Leonhard Nobach, Oliver Hohlfeld, David Hausheer.
Network management currently undergoes massive changes towards realizing more flexible management of complex networks. Recent efforts include slicing data plane resources by network (link) virtualization and applying operating system design principles to Software Defined Networking to rethink network management. Driven by network operators, network management principles are currently envisioned to be even further improved by virtualizing network (middlebox) functions. The resulting Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) paradigm abstracts network functions from dedicated hardware to virtual machines running on commodity hardware. This change in the design of carrier networks is inspired by the success of virtualization in the server market. By deploying NFV, network operators envision to achieve benefits similar to the server market and elastic cloud services, e.g., flexible and dynamic service provisioning, increased resource utilization, improved energy efficiency, and ultimately decreased operational costs. Despite these efforts, the ability of NFV to satisfy performance demands is often questioned. Tackling these challenges opens a set of research questions that felt short in the current discussion and are of particular relevance to the SIGCOMM community. In this position paper, we therefore provide an overview on the current state-of-the-art and open research questions.