In this tutorial paper, we look into the evolution and prospect of network architecture and propose a novel conceptual architecture for the 6th generation (6G) networks. The proposed architecture has two key elements, i.e., holistic network virtualization and pervasive artificial intelligence (AI). The holistic network virtualization consists of network slicing and digital twin, from the aspects of service provision and service demand, respectively, to incorporate service-centric and user-centric networking. The pervasive network intelligence integrates AI into future networks from the perspectives of networking for AI and AI for networking, respectively. Building on holistic network virtualization and pervasive network intelligence, the proposed architecture can facilitate three types of interplay, i.e., the interplay between digital twin and network slicing paradigms, between model-driven and data-driven methods for network management, and between virtualization and AI, to maximize the flexibility, scalability, adaptivity, and intelligence for 6G networks. We also identify challenges and open issues related to the proposed architecture. By providing our vision, we aim to inspire further discussions and developments on the potential architecture of 6G.
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