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NetBricks: Taking the V out of NFV

Aurojit Panda
Sangjin Han
Keon Jang
Melvin Walls
Scott Shenker
Sylvia Ratnasamy
OSDI (2016)


The move from hardware middleboxes to software network functions, as advocated by NFV, has proven more challenging than expected. Developing new NFs remains a tedious process, requiring that developers repeatedly rediscover and reapply the same set of optimizations, while current techniques for providing isolation between NFs (using VMs or containers) incur high performance overheads. In this paper we describe NetBricks, a new NFV framework that tackles both these problems. For building NFs we take inspiration from modern data analytics frameworks (e.g., Spark and Dryad) and build a small set of customizable network processing elements. We also embrace type checking and safe runtimes to provide isolation in software, rather than rely on hardware isolation. NetBricks provides the same memory isolation as containers and VMs, without incurring the same performance penalties. To improve I/O efficiency, we introduce a novel technique called zero-copy software isolation.

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