Co-hosted at The 8th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization (IEEE NetSoft 2022) will be held on June 27, 2022, in Milan, Italy. IEEE NetSoft has been created as a flagship conference aiming at addressing "Softwarization" of networks and systemic trends concerning the convergence of Cloud Computing, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).
Since its conception, S4SI has aimed at providing a focused international forum for researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, network operators, and service providers to discuss and address the advances and the challenges in the multi-faceted field of Slicing plus its emerging scenarios whereby systems, services, and workflows used in both computing and communications domains are converging and can benefit from the new techniques and strategies of infrastructure softwarization.
The current trend of convergence between computing and networking eco-systems puts software into an unprecedented and dominant role in operational communication environments. Computing, storage and connectivity services along with application instances are foreseen to be dynamically deployed in the form of slices of virtualized assets within a so-called Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) leveraging general-purpose processing and communication hardware, altogether being flexible managed and made available under “as-a-Service” paradigms in spirit of Cloud Computing. This concept is summarized in the idea of Slicing which has become a central piece in the evolution of telecom networks, as we witnessed in the past four editions of S4SI, as well as in other scientific and industrial venues.
Furthermore, there is an increasing need for the realization of a compute continuum from IoT-to-Edge-to-Cloud. In this respect, network slicing will be at the forefront in order to support the deployment and operation of new services and applications across IoT devices and edge/core clouds. This entails significant challenges for the unified management and orchestration of resources across the network edge and cloud infrastructures, potentially owned and managed by different operators. Potential intertwining of network slicing mechanisms with ad-hoc clouds and digital twinning raises further research questions, which will be of particular interest for the workshop.
The S4SI workshop addresses beyond state of the art approaches for both the advances and challenges related to Slicing in Softwarized Infrastructures, aiming for a faster and improved deployment of services in current 5G and beyond environments en route to 6G. The advances and challenges are expected to be multiple, and there are clearly many open questions that need to be addressed, including:
- At what level of abstraction slicing should be introduced, i.e., whether it is better implementing slicing mechanisms into existing frameworks, orchestrators and infrastructure managers via adapting their components, or it is more convenient implementing slicing in a way that it will be transparent to them;
- What abstraction models, APIs and mechanisms would be required in order to implement slicing in any of the above scenarios, and what the tradeoff between complexity and performance would be;
- How do the existing resource technologies of computing, storage and network can seamlessly be managed, orchestrated and controlled as part of end-to-end slices
- How end-to-end slices can automatically be defined and allocated on-demand – as a service – to host network services with similar requirements in terms of SLA and QoS
- What APIs, algorithms and orchestration mechanisms are required for secure and optimized communication between co-located slices in order to enable B2B synergies
- How to integrate novel approaches that could facilitate the lifecycle management of slices on SDI, like intent-based mechanisms, smart operation based on Artificial Intelligence, etc.
- How to exploit advanced technologies at both control and data planes for the realization of slices
The proposed workshop S4SI aims at addressing the multiple open questions around the realization of end-to-end sliced softwarized infrastructures and the fundamental challenges that will facilitate the envisioned intelligent orchestration and programmability of SDIs, enabling faster deployment and efficient operation of integrated services across different resource domains. Such advances in future ecosystems, like 5G and beyond, are expected to enable dynamic establishment of generalized virtual function chains, according to service requirements.
Big Data Analytics are being applied to harness the immense stream of operational data from the Sliced infrastructure in order to perform analytics processing to improve reliability, configuration, orchestration, performance, and security management of slices. To this end, further research is needed to effectively realize the integration of Slicing with intelligent mechanisms based on data collected from the SDI itself.
The authors of the best technical papers will be invited to submit content extended versions of their papers to a fast-track review in selected journals, e.g.:, IEEE Communications Magazine Series on Telecom Software, Network Virtualization, and Software Defined Networks.