~(OSM) against our proposed system to gain insights about OSM's behaviour in large-scale NFV deployments.



A Fully Integrated Multi-Platform NFV SDK

S.B. Schneider, M. Peuster, W. Tavernier, H. Karl, in: IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN 2018), IEEE, 2018

A key challenge of network function virtualization (NFV) is the complexity of developing and deploying new network services. Currently, development requires many manual steps that are time-consuming and error-prone (e.g., for creating service descriptors). Furthermore, existing management and orchestration (MANO) platforms only offer limited support of standardized descriptor models or package formats, limiting the re-usability of network services. To this end, we introduce a fully integrated, open-source NFV service development kit (SDK) with multi-MANO platform support. Our SDK simplifies many NFV service development steps by offering initial generation of descriptors, advanced project management, as well as fully automated packaging and submission for on-boarding. To achieve multi-platform support, we present a package format that extends ETSI’s VNF package format. In this demonstration, we present the end-to-end workflow to develop an NFV service that is then packaged for multiple platforms, i.e., 5GTANGO and OSM.


Trade-offs in Dynamic Resource Allocation in Network Function Virtualization

S.B. Schneider, S. Dräxler, H. Karl, in: IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM 2018), IEEE, 2018

Dynamic allocation of resources is a key feature in network function virtualization (NFV), enabling flexible adjustment of slices and contained network services to ever-changing service demands. Considering resource allocation across the entire network, many authors have proposed approaches to optimize the placement and chaining of virtual network function (VNF) instances and the allocation of resources to these VNF instances. In doing so, various optimization objectives are conceivable, e.g., minimizing certain required resources or the end-to-end delay of the placed services. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between four typical optimization objectives when coordinating the placement and resource allocation of chained VNF instances. We observe an interesting trade-off between minimizing the overhead of starting/stopping VNF instances and all other objectives when adapting to changed service demands.


Specifying and Analyzing Virtual Network Services Using Queuing Petri Nets

S.B. Schneider, A. Sharma, H. Karl, H. Wehrheim, in: 2019 IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management (IM), IFIP, 2019, pp. 116--124

For optimal placement and orchestration of network services, it is crucial that their structure and semantics are specified clearly and comprehensively and are available to an orchestrator. Existing specification approaches are either ambiguous or miss important aspects regarding the behavior of virtual network functions (VNFs) forming a service. We propose to formally and unambiguously specify the behavior of these functions and services using Queuing Petri Nets (QPNs). QPNs are an established method that allows to express queuing, synchronization, stochastically distributed processing delays, and changing traffic volume and characteristics at each VNF. With QPNs, multiple VNFs can be connected to complete network services in any structure, even specifying bidirectional network services containing loops. We discuss how management and orchestration systems can benefit from our clear and comprehensive specification approach, leading to better placement of VNFs and improved Quality of Service. Another benefit of formally specifying network services with QPNs are diverse analysis options, which allow valuable insights such as the distribution of end-to-end delay. We propose a tool-based workflow that supports the specification of network services and the automatic generation of corresponding simulation code to enable an in-depth analysis of their behavior and performance.


A flow handover protocol to support state migration in softwarized networks

M. Peuster, H. Küttner, H. Karl, International Journal of Network Management (2019)

Softwarized networks are the key enabler for elastic, on-demand service deployments of virtualized network functions. They allow to dynamically steer traffic through the network when new network functions are instantiated, or old ones are terminated. These scenarios become in particular challenging when stateful functions are involved, necessitating state management solutions to migrate state between the functions. The problem with existing solutions is that they typically embrace state migration and flow rerouting jointly, imposing a huge set of requirements on the on-boarded virtualized network functions (VNFs), eg, solution-specific state management interfaces. To change this, we introduce the seamless handover protocol (SHarP). An easy-to-use, loss-less, and order-preserving flow rerouting mechanism that is not fixed to a single state management approach. Using SHarP, VNF vendors are empowered to implement or use the state management solution of their choice. SHarP supports these solutions with additional information when flows are migrated. In this paper, we present SHarP's design, its open source prototype implementation, and show how SHarP significantly reduces the buffer usage at a central (SDN) controller, which is a typical bottleneck in state-of-the-art solutions. Our experiments show that SHarP uses a constant amount of controller buffer, irrespective of the time taken to migrate the VNF state.


Joint testing and profiling of microservice-based network services using TTCN-3

M. Peuster, C. Dröge, C. Boos, H. Karl, ICT Express (2019)

The ongoing softwarization of networks creates a big need for automated testing solutions to ensure service quality. This becomes even more important if agile environments with short time to market and high demands, in terms of service performance and availability, are considered. In this paper, we introduce a novel testing solution for virtualized, microservice-based network functions and services, which we base on TTCN-3, a well known testing language defined by the European standards institute (ETSI). We use TTCN-3 not only for functional testing but also answer the question whether TTCN-3 can be used for performance profiling tasks as well. Finally, we demonstrate the proposed concepts and solutions in a case study using our open-source prototype to test and profile a chained network service.


Automated testing of NFV orchestrators against carrier-grade multi-PoP scenarios using emulation-based smoke testing

M. Peuster, M. Marchetti, G. García de Blas, H. Karl, EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking (2019)


"Producing Cloud-Native": Smart Manufacturing Use Cases on Kubernetes

S.B. Schneider, M. Peuster, K. Hannemann, D. Behnke, M. Müller, P. Bök, H. Karl, in: IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN) Demo Track, IEEE, 2019

Building on 5G and network function virtualization (NFV), smart manufacturing has the potential to drastically increase productivity, reduce cost, and introduce novel, flexible manufacturing services. Current work mostly focuses on high-level scenarios or emulation-based prototype deployments. Extending our previous work, we showcase one of the first cloud-native 5G verticals focusing on the deployment of smart manufacturing use cases on production infrastructure. In particular, we use the 5GTANGO service platform to deploy our developed network services on Kubernetes. For this demo, we implemented a series of cloud-native virtualized network functions (VNFs) and created suitable service descriptors. Their light-weight, stateless deployment on Kubernetes enables quick instantiation, scalability, and robustness.


Putting 5G into Production: Realizing a Smart Manufacturing Vertical Scenario

S.B. Schneider, M. Peuster, D. Behnke, M. Marcel, P. Bök, H. Karl, in: European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC), IEEE, 2019

As 5G and network function virtualization (NFV) are maturing, it becomes crucial to demonstrate their feasibility and benefits by means of vertical scenarios. While 5GPPP has identified smart manufacturing as one of the most important vertical industries, there is still a lack of specific, practical use cases. Using the experience from a large-scale manufacturing company, Weidm{\"u}ller Group, we present a detailed use case that reflects the needs of real-world manufacturers. We also propose an architecture with specific network services and virtual network functions (VNFs) that realize the use case in practice. As a proof of concept, we implement the required services and deploy them on an emulation-based prototyping platform. Our experimental results indicate that a fully virtualized smart manufacturing use case is not only feasible but also reduces machine interconnection and configuration time and thus improves productivity by orders of magnitude.


Prototyping and Demonstrating 5G Verticals: The Smart Manufacturing Case

M. Peuster, S.B. Schneider, D. Behnke, M. Müller, P. Bök, H. Karl, in: 5th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2019), 2019

5G together with software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) will enable a wide variety of vertical use cases. One of them is the smart man- ufacturing case which utilises 5G networks to interconnect production machines, machine parks, and factory sites to enable new possibilities in terms of flexibility, automation, and novel applications (industry 4.0). However, the availability of realistic and practical proof-of-concepts for those smart manufacturing scenarios is still limited. This demo fills this gap by not only showing a real-world smart manufacturing application entirely implemented using NFV concepts, but also a lightweight prototyping framework that simplifies the realisation of vertical NFV proof-of-concepts. Dur- ing the demo, we show how an NFV-based smart manufacturing scenario can be specified, on-boarded, and instantiated before we demonstrate how the presented NFV services simplify machine data collection, aggregation, and analysis.


Empowering Network Service Developers: Enhanced NFV DevOps and Programmable MANO

T. Soenen, W. Tavernier, M. Peuster, F. Vicens, G. Xilouris, S. Kolometsos, M. Kourtis, D. Colle, IEEE Communications Magazine (2019), pp. 89-95

DOI


Open list in Research Information System

Further information:

TANGO

Information about the project:     
Project members:Holger Karl
Stefan Schneider
Manuel Peuster
Project website:http://www.5gtango.eu
Type:5G-PPP
Started:June 2017
Finished:Active
Contact:Holger Karl

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 761493.

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