Journal of Network and Systems Management

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 222–249 | Cite as

Seamless Configuration of Virtual Network Functions in Data Center Provider Networks

  • Serena SpinosoEmail author
  • Marco Leogrande
  • Fulvio Risso
  • Sushil Singh
  • Riccardo Sisto


Network function virtualization has enabled data center providers to offer new service provisioning models. Through the use of data center management software (cloud managers), providers allow their tenants to customize their virtual network infrastructure, enabling them to create a network topology that includes network functions (e.g., routers, firewalls), either chosen among the natively supported catalog or provided by third-parties. In order to deploy a ready-to-go service, providers have also to take care of pushing functional configurations into each network function (e.g., IP addresses for routers and policy rules in firewalls). This paper proposes an architecture that extends current cloud management software to enable the configuration of network functions. We propose a model-based approach that exploits the use of additional software components, i.e. translators and gateways, which are network function-agnostic, i.e. they are vendor-neutral and not specific for a particular type of network function, and do not require any change in the network functions. A prototype of this solution has been also implemented and tested, in order to validate our approach and evaluate its effectiveness in the configuration phase.


Network function configuration Network function virtualization VNF description 


  1. 1.
    Mijumbi, R., Serrat, J., Gorricho, J.-L., Bouten, N., Turck, F.D., Boutaba, R.: Network function virtualization: state-of-the-art and research challenges. IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutor. 18(1), 236–262 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shen, W., Yoshida, M., Minato, K., Imajuku, W.: vConductor: an enabler for achieving virtual network integration as a service. IEEE Commun. Mag. 53(2), 116–124 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Haleplidis, E., Hadi Salim, J., Denazis, S., Koufopavlou, O.: Towards a network abstraction model for SDN. J. Netw. Syst. Manage. 23(2), 309–327 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Spinoso, S., Leogrande, M., Risso, F., Singh, S., Sisto, R.: Automatic configuration of opaque network functions in CMS. In: Proceedings of the IEEE/ACM 7th International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC ’14), pp. 750–755 (2014)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Spinoso, S., Virgilio, M., John, W., Manzalini, A., Marchetto, G., Sisto, R.: Formal verification of virtual network function graphs in an sp-devops context. In: Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Service Oriented and Cloud Computing (ESOCC 2015). Springer International Publishing, pp. 253–262 (2015)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Panda, A., Lahav, O., Argyraki, K.J., Sagiv, M., Shenker, S.: Verifying isolation properties in the presence of middleboxes, CoRR, vol. abs/1409.7687, (2014). [Online]. Available: arXiv:1409.7687
  7. 7.
    Basile, C., Canavese, D., Pitscheider, C., Lioy, A., Valenza, F.: Assessing network authorization policies via reachability analysis. Comput. Electr. Eng. (2017) (in press). [Online]. Available:
  8. 8.
    Basile, C., Lioy, A., Pitscheider, C., Valenza, F., Vallini, M.: A novel approach for integrating security policy enforcement with dynamic network virtualization. In: Proceedings of the 1st IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2015), pp. 1–5 (2015)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Case, J.D., Fedor, M., Schoffstall, M.L., Davin, J.: A simple network management protocol (SNMP). Internet Requests for Comments, RFC Editor, RFC 6241, (1990),
  10. 10.
    Enns, R., Bjorklund, M., Schöenwäelder, J., Bierman, A.E.: Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF). Internet Requests for Comments, RFC Editor, RFC 6241, (2011),
  11. 11.
    Xu, H., Xiao, D.: Data modeling for netconf-based network management: Xml schema or yang. In: Proceedings of the 11th IEEE International Conference on Communication Technology (ICCT 2008), pp. 561–564 (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yang, L., Dantu, R., Anderson, T., Gopal, R.: Forwarding and Control Element Separation (ForCES) Framework. Internet Requests for Comments, RFC Editor, RFC 3746, (apr 2014),
  13. 13.
    Haleplidis, E., Denazis, S., Koufopavlou, O., Lopez, D., Joachimpillai, D., Martin, J., Salim, J.H., Pentikousis, K.: ForCES applicability to SDN-enhanced NFV. In: Proceedings of the 3rd European Workshop on Software Defined Networks (EWSDN 2014), pp. 43–48 (2014)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Császár, A., John, W., Kind, M., Meirosu, C., Pongrácz, G., Staessens, D., Takács, A., Westphal, F.-J.: Unifying cloud and carrier network: EU FP7 Project UNIFY. In: Proceedings of the 6th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC ’13), pp. 452–457 (2013)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Csoma, A., Sonkoly, B., Csikor, L., Németh, F., Gulyas, A., Tavernier, W., Sahhaf, S.: Escape: Extensible service chain prototyping environment using mininet, click, netconf and pox. ACM SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 44(4), 125–126 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bjorklund, M.: YANG—A data modeling language for the Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF). Internet Requests for Comments, RFC Editor, RFC 6020, (2010),
  17. 17.
    Schoenwaelder, J.: Common YANG Data Type. Internet Requests for Comments, RFC Editor, RFC 6991, (2013),

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serena Spinoso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marco Leogrande
    • 2
  • Fulvio Risso
    • 1
  • Sushil Singh
    • 2
  • Riccardo Sisto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Control and Computer EngineeringPolitecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.VMwarePalo AltoUSA

Personalised recommendations