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White Paper: Wide area network traffic engineering – meeting the challenges of the distributed cloud

The evolution toward Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) as developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) requires a distributed cloud that allows the creation, deletion, and free movement of virtual machines across different geographical locations.

As a consequence, a wide area network (WAN) that inter-connects the distributed cloud must be able to deal with more dynamically changing traffic patterns. New solutions that allow for automated and cost-efficient mapping of traffic flows to available network resources are needed to keep transmission costs low and network performance up.

Traffic Engineering (TE) with a centralized control plane is proposed as a new method of achieving network elasticity while maximizing resource utilization in the wide area network that connects the distributed cloud.

The approach is characterized by two concepts:

  • abstracting data centers as virtual Provider Edge (vPE)
  • TE with centralized path computation (PCE).

Segment Routing (SR) is evaluated as a novel data-plane technology that promises simpler and more scalable ways of managing paths in Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks.