OSM PoC 14 Leveraging OSM virtual networking in Kubernetes clusters

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PoC Team Members

  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)

All Poc team members are OSM members or participants

  • Main contacts:
    • UC3M: Luis F. González (luisfgon _at_ it.uc3m.es)
    • UC3M: Borja Nogales (bdorado _at_ pa.uc3m.es)
    • UC3M: Iván Vidal (ividal _at_ it.uc3m.es)
    • UC3M: Francisco Valera (fvalera _at_ it.uc3m.es)


It is undeniable that virtualisation and containerisation technologies have been key enablers of the 5th generation of mobile networks (5G). Particularly, micro-services have revolutionised how network applications can be developed and deployed over cloud and edge environments. However, due to their reliance on flat-networking approaches to interconnect the elements of an application, their orchestration with platforms like OSM can be limited: even though OSM has the tools for the deployment of network services in micro-service platforms like Kubernetes, the connectivity requirements of a network service descriptor may not be preserved because Kubernetes Network Functions (KNFs) can only be connected at the IP layer.

This Proof of Concept (PoC) explores the use of OSM for the deployment of Network Services (NSes) in Kubernetes clusters, using the L2S-M operator for the creation of Link Layer based virtual networks inside the cluster to interconnect the Cloud Network Functions (CNFs) that build the NS. The validation of this PoC is performed through the deployment of a NS that implements a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service. The results from this PoC showcase that, although OSM has the potential for the deployment and management of virtual networks in virtual infrastructure management solutions, this cannot be completely exploited in K8s due to the limitations of its network model. The utilization of the L2S-M operator through a new OSM southbound interface could effectively address this limitation and take full advantage of OSM virtual networking in K8s clusters.

PoC Key Takeaways

  • This PoC demonstrates that, with a set of specific adaptations, OSM can manage virtual networks on Kubernetes (K8s) clusters, satisfying the connectivity requirements of network services composed by Kubernetes Network Functions (KNFs), as they are defined in their corresponding service descriptors.
  • OSM supports the deployment of KNFs in a K8s cluster. This is achieved with helm charts.
  • In this PoC, the L2S-M K8s operator is used to create and manage the virtual networks inside the K8s cluster. This operator takes advantage of Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies to create virtual networks, which can be allocated to KNFs and support their data exchange.
  • This PoC details the different steps involved in the deployment of a network service composed of several KNFs where different virtual networks enable the communication among them. In particular, the service included in this PoC is based on a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • One of the insights obtained in this PoC is that the potential of OSM virtual networking cannot be completely exploited in K8s. The OSM community is addressing this with the design and implementation of an OSM feature that enables the connectivity among KNFs using SDN technologies (feature 10921).
  • The PoC is totally based on open-source technologies (i.e., OSM, K8s, helm and L2S-M).

PoC Proposal

OSM Version and Components

  • OSM Release THIRTEEN (subsequent releases might also be used).
  • Ongoing work: upgrade to the latest OSM Release


  1. The following link contains a video showcasing the development of this PoC, including the deployment of the CDN-based service using KNFs. Additionally, the video provides further details about the validation process and the results of this PoC:
  2. OSM PoC#14 was demonstrated at OSM-MR#14 Ecosystem Day on March 2023

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