IEEE NFV-SDN 2019 in Dallas, TX, USA

By Kurt Tutschku - IEEE Sweden Section, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden and Larry Horner - Intel, IEEE Dallas Section, USA

The IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking (IEEE NFV-SDN) conference series is IEEE’s premier venue for the discussion and presentation of SDN and NFV technologies and methods. These technologies help communication service providers (CSPs) to evolve existing networks and build new ones for future services, to support general applications, such as smart cities, Industry 4.0, critical energy infrastructures or ubiquitous and edge-based AI.

Nate Foster’s keynote at IEEE NFV-SDN 2019.

The conference understands itself as a dedicated accelerator of the continuous exchange of the latest ideas and results between all NFV and SDN ecosystem partners in academia and industry. The IEEE NFV-SDN conference originated from an industry initiative and is backed, among others, by the ETSI Industry Specifi cation Group on Network Functions Virtualization and Intel.

The 5th IEEE NFV-SDN conference took place in Dallas, TX on November 12-14, 2019. IEEE NFV-SDN 2019 gathered approximately 80 participants. It had an exciting mix of industrial and academic keynotes. Dallas, TX provided unique access to leading companies working in SDN and NFV and our location was adjacent to AT&T world headquarters. Keynote speakers included Sridhar Rajagopal (Vice President at Mavenir Systems and 2017 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper award recipient); Ying Zhang (Facebook and listed as one of IEEE ComSoc 2017 Women Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications); Nate Foster (Cornell University, Barefoot Networks and 2018 SIGCOMM Rising Star Award recipient); and Professor Andrea Fumagalli (The University of Texas at Dallas).

The conference’s distinct accelerator capabilities come from high quality research contributions, being a strict single-track event for the main conference, and by mixing the best academic researchers with the front-runners in industry research and their leaders. These three factors enable vivid discussions among all participants of the highest scientific and industrial signifi cance. Thus, the event contributes to an increased understanding of real-world problems, development of new technical solutions, and prepares researchers and practitioners to provide future unique new solutions for programmable and cloudifi ed CSP networks using virtualization technologies.

IEEE NFV-SDN 2019 panel on System and Performance Aspects of NFV-SDN: (f.l.t.r.: Andrea Fumagalli, Sridhar Rajagopal, Ying Zhang, and Don Clarke).

This year’s discussion topics centered on the theoretical and practical challenges in operating future CSP networks using the NFV and SDN paradigms. Sridhar Rajagopal gave a keynote about the challenges and new opportunities in virtualizing the 5G RAN. Nate Foster’s talk impressively demonstrated how theoretical results in network verifi cation can be transferred and applied in the area of SDN systems and programable switches. Ying Zhang talked about the challenges in Facebook’s data centers in handling Service Function Chaining and applying Network Functions Virtualization. Andrea Fumagalli (Univ. of Texas at Dallas) reported on the latest developments in making optical networks programmable.

Beside the keynotes, the conference featured 19 carefully selected scientifi c papers (regular conference and fast-tracked, latest-result papers) in areas of system and performance of NFV and SDN systems, the design of NFV and SDN systems, VNF service chaining, and security and monitoring of SDN and NFV networks. In addition, the event comprised a demo session (including papers) where seven groups of researchers from academia and industry provided hands-on demonstrations of NFV and SDN solutions. The demo session provided a social environment that also allowed for the presentation of high-quality scientifi c results with direct impact on daily operational issues of future virtualized CSP networks, some of which are diffi cult to assess by typical theoretical concepts.

Other important elements of the conference were the two joint-academia-industry panels. The first panel was on “Algorithmic and Data Aspects of NFV-SDN” and was moderated by Sandra Scott-Hayward (Queen’s University Belfast). It was comprised of panelists Nate Foster, Brian Kelley (University of Texas at San Antonio), and Levi Perigo (University of Colorado). The second panel was moderated by Don Clarke (alumni of BT and CableLabs, former head of the NOC of the ETSI ISG on NFV). Clarke is one of the founders of the ETSI’s initiative on NFV. This panel discussed the topic of “System and Performance Aspects of NFV-SDN”. It was comprised of members Ying Zhang, Andrea Fumagalli and Sridhar Rajagopal.

Other program items of IEEE NFV-SDN 2019 included two workshops (MOBISLICE II, 5GSecAI) and three tutorials by academia (Texas A&M Univ.), research institutes (Catalan Telecommunications Technology Centre) and industry (Intel).

The conference also awarded the best contributions with respect to regular conference papers, fast-track submissions and demos:

Best Paper: “Investigating Adversarial Attacks against Network Intrusion Detection Systems in SDNs” (James Aiken, Sandra Scott-Hayward, Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland).

Best Fast Track Paper: “Flock: A Live Migration Protocol for SDN Controllers” (Chiara Contoli, Fabio Palumbo, Flavio Esposito, Franco Callegati, Antonio Pescapé; Saint Louis University, USA, University of Bologna, Italy, University of Naples Federico II, Italy).

Best Demo: Enhanced Driving with 5G: A New Approach for Alleviating Traffic Congestion (Roberto Torre, Goiuri Peraltaz, Oleksandr Zhdanenko, Alexander Kropp, Hani Salah, Giang T. Nguyen, Stanislav Mudriievskyi, and Frank H. P. Fitzek; Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, Ikerlan Technology Research Centre, Spain).

Three student travel grants were award to outstanding student results. The recipients were Akshatha Nayak Manjeshwar (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay); Nikita Jalodia (Waterford Institute of Technology); and Gourav Prateek Sharma (Ghent University).

Finally, the conference organizers wish to express their appreciation to financial sponsors of this event, Intel (Diamond) and Fujitsu (Bronze). Next year’s conference (IEEE NFV-SDN 2020), will be held in Madrid, Spain from November 10–12, 2020.