Metron: NFV Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware


Georgios P. Katsikas, RISE SICS and KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Tom Barbette, University of Liege; Dejan Kostic, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Rebecca Steinert, RISE SICS; Gerald Q. Maguire Jr., KTH Royal Institute of Technology


In this paper we present Metron, a Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform that achieves high resource utilization by jointly exploiting the underlying network and commodity servers’ resources. This synergy allows Metron to: (i) offload part of the packet processing logic to the network, (ii) use smart tagging to setup and exploit the affinity of traffic classes, and (iii) use tag-based hardware dispatching to carry out the remaining packet processing at the speed of the servers’ fastest cache(s), with zero intercore communication. Metron also introduces a novel resource allocation scheme that minimizes the resource allocation overhead for large-scale NFV deployments. With commodity hardware assistance, Metron deeply inspects traffic at 40 Gbps and realizes stateful network functions at the speed of a 100 GbE network card on a single server. Metron has 2.75-6.5x better efficiency than OpenBox, a state of the art NFV system, while ensuring key requirements such as elasticity, fine-grained load balancing, and flexible traffic steering.

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@inproceedings {211263,
author = {Georgios P. Katsikas and Tom Barbette and Dejan Kosti{\'c} and Rebecca Steinert and Gerald Q. Maguire Jr.},
title = {Metron: {NFV} Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware},
booktitle = {15th {USENIX} Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation ({NSDI} 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-931971-43-0},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {171--186},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},