Skip to main content
Information contained in this news release is current as of the date of the press announcement, but may be subject to change without prior notice.
February 12, 2015
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
ALAXALA Networks Corporation
Cisco Systems G.K.
Alcatel-Lucent Japan Ltd.
-Flexible formation of service chain by packet forwarding with service identification tag-
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) (Head Office, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Hiroo Unoura, President and CEO), ALAXALA Networks Corp. (ALAXALA) (Head Office, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa; Ikuho Minamikawa, President and CEO), Hitachi, Ltd. (Hitachi) (Head Office, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Toshiaki Higashihara, Representative Executive Officer and President and COO), Cisco Systems G.K. (Cisco) (Head Office, Minato-ku, Tokyo; Irving Tan, President), NEC Corp. (NEC) (Head Office, Minato-ku, Tokyo; Nobuhiro Endo, President), and Alcatel-Lucent Japan Ltd. (Alcatel-Lucent Japan) (Head Office, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; Nicolas Bouverot, President and CEO) have succeeded in the interoperability test of service function chaining, which is a packet forwarding method for service chaining; a technology to transfer packets to the appropriate service function in appropriate order. Service function chaining is currently being standardized in IETF as a method for using a tag that identifies the network service.
A demonstration of interoperability is scheduled for “NTT R&D Forum 2015”, which will be held at NTT Musashino R&D Center on February 19-20, 2015.
In addition, this demonstration has been applied to NFV ISG*2, a part of the European standards organization ETSI*3, to be approved as a Proof of Concept.
Network functions virtualisation (NFV) has received much attention in recent years and is being studied internationally. In NFV, functions related to network services (service functions) are implemented as software on a general purpose server.
To provide a flexible combination of virtualized service functions to the user, service chaining technology to forward packets to the appropriate service functions in the appropriate order is required. This technology has been actively discussed in IETF and other standards organizations.
NTT is comparing and analyzing multiple packet forwarding methods for achieving service chaining and has posted a draft of the analysis results to IETF SFC WG*4 in cooperation with Cisco and others.
Regarding service function chaining (SFC), which is a packet forwarding method for service chaining and currently being standardized in IETF, NTT and five vendors have prepared four components (Classifier, SFF, SFC Proxy and Controller), which are defined in SFC, and demonstrated the interoperability of SFC and verified the possibility of service chaining with SFC.
In service chaining technology, a service chain is defined for a flow that is divided for each user and service. The service chain is formed by tying the service functions to be provided to the flow. The packets in the flow are transferred to the appropriate service functions along the service chain. SFC is a packet forwarding method in which a new tag identifying the types of service functions and the order of service functions applied to the flow is attached to the packets, and the packets are transferred based on the tag. The four components defined in SFC are as follows.
In SFC, it is possible to add and change the service functions to be provided to the flow by simply changing the tag. Chain branching according to the processing results of the service function can also be achieved. Furthermore, the number of entries in the routing table in the SFF requires only the number of combinations of types and order of service functions regardless of the number of flows to be controlled.
In this experiment, NTT and five vendors prepared four components (Classifier, SFF, SFC Proxy and Controller), which are defined in SFC, and verified the interoperability of SFC. Each company's role was as follows.
NTT: Providing SFF, SFC Proxy, and Controller
ALAXALA: Providing Classifier, SFF, and SFC Proxy
Hitachi: Providing Classifier, SFF, and SFC Proxy
Cisco: Providing Classifier, SFF, and SFC Proxy
NEC: Providing Classifier, SFF, and SFC Proxy
Alcatel-Lucent Japan: Providing Classifier
We also verified the change in the chain route by tag replacement and chain branching according to the processing results of the service function.
We will continue to contribute to the global spread and international standardization in cooperation with telecom carriers and vendors for the early use of service chaining technology. By service chaining using the optimal packet forwarding method, we aim to provide flexible network service in the future.
The company names and other proper names in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.
Information Network Laboratory Group
Planning Department Public Relations Section
Telecommunications & Network Systems Division
Corporate Communications Division