In this paper, we identify the main challenges and problems related with the management and orchestration of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) over aerial networks built with Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs). Our analysis starts from a reference scenario, where several SUAVs are deployed over a delimited geographic area, and provide a mobile cloud environment that supports the deployment of functions and services using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technologies. After analyzing the main challenges to NFV orchestration in this reference scenario from a theoretical perspective, we undertake the study of one specific but relevant aspect following a practical perspective, i.e., the limitations of existing transport-layer solutions to support the dissemination of NFV management and orchestration information in the considered scenario. While in traditional cloud computing environments this traffic is delivered using TCP, our simulation results suggest that using this protocol over an aerial network of SUAVs presents certain limitations. Finally, based on the lessons learned from our practical analysis, the paper outlines different alternatives that could be followed to address these challenges.
nfv; management and orchestration (mano); suav; intermittent availability