Network function virtualization: A survey

Malathi Veeraraghavan, Takehiro Sato, Molly Buchanan, Reza Rahimi, Satoru Okamoto, Naoaki Yamanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The objectives of this survey are to provide an in-depth coverage of a few selected research papers that have made significant contributions to the development of Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and to provide readers insights into the key advantages and disadvantages of NFV and Software Defined Networks (SDN) when compared to traditional networks. The research papers covered are classified into four categories: NFV Infrastructure (NFVI), Network Functions (NFs), Management And Network Orchestration (MANO), and service chaining. The NFVI papers describe "framework" software that implement common functions, such as dynamic scaling and load balancing, required by NF developers. Papers on NFs are classified as offering solutions for software switches or middleboxes. MANO papers covered in this survey are primarily on resource allocation (virtual network embedding), which is an orchestrator function. Finally, service chaining papers that offer examples and extensions are reviewed. Our conclusions are that with the current level of investment in NFV from cloud and Internet service providers, the promised cost savings are likely to be realized, though many challenges remain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1978-1991
Number of pages14
JournalIEICE Transactions on Communications
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov


  • Middleboxes
  • Network Function Virtualization
  • Orchestrators
  • Software Defined Networks
  • Software switches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Network function virtualization: A survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this