[e2e] j'accuse NFV

Eggert, Lars lars at netapp.com
Wed Apr 29 04:24:24 PDT 2015

CC'ing the NFVRG, since they may have some opinions here :-)

On 2015-4-29, at 11:34, Jon Crowcroft <Jon.Crowcroft at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> Try as I might, I cannot really see Network Function Virtualization as much
> more than yet another telco landgrab on internet stuff. But somewhat more
> critically, I vew the idea of taking some of our precious middle bodily
> fluid flow processing functions, and moving them a) off the box built by a
> middlebox expert, and b) off the direct path, as actually
> counter-productive. Lets just take three boring run-of-the-arithmetic-mill
> such services:-
> load balancer - this is on the latency critical path before you get to any
> service - additional latency/hops/virtualization overhead is
> counter-indicated by any sane business model
> wan accelerator - especially for 2.9x-4.8xG wireless data networking
> services - these are kind of rather localized by definition, right? I mean
> they are dealing with impedance mis-matches in the interweb (tcp splice,
> etc - see
> https://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/icsi/publication_details?n=3730
> firewall (or ids) - so these sit on trust boundaries, so it seems like a
> reduction in security to move them anywhere (like above a hypervisor,
> unless people are running, say, seL4:-), plus they might also be protecting
> the infrastructure itself as well as customers, so it would seem
> counter-productive to increase their attach surface in any way
> So ok, not all virtualization involves moving stuff to a different location
> often. But it does also imply some resource pooling (i.e. more than 1
> instance of a Foo in the NFooV is running above the hyperv) - so this seems
> like you might be buying into a wealth of pain with elasticity, when you
> had just nailed down super-hard multiplexed allocation of cycles for
> forwarding or filtering or protocol adaptation or responsive redirection
> etc etc...
> I guess if you are in the business of proxies (web content caches etc) then
> it might make sense, but then it isn't really a Network Function that is
> being virtualized - its just you have some server blades running xen
> or vmware or clickos or mirageOS or whatever with an HTTPd on them
> - err, so next, will we be running IP forwarding virtualized? oh, no,
> wait, thats just a, um VPN...
> so if the telco folks do manage to Virtualize all those annoying middle
> boxes Netwreck Functions, perhaps they could just cause them all to
> evaporate and restore the sublime end-to-end internet
> goodness....carrier-degrade, surely?
> j
> http://openmirage.org/
> http://cnp.neclab.eu/clickos/
> https://sel4.systems/
> etc
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