Virtual network embedding: ensuring correctness and optimality by construction using model transformation and integer linear programming techniques


Virtualization technology allows service providers to operate data centers in a cost-effective and scalable manner. The data center network (substrate network) and the applications executed in the data center (virtual networks) are often modeled as graphs. The nodes of the graphs represent (physical or virtual) servers and switches, and the edges represent communication links. Nodes and links are annotated with the provided and required resources (e.g., memory and bandwidth). The NP-hard virtual network embedding (VNE) problem deals with the embedding of a set of virtual networks to the substrate network such that (i) all (resource) constraints of the substrate network are fulfilled, and (ii) an objective is optimized (e.g., minimizing the communication costs). The existing two-step highly customizable model-driven virtual network embedding (MdVNE) approach combines model transformation (MT) and integer linear programming (ILP) techniques to solve the VNE problem based on a declarative specification. MdVNE generates element mapping candidates from an MT specification and identifies an optimal and correct embeddings using an ILP solver. In the past, developers created the MT and ILP specifications manually and needed to ensure carefully that both are compatible and respect the problem description. In this article, we present a novel construction methodology for synthesizing the MT and ILP specification from a given declarative model-based VNE problem description. This problem description consists of a metamodel for substrate and virtual networks, additional OCL constraints, and an objective function that assigns costs to a given model. This methodology ensures that the derived embeddings are correct w.r.t. the metamodel and the OCL constraints, and optimal w.r.t. the optimization goal. The novel model-based VNE specification is applicable to different network domains, environments, and constraints. Thus, the construction methodology allows to automate most of the steps to realize a correct and optimal VNE algorithm compared to a hand-crafted VNE implementation. Furthermore, the simulative evaluation confirms that using MT techniques reduces the time for solving the VNE problem considerably in comparison with a purely ILP-based approach.

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This work was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of project A1 within the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1053 – MAKI.

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Correspondence to Stefan Tomaszek.

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Communicated by Davide Di Ruscio.



In the appendix we present the restrictions that are not necessary for understanding the work. In Appendix A.1, we present all further restrictions from Sect. 2.1.2. Afterward, we present in Appendix A.2 the constraints and graph constraints from Sect. 3.2.3 (Figs. 21, 22).

VNE problem description

In this section, we present all node and link constraints relating to Sects. 2.1.2 and 2.2.3


Further ILP node constraints


Further ILP link constraints


Construction of MT specification

In this section, we present the additional relaxed and graph constraints related to Sect. 3.2.3.


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Tomaszek, S., Speith, R. & Schürr, A. Virtual network embedding: ensuring correctness and optimality by construction using model transformation and integer linear programming techniques. Softw Syst Model (2021).

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  • Data center
  • Virtual network embedding
  • Model-driven development
  • Integer linear programming
  • Model transformation
  • Graph transformation
  • Triple-graph grammar
  • Object Constraint Language