ParaBox: Exploiting parallelism for virtual network functions in service chaining

Yang Zhang, Bilal Anwer, Vijay Gopalakrishnan, Bo Han, Joshua Reich, Aman Shaikh, Zhi-Li Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

75 Scopus citations


Service Function Chains (SFCs) comprise a sequence of Network Functions (NFs) that are typically traversed in-order by data flows. Consequently, SFC delay grows linearly with the length of the SFC. Yet, for highly latency sensitive applications, this delay may be unacceptable - particularly when the constituent NFs are virtualized, running on commodity servers. In this paper, we investigate how SFC latency may be reduced by exploiting opportunities for parallel packet processing across NFs. We propose ParaBox, a novel hybrid packet processing architecture that, when possible, dynamically distributes packets to VNFs in parallel and merges their outputs intelligently to ensure the preservation of correct sequential processing semantics. To demonstrate the feasibility of our approach, we implement a ParaBox prototype on top of the DPDK-enabled Berkeley Extensible Software Switch. Our preliminary experiment results show that ParaBox can not only significantly reduce the service chaining latency, but also improve throughput.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSOSR 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Symposium on SDN Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349475
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017
Event2017 Symposium on SDN Research, SOSR 2017 - Santa Clara, United States
Duration: Apr 3 2017Apr 4 2017

Publication series

NameSOSR 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Symposium on SDN Research


Other2017 Symposium on SDN Research, SOSR 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Clara

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by NSF grants CNS-1411636, CNS 1618339 and CNS 1617729, DTRA grant HDTRA1-14-1-0040 and DoD ARO MURI Award W911NF-12-1-0385.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 ACM.


  • Network function virtualization
  • Service function chaining


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