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A Performance Comparison of Containers and Unikernels for Reliable 5G Environments

Filipe, J. ; Meneses, F. ; Rehman, A. ; Corujo, D. ; Aguiar, R.

A Performance Comparison of Containers and Unikernels for Reliable 5G Environments, Proc International Conference on the Design of Reliable Communication Networks DRCN, Coimbra, Portugal, Vol. , pp. - , March, 2019.

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Abstract
The fifth generation (5G) of telecommunications network envisions a fully connected society, where critical and reliable services play a major role in support to the industry. Emerging technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) have been the focus of 5G to cope with increasing traffic demands, while fog computing promises to lower latencies by bringing new computational and network functionalities to the edge of the network. In this line, NFV allows network functions to be virtualised in generic hardware, providing faster deployment and re-instantiation in case of failure. This paper has two main contributions. First, it compares the use of two virtualisation technologies, namely containers and unikernels, for virtual network function (VNF) instantiation in computational limited resources, envisioning the deployment of VNFs close to the end-nodes contributing to facilitate resilient communication networks in critical scenarios. Second, it addresses e concern that the probability of failure increases with the hardware limitation, imposing the development of failure detection and recovery mechanisms. In this line, we developed a failure detection and recovery mechanism able to ensure VNF reliability by dynamically instantiating a backup VNF before failure and using SDN to redirect the necessary data flows. Finally, the results showed that our mechanism was able to ensure near zero downtime, showcasing the feasibility of the solution.