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The authors see an increasing demand for in-the-cloud middlebox processing as applications and enterprises want their cloud deployments to leverage the same benefits that such services offer in traditional deployments. Unfortunately, today's cloud middlebox deployments lack the same abstractions for flexible deployment and elastic scaling that have been instrumental to the adoption and success of cloud-based compute and storage services. The key challenge here is that such network processing workloads are fundamentally different from traditional virtualized compute and storage services. These differences arise as a consequence of the ways in which tenants need to compose different middlebox services and the network-level factors (e.g., placement, load balancing) that impact application performance.
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