Looking Glass of NFV: Inferring the Structure and State of NFV Network from External Observations

Yilei Lin, Ting He, Shiqiang Wang, Kevin Chan, Stephen Pasteris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The rapid development of network function virtualization (NFV) enables a communication network to provide in-network services using virtual network functions (VNFs) deployed on general IT hardware. While existing studies on NFV focused on how to provision VNFs from the provider's perspective, little is known about how to validate the provisioned resources from the user's perspective. In this work, we take a first step towards this problem by developing an inference framework designed to 'look into' the NFV network. Our framework infers the structure and state of the overlay formed by VNF instances, ingress/egress points of measurement flows, and critical points on their paths (branching/joining points). Our solution only uses external observations such as the required service chains and the end-to-end performance measurements. Besides the novel application scenario, our work also fundamentally advances the state of the art on topology discovery by considering (i) general topologies with general measurement paths, and (ii) information of service chains. Evaluations based on real network topologies show that the proposed solution significantly improves the accuracy over existing solutions, and service chaining information is critical in revealing the structure of the underlying topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2019 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781728105154
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Event2019 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2019 - Paris, France
Duration: Apr 29 2019May 2 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference2019 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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