A virtualization infrastructure cost model for 5g network slice provisioning in a smart factory

Network slicing is a key enabler for providing new services to industry verticals. In order to enable network slice provisioning, it is important to study the network slice type allocation for different device types in a real industrial case. Furthermore, the costs of the required virtualization infrastructure need to be analyzed for various cloud deployment scenarios. In this paper, a cost model for the virtualization infrastructure needed for network slice provisioning is developed and subsequently applied to a real smart factory. In the model, slice types and devices are mapped such that each factory device is provisioned with one or more slice types, as required. The number of devices to be supported per slice type is forecasted for 2021–2030, and the total costs of ownership, costs per slice type, and costs for every slice type, for each device are calculated. The results are analyzed for three cloud deployment scenarios: local, distributed, and centralized. The centralized scenario was found to have the lowest cost. Moreover, sensitivity analysis is conducted by varying the device growth, the number of factories, the level of isolation between network slices, and resource overbooking. The resulting evaluation and cost breakdown can help stakeholders select a suitable deployment scenario, gauge their investments, and exercise suitable pricing.