Multi-Campus ICT Equipment Virtualization Architecture

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Multi-campus ICT equipment virtualization architecture for cloud and NFV integrated service


Abstract- We propose a virtualization architecture for multicampus information and communication technology (ICT) equipment with integrated cloud and NFV capabilities. The aim of this proposal is to migrate most of ICT equipment on campus premises into cloud and NFV platforms. Adopting this architecture would make most of ICT services secure and reliable and their disaster recovery (DR) economically manageable.

We also analyze a cost function and show cost advantages of this proposed architecture, describe implementation design issues, and report a preliminary experimentation of NFV DR transaction. This architecture would encourage academic institutes to migrate their own ICT systems located on their premises into a cloud environments.

Keywords; NFV, Data Center Migration, Disaster Recovery, Multi-campus network


There are many academic institutions that have multiple campuses located in different cities. These institutions need to provide information and communication technology (ICT) services, such as E-learning services, equally for all students on each campus. Usually, information technology (IT) infrastructures, such as application servers, are deployed at a main campus, and these servers are accessed by students on each campus. For this purpose, each local area network (LAN) on each campus is connected to a main campus LAN via a virtual private network (VPN) over a wide area network (WAN). In addition, Internet access service is provided to all students on the multi-campus environment.

To access the Internet, security devices, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDSs), are indispensable as they protect computing resources from malicious cyber activities.

With the emergence of virtualization technologies such as the cloud computing[1] and network functions virtualization (NFV)[2], [3], we expected that ICT infrastructures such as compute servers, storage devices, and network equipment can be moved from campuses to datacenters (DCs) economically. Some organizations have begun to move their ICT infrastructures from their own premises to outside DCs in order to improve security, stability, and reliability. Also, there are a lot of contributions to archiving DR capabilities with cloud technologies [4], [5],

[6]. Active-passive replication or active-active replication are expected techniques that archive DR capabilities. In these replications, a redundant backup system is required dedicatedly at a secondary site. With migration recovery [4], these backup resources can be shared among many users. 

These studies mainly focus on the application servers. While, integrated DR capability for ICT infrastructures, both application and network infrastructures, are still immature. 

We propose a multi-campus ICT equipment virtualization architecture for integrated cloud and NFV capabilities. The aim of this proposal is to migrate entire ICT infrastructures on campus premises into cloud and NFV platforms. 

Adopting this architecture for multi-campus networks would improve access link utilization, security device utilization, network transmission delay, disaster tolerance, and manageability at the same time. 

We also analyze the cost function and show cost advantages of this proposed architecture. 

To evaluate the feasibility of our proposed architecture, we built a test bed on SINET5 (Science Information NETwork 5) [7], [8], [9]. We describe the test-bed design, and preliminary experimentation on reducing the recovery time of VNF is reported.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section II shows background of this work. Section III shows proposed multi-campus network virtualization architecture. Section IV shows an evaluation of the proposed architecture in terms of cost advantages and implementation results. Section V concludes the paper, and future work is discussed 


SINET5 is a Japanese academic backbone network for about 850 research institutes and universities and provide network services to about 30 million academic users. 

SINET5 was wholly constructed and put into operation in April 2016. SINET5 plays an important role in supporting a wide range of research fields that need high-performance connectivity, such as high-energy physics, nuclear fusion science, astronomy, geodesy, seismology, and computer science. Figure 1 shows the SINET5 architecture. It provides points of presence, called “SINET-data centers” (DCs), and SINET DCs are deployed in each prefecture in Japan. On each SINET DC, an internet protocol (IP) router, MPLS-TP system, and ROADM are deployed. The IP router accommodates access lines from research institutes and universities. All Every pairs of internet protocol (IP) routers are connected by a paier of MPLS-TP paths. These paths achieves low latency and high reliability. The IP routers and MPLS-TP systems are connected by a 100-Gbps-based optical path. Therefore, data can be transmitted from a SINET DC to another SINET DC in up to 100 Gbps throughput. In addition, users, who have 100 Gpbs access lines, can transmit data to other users in up to 100 Gbps throughput. 

Currently, SINET5 provides a direct cloud connection service. In this service, commercial cloud providers connect their data centers to the SINET5 with high-speed link such as 10 Gbps link directly. Therefore, academic users can access cloud computing resources with very low latency and high bandwidth via SINET5. Thus, academic users can receive high-performance computer communication between campuses and cloud computing resources. Today, 17 cloud service providers are directly connected to SINET5 and more than 70 universities have been using cloud resources directly via SINET5.

To evaluate virtual technologies such as cloud computing and NFV technologies, we constructed at test-bed platform (shown as “NFV platform” in fig. 1) and will evaluate the network delay effect for ICT service with this test bed. NFV platform are constructed at four SINET-DCs on major cities in Japan: Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. At each site, the facilities are composed of computing resources, such as servers and storages, network resources, such as layer-2 switches, and controllers, such as NFV orchestrator, and cloud controller. The layer-2 switch is connected to a SINET5 router at the same site with high speed link, 100Gbps. The cloud controller configures servers and storages and NFV orchestrator configures the VNFs on NFV platform.

And user can setup and release VPNs between universities, commercial clouds and NFV platforms dynamically over SINET with on-demand controller. This on-demand controller setup the router with NETCONF interface. Also, this on-demand controller setup the VPN corelated with NFV platform with REST interface. 

Today there are many universities which has multiple campus deployed over wide area. In this multi-campus university, many VPNs (VLANs), ex hundreds of VPNs, are desired to be configured over SINET to extend inter-campus LAN. In order to satisfy this demand, SINET starts new VPN services, called virtual campus LAN service. With this service, layer 2 domains of multi-campus can be connected as like as layer 2 switch using preconfigured VLAN rages 

(ex. 1000-2000).


In this section, the proposed architecture is described. 

The architecture consists of two parts. First, we describe the network architecture and clarify the issues with it. Next, a NFV/cloud control architecture is described. 

A. Proposed multi-campus network architecture 

Multi-campus network architecture is shown in Figure 2. 

There are two legacy network architectures and a proposed network architecture. In legacy network architecture 1 (LA1), Internet traffic for multiple campuses is delivered to a main campus (shown as a green line) and checked by security devices. After that, the internet traffic is distributed to each campus (shown as a blue line). ICT Applications, such as Elearning services, are deployed in a main campus and access traffic to ICT application is carried by VPN over SINET (shown as a blue line). In legacy network architecture 2 (LA2), the Internet access is different from LA1. The Internet access is directly delivered to each campus and checked by security devices deployed at each campus. In the proposed architecture (PA), the main ICT application is moved from a main campus to an external NFV/cloud DC. 

Thus, students on both main and sub-campuses can access ICT applications via VPN over SINET. Also, internet traffic traverses via virtual network functions (VNFs), such as virtual routers and virtual security devices, located at NFV/cloud DCs. Internet traffic is checked in virtual security devices and delivered to each main/sub-campus via VPN over SINET.

There are pros and cons between these architectures. 

Here, they are compared across five points: access link utilization, security device utilization, network transmission delay, disaster tolerance, and manageability. 

(1) Access link utilization

The cost of an access link from sub-campus to WAN is same in LA1, LA2 and PA. While, the cost of an access link from a main campus to WAN of LA1 is larger than LA2 and PA because redundant traffic traverses through the link. 

While, in PA, an additional access link from a NFV/cloud DC to WAN is required. Thus, evaluating the total access link cost is important. In this evaluation, it is assumed that additional access links from NFV/cloud DCs to WAN are shared among multiple academic institutions who use the NFV/cloud platform and that the cost will be evaluated taking this sharing into account.

(2) Security device utilization

LA1 and PA is more efficient than LA2 because Internet traffic is concentrated in LA1 and PA and a statistically multiplexed traffic effect is expected. In addition to it, in PA, the amount of physical computing resources can be suppressed because virtual security devices share physical computing resources among multiple users. Therefore, the cost of virtual security devices for each user will be reduced.

(3) Network transmission delay

Network delay due to Internet traffic with LA1 is longer than that with LA2 and PA because Internet traffic to subcampuses is detoured and transits at the main campus in LA1, however, in LA2, network delay of Internet to sub-campuses is directly delivered from an Internet exchange point on a WAN to the sub-campus, so delay is suppressed. In PA, network delay can be suppressed because the NFV and cloud data center can be selected and located near an Internet access gateway on WAN.

While, the network delay for ICT application services will be longer in PA than it in LA1 and LA2. Therefore, the effect of a longer network delay on the quality of IT application services has to be evaluated. 

(4) Disaster tolerance 

Regarding Internet service, LA1 is less disaster tolerant than LA2. In LA1, when a disaster occurs around the main campus and the network functions of the campus go down, students on the other sub-campuses cannot access the internet at this time.

Regarding IT application service, IT services cannot be accessed by students when a disaster occurs around the main campus or data center. While, in PA, NFV/cloud DC is located in an environment robust against earthquakes and flooding. Thus, robustness is improved compared with LA1 and LA2.

Today, systems capable of disaster recovery (DR) are mandatory for academic institutions. Therefore, service disaster recovery functionality is required. In PA, back up ICT infrastructures located at a secondary data center can be shared with another user. Thus, no dedicated redundant resources are required in steady state operation, so the resource cost can be reduced. However, if VM migration cannot be fast enough to continue services, active-passive or active-passive replication have to be adopted. Therefore, reducing recovery time is required to adapt migration recovery to archive DR manageability more economically 

(5) Manageability

LA1 and PA is easier to manage than LA2. Because security devices are concentrated at a site (a main campus or NFV/cloud data center), the number of devices can be reduced and improving manageability. 

There are three issues to consider when adopting the PA. 

  1. Evaluating the access link cost of an NFV/cloud data center.
  2. Evaluating the network delay effect for ICT services. 
  3. Evaluating the migration period for migration recovery replication.

B. NFV and cloud control architecture For the following two reasons, there is strong demand to use legacy ICT systems continuously. Thus, legacy ICT systems have to be moved to NFV/cloud DCs as virtual application servers and virtual network functions. One reason is that institutions have developed their own legacy ICT systems on their own premises with vender specific features. 

The second reason is that an institution’s work flows are not easily changed, and the same usability for end users is required. Therefore, their legacy ICT infrastructures deployed on a campus premises should be continuously used in the NFV/cloud environment. In the proposed multicampus architecture, these application servers and network functions are controlled by using per-user orchestrators. 

Figure 3 shows the proposed control architecture. Each institution deploys their ICT system on IaaS services. VMs are created and deleted through the application interface (API), which is provided by IaaS providers. Each institution sets up an NFV orchestrator, application orchestrator, and management orchestrator on VMs. Both active and standby orchestrators are run in primary and secondary data centers, respectively, and both active and standby orchestrators check the aliveness of each other. The NFV orchestrator creates the VMs and installs the virtual network functions, such as routers and virtual firewalls, and configures them. The application orchestrator installs the applications on VMs and sets them up. The management orchestrator registers these applications and virtual network functions to monitoring tools and saves the logs outputted from the IT service applications and network functions.

When an active data center suffers from disaster and the active orchestrators go down, the standby orchestrators detect that the active orchestrators are down. They start establishing the virtual network functions and application and management functions. After that, the VPN is connected to the secondary data center being co-operated with the VPN controller of WAN.

In this architecture, each institution can select NFV orchestrators that support a user’s legacy systems. 


This section details an evaluation of the access link cost of proposed network architecture. Also, the test-bed configuration is introduced, and an evaluation of the migration period for migration recovery is shown. 

A. Access link cost of NFV/cloud data center In this sub-section, an evaluation of the access link cost of PA compared with LA1 is described. 

First, the network cost is defined as follows. 

There is an institution, u, that has a main campus and nu sub-campuses.

The traffic amount of institution u is defined as follows different sites can be connected between a user site and cloud sites by a SINET VPLS (Fig. 7). This VPLS can be dynamically established by a portal that uses the REST interface for the on-demand controller. For upper-layer services such as Web-based services, virtual network appliances, such as virtual routers, virtual firewalls, and virtual load balancers, are created in servers through the NFV orchestrater. DR capabilities for NFV orchestrator is under deployment.

C. Migiration period for disaster recovery 

We evaluated the VNF recovering process for disaster recovery. In this process, there are four steps. 

Step 1: Host OS installation

Step 2: VNF image copy

Step 3: VNF configuration copy

Step 4: VNF process activation

This process is started from the host OS installation because there are VNFs that are tightly coupled with the host OS and hypervisor. There are several kinds and versions of host OS, so the host OS can be changed to suite to the VNF. After host OS installation, VNF images are copied into the created VMs. Then, the VNF configuration parameters are adjusted to the attributions of the secondary data center environment (for example, VLAN-ID and IP address), and the configuration parameters are installed into VNF. After that, VNF is activated.

In our test environment, a virtual router can be recovered from the primary data center to the secondary data center, and the total duration of recovery is about 6 min. Each duration of Steps 1-4 is 3 min 13 sec, 3 min 19 sec, 11 sec, and 17 sec, respectively.

To shorten the recovery time, currently, the standby VNF is able to be pre-setup and activated. If the same configuration can be applied in the secondary data center network environment, snapshot recovering is also available. In this case, Step 1 is eliminated, and Steps 2 and 3 are replaced by copying a snap shot of an active VNF image, which takes about 30 sec. In this case, the recovering time is about 30 sec.


Our method using cloud and NFV functions can achieve DR with less cost. We proposed a multi-campus equipment virtualization architecture for cloud and NFV integrated service. The aim of this proposal is to migrate entire ICT infrastructures on campus premises into cloud and NFV platforms. This architecture would encourage academic institutions to migrate their own developed ICT systems located on their premises into a cloud environment. Adopting this architecture would make entire ICT systems secure and reliable, and the DR of ICT services could be economically manageable.

In addition, we also analyzed the cost function, and showed a cost advantages of this proposed architecture described implementation design issues, and reported a preliminary experimentation of the NFV DR transaction/

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