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Clouds of virtual machines in edge networks

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5 Author(s)

This article addresses the potential impact of emerging technologies and solutions, such as software defined networking and network function virtualization, on carriers' network evolution. It is argued that standard hardware advances and these emerging paradigms can bring the most impactful disruption at the network's edge, enabling the deployment of clouds of nodes using standard hardware: it will be possible to virtualize network and service functions, which are provided today by expensive middleboxes, and move them to the edge, as close as possible to users. Specifically, this article identifies some of key technical challenges behind this vision, such as dynamic allocation, migration, and orchestration of ensembles of virtual machines across wide areas of interconnected edge networks. This evolution of the network will profoundly affect the value chain: it will create new roles and business opportunities, reshaping the entire ICT world.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 7 )