This page documents various definitions used in Ligato.


Cloud-Native Virtual Network Functions

So what is a cloud-native virtual network function?

A virtual network function (or VNF), as commonly known today, is a software implementation of a network function that runs on one or more virtual machines (VMs) on top of the hardware networking infrastructure — routers, switches, etc. Individual virtual network functions can be connected or combined together as building blocks to offer a full-scale networking communication service. A VNF may be implemented as standalone entity using existing networking and orchestration paradigms - for example being managed through CLI, SNMP or Netconf. Alternatively, an NFV may be a part of an SDN architecture, where the control plane resides in an SDN controller and the data plane is implemented in the VNF.

A cloud-native VNF is a VNF designed for the emerging cloud environment - it runs in a container rather than a VM, its lifecycle is orchestrated by a container orchestration system, such as Kubernetes, and it’s using cloud-native orchestration paradigms. In other words, its control/management plane looks just like any other container based 12-factor app. to orchestrator or external clients it exposes REST or gRPC APIs, data stored in centralized KV data stores, communicate over message bus, cloud-friendly logging and config, cloud friendly build & deployment process, etc., Depending on the desired functionality, scale and performance, a cloud-native VNF may provide a high-performance data plane, such as the VPP.