A new trend in the networking area has emerged in the last few years: the virtualization of network functions. NFV (Network Virtualization Function), as defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), is the key technology that leverages this concept. It involves implementing network functions in software that can run on a range of industry standard commodity server hardware. This initiative favors the progressive deployment of new network functions or protocols.
The DOCTOR project provides a major push towards the adoption of these new standards by enabling a secure use of virtualized network equipment, which will ease the deployment of novel networking architectures. In the project, we take the use-case of NDN as an example of a new emerging stack. We investigate the co-existence of IP and NDN, and the progressive migration of traffic from one stack to the other in a virtualized environment. To reach this aim, we advocate a practical methodology consisting of setting up a real testbed. This testbed allow real end-users to access real web sites using the developed virtualized networking environment, hosting the NDN networking stack in parallel with IP. The deployed testbed will provide real traces and give feedback to guide our research, targeting the improvement of the monitoring and security aspects of the virtualized architecture.
Monitoring and security are primary operator requirements that need to be assured before deploying new solutions. In DOCTOR, we investigate how to monitor networks stacks deployed in a virtualized environment, regarding: the type of information to monitor, the way to collect it and the way to analyse/correlate the information gathered. This monitored data will be useful for security purposes. Leveraging a virtualized networking technology requires a full rethought of the way the security has to be designed, implemented and orchestrated. In DOCTOR, we focus on the secure deployment, attack detection and mitigation, for protocols deployed in an NFV framework as network functions.
The DOCTOR consortium (Orange, Thales, Montimage, CNRS-LORIA, ICD) is very complementary and provides the necessary expertise and skills: network operator, security experts, monitoring solution providers and recognized academic partners operating security labs at the national level. The project outcomes will have a major impact on the industrial partners' evolution. Deploying a virtualized infrastructure will allow Orange to innovate more in the network and offer new opportunities to its customers (both end-users and B2B customers). Thales will integrate results of the project into their Cyber Operational Centers (CYBELS) offer, such as the assessment of novel vulnerabilities related to virtualized networking environments that add considerable value to their existing offer. Montimage will extend its monitoring (MMT) solution with the project's outcomes related to monitoring, security inspection and performance analysis, in order to provide customized solutions in the field of virtualized function monitoring.