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Autonomic Networking Integrated Model and Approach (anima) (WG)

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Operations and Management Area Area Director(s):

Assigned Area Director

Technical Advisor(s)


Meeting Slides:

Blue Sheets:

No Current Internet-Drafts

No Request for Comments

Charter (as of 2014-11-03):

Autonomic networking refers to the self-managing characteristics
(configuration, protection, healing, and optimization) of distributed
network elements, adapting to unpredictable changes while hiding
intrinsic complexity from operators and users. Autonomic Networking,
which often involves closed-loop control, is applicable to the complete
network (functions) lifecycle (e.g. installation, commissioning,
operating, etc). An autonomic function that works in a distributed way
across various network elements is a candidate for protocol design. Such
functions should allow central guidance and reporting, and co-existence
with non-autonomic methods of management. The general objective of
this working group is to enable the progressive introduction of
autonomic functions into operational networks, as well as reusable
autonomic network infrastructure, in order to reduce the OpEx.

This work builds on definitions and design goals, as well as a simple
architecture model undertaken in the Network Management Research Group
(NMRG) of the IRTF (See draft-irtf-nmrg-an-gap-analysis and its
companion draft-irtf-nmrg-autonomic-network-definitions).

Elements of autonomic functions already exist today. However, all such
functions today have their own discovery, node identification,
negotiation, transport, messaging and security mechanisms as well as
non-autonomic management interfaces. There is no common infrastructure
for distributed functions. This leads to inefficiencies. Additionally,
management and optimisation of operational device configurations is
expensive, tedious, and prone to human error. A simple example is
assigning address prefixes to network segments in a large and constantly
changing network. Similarly, repair or bypassing of faults requires
human intervention and causes significant down time.

This WG will develop a system of autonomic functions that carry out the
intentions of the network operator without the need for detailed low-
level management of individual devices. This will be done by providing a
secure closed-loop interaction mechanism whereby network elements
cooperate directly to satisfy management intent. The working group will
develop a control paradigm where network processes coordinate their
decisions and automatically translate them into local actions, based on
various sources of information including operator-supplied configuration
information or from the existing protocols, such as routing protocol,

While a complete solution for full autonomic networking is an ambitious
goal, the initial scope of this working group's effort is much more
modest: the specification of a minimum set of specific reusable
infrastructure components to support autonomic interactions between
devices, and to specify the application of these components to one or
two elementary use cases of general value. Practically, these components
should be capable of providing the following services to those
distributed functions:
o a common way to identify nodes
o a common security model
o a discovery mechanism
o a negotiation mechanism to enable closed-loop interaction
o a secure and logically separated communications channel
o a consistent autonomic management model

ANIMA and HOMENET will need to co-ordinate to ensure that the
commonalities and differences in solutions are properly taken into
account. Where suitable protocols, models or methods exist, they will be
preferred over creating new ones.

It is preferred that autonomic functions would co-exist with traditional
methods of management and configuration, and the initial focus would be
on self-configuration. Future work may include a more detailed systems
architecture to support the development of autonomic service agents. The
ANIMA working group focuses on professionally-managed networks. Like
traditional network management, the topological scope of autonomic
functions is expected to be limited by administrative boundaries.

The goal of this working group shall be to develop one or more protocol
specifications (or extensions to existing protocols) to address the
following problem areas. These were selected to according to the
analyzed technical gaps
in draft-irtf-nmrg-an-gap-analysis:
o Discovery for autonomic nodes
o Negotiation for autonomic nodes
Starting point: draft-carpenter-anima-gdn-protocol
o Bootstrapping a trust infrastructure
Starting point: draft-pritikin-anima-bootstrapping-keyinfra
o Separated Autonomic Control Plane
Starting point: draft-behringer-anima-autonomic-control-plane

The design of these proposals should clearly target reusability.

In addition, the WG will validate the application and reusability of the
components to the following two use cases:
o A solution for distributed IPv6 prefix management within a large-scale
Although prefix delegation is currently supported, it relies on human
action to subdivide and assign prefixes according to local requirements,
and this process could become autonomic.
o A solution for always-on, data plane independent connectivity between
network elements (i.e., stable in the case of mis-configurations), which
can be used for call home, network provisioning, or simply trouble-

It is essential that these components and solutions fit together as an
integrated whole. For this reason, a reference document will be
developed in parallel with the individual specifications.

The initial set of work items is limited to the above list to stay
focused and avoid "boiling the ocean". Additional documents concerning
other autonomic infrastructure components, policy intent, use cases or
autonomic service agents are strongly encouraged, as individual
submissions, or as submissions to the IRTF Network Network Management
Research Group. Additional work items may only be added with approval
from the responsible Area Director or by re-chartering.

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