Operating Systems and Hypervisors for Network Functions: A Survey of Enabling Technologies and Research Studies

Akhilesh S. Thyagaturu, Prateek Shantharama, Ahmed Nasrallah, Martin Reisslein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Scalable and flexible communication networks increasingly conduct the packet processing for Network Functions (NFs) in General Purpose Computing (GPC) platforms. The input/output (I/O)-intensive and latency-sensitive packet processing is challenging for the operating systems and hypervisors running on GPC platforms. This article surveys the existing enabling technologies and research studies on operating system and hypervisor aspects that directly influence the packet processing for NFs on GPC platforms. We organize this survey according to the main categories abstraction approach, memory access, and I/O strategy. We further categorize abstraction approach technologies and research studies into the categories operation systems, hypervisors, and containers. We partition the memory access category into the two sub-categories of memory allocation and memory access, while we partition the I/O strategy category into the sub-categories I/O device virtualization and I/O device access. Our survey gives a comprehensive summary of the capabilities and limitations of the existing enabling technologies and researched approaches for abstraction, memory access, and I/O for NF packet processing. We outline critical future research directions for advancing NF packet processing on GPC platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79825-79873
Number of pages49
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2022


  • Acceleration offloading
  • I/O virtualization
  • container
  • hypervisor
  • memory access
  • virtual machine
  • virtualization approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Computer Science(all)


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