(FPT-)Approximation Algorithms for the Virtual Network Embedding Problem

Matthias Rost, Stefan Schmid

Many resource allocation problems in the cloud can be described as a basic Virtual Network Embedding Problem (VNEP): finding mappings of request graphs (describing the workloads) onto a substrate graph (describing the physical infrastructure). In the offline setting, the two natural objectives are profit maximization, i.e., embedding a maximal number of request graphs subject to the resource constraints, and cost minimization, i.e., embedding all requests at minimal overall cost. The VNEP can be seen as a generalization of classic routing and call admission problems, in which requests are arbitrary graphs whose communication endpoints are not fixed. Due to its applications, the problem has been studied intensively in the networking community. However, the underlying algorithmic problem is hardly understood. This paper presents the first fixed-parameter tractable approximation algorithms for the VNEP. Our algorithms are based on randomized rounding. Due to the flexible mapping options and the arbitrary request graph topologies, we show that a novel linear program formulation is required. Only using this novel formulation the computation of convex combinations of valid mappings is enabled, as the formulation needs to account for the structure of the request graphs. Accordingly, to capture the structure of request graphs, we introduce the graph-theoretic notion of extraction orders and extraction width and show that our algorithms have exponential runtime in the request graphs' maximal width. Hence, for request graphs of fixed extraction width, we obtain the first polynomial-time approximations. Studying the new notion of extraction orders we show that (i) computing extraction orders of minimal width is NP-hard and (ii) that computing decomposable LP solutions is in general NP-hard, even when restricting request graphs to planar ones.

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