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Getting the Most Out of Your VNFs: Flexible Assignment of Service Priorities in 5G

by   Francesco Malandrino, et al.

Through their computational and forwarding capabilities, 5G networks can support multiple vertical services. Such services may include several common virtual (network) functions (VNFs), which could be shared to increase resource efficiency. In this paper, we focus on the seldom studied VNF-sharing problem, and decide (i) whether sharing a VNF instance is possible/beneficial or not, (ii) how to scale virtual machines hosting the VNFs to share, and (iii) the priorities of the different services sharing the same VNF. These decisions are made with the aim to minimize the mobile operator's costs while meeting the verticals' performance requirements. Importantly, we show that the aforementioned priorities should not be determined a priori on a per-service basis, rather they should change across VNFs since such additional flexibility allows for more efficient solutions. We then present an effective methodology called FlexShare, enabling near-optimal VNF-sharing decisions in polynomial time. Our performance evaluation, using real-world VNF graphs, confirms the effectiveness of our approach, which consistently outperforms baseline solutions using per-service priorities.


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