Network Function Virtualization (Coursera)

Network Function Virtualization is a free online MOOC Course, Offered by the Georgia Institute of Technology via Coursera. This course is 4 of 4 in the System Issues in Cloud Computing Specialization.

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Network Function Virtualization Coursera
Network Function Virtualization (Coursera)


Network Function Virtualization course covers Network Function Virtualization from the perspective of a systems engineer. It first discusses the proliferation of middleboxes in enterprise networks and the necessity of virtualizing these components just like software applications.

It then details several optimizations in operating systems to facilitate efficient networking on virtualized hardware followed by design decisions in user-plane libraries for bypassing the kernel for efficient packet processing.

It then covers the challenges and solutions for building scalable systems for providing networking services in data centers, specifically the synergy between SDN and NFV to achieve this. The course concludes with a discussion of real-world applications of NFV technology in the cloud computing ecosystem.


WEEK 1 – Introduction to Network Functions

This module introduces the viewer to network functions: What is the origin of network functions? What is the role of middleboxes in realizing network functions? What are the network management issues with the proliferation of middleboxes? The introduction will walk the viewer through these topics and the move towards network functions as virtualized software services.

WEEK 2 – Developing Virtual Network Functions

This module takes an in-depth look at virtual network functions. In particular, the viewer is introduced to the issues in developing virtual network functions and the emerging technologies for aiding the performance-conscious development of virtual network functions.

WEEK 4 – Deploying Virtualized Network Functions in Managed Cloud infrastructures

This module discusses techniques that enable offloading NFV workload to a managed Cloud (as opposed to on-premise clusters), as well as other developments in the telecommunications industry that makes offloading NFV workloads viable

WEEK 5 – Guest Lecture for an Industry Perspective

WEEK 6- Project

This project involves the implementation of a control plane for the orchestration of network function chains. The final system would allow NFV system administrators to register and launch NF chains belonging to multiple tenants on shared physical infrastructure.

Additionally, the control plane would provide interfaces for scaling existing NF chains in response to workload changes. The virtual infrastructure would be implemented using Docker, while network programming would be done using the Ryu SDN controller.


  • Umakishore Ramchandran

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7 Hours

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6 Weeks

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English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

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