Autonomic Networking Integrated Model and Approach

The information below is for an older proposed charter
Document Proposed charter Autonomic Networking Integrated Model and Approach WG (anima) Snapshot
Title Autonomic Networking Integrated Model and Approach
Last updated 2014-09-24
State Draft Charter Rechartering
WG State BOF
IESG Responsible AD Robert Wilton
Charter Edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


Autonomic networking refers to the self-managing characteristics of distributed
network elements, adapting to unpredictable changes while hiding intrinsic
complexity from operators and users. It often involves closed-loop control. An
autonomic function works in a distributed way across various network elements,
but allowing central guidance and reporting, and co-existence with
non-autonomic methods of management. Elements of autonomic functions already
exist today, for example aspects of IGP routing protocols such as OSPF,
although their initial configuration process is not autonomic. However, all
such functions today have their own discovery, transport, messaging and
security mechanisms as well as non-autonomic management interfaces. The general
objective of this working group is to enable the progressive introduction of
autonomic behaviors into operational networks, as well as reusable autonomic
network infrastructure.

The ANIMA working group will cover the four areas of self-management:
configuration, protection, healing and optimization, and aims to be equally
applicable to the complete network (functions) lifecycle (e.g. installation,
commissioning, operating, etc).

[previous work]
To transform the somewhat abstract Autonomic Networking concept into concrete,
realisable requirements, the first stage, undertaken in the Network Management
Research Group (NMRG) of the IRTF, was to define terminology and design goals,
and to derive a high-level gap analysis. The definitions and design goals, as
well as a simple architecture model are defined in
draft-irtf-nmrg-autonomic-network-definitions; the gap analysis for AN is
described in draft-irtf-nmrg-an-gap-analysis. The UCAN BoF at IETF 90 discussed
use cases and some existing solutions. All the above work serves as a baseline
for this working group.

[problem statement]
Certain network functions are today implemented in a distributed way, and new
distributed network functions keep being developed. Currently, every
distributed function defines its own way to identify nodes, to communicate,
discover and negotiate between nodes, and to secure the interactions: there is
no common infrastructure for distributed functions. Consequently, network
administrators are required to define and configure node identities, security
schemes, etc, for each distributed mechanism separately. Vendors need to
implement parallel mechanisms for similar tasks. This leads to inefficiencies.
Additionally, central configuration, 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. Autonomic networking is
intended to reduce OpEx by mitigating this duplication of similar mechanisms
and heavy dependency on human actions, in particular by facilitating secure
closed-loop interaction directly between network elements to satisfy management
intent. This motivates the introduction of a control paradigm where network
processes, driven by objectives (or intent), coordinate their local decisions,
autonomically translate them into local actions, and adapt them automatically
according to various sources of information including external information and
protocol information bases. This paradigm which mainly relies on closed-loop
adaptive control is referred to an autonomic networking.

[scope of initial effort]
A complete solution for full autonomic networking would be a very ambitious
goal. The scope of this working group's effort for the initial stage is
much more modest: it is to define 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.

[main goal]
The main goal of the ANIMA WG is therefore to develop common infrastructure
components for distributed functions. The infrastructure 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

[preference for existing methods]
Where suitable protocols, models or methods exist, they will be preferred over
creating new ones.

[co-existence with traditional management]
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 will initially focus on enterprise, ISP networks and IoT. Like
traditional network management, the topological scope of autonomic functions is
expected to be limited by administrative boundaries.

[specific goals]
The goals of this working group are below. The were selected to according to
the analyzed technical gaps in draft-irtf-nmrg-an-gap-analysis: o Definition of
a discovery functionality for autonomic functions o Definition of a negotiation
protocol for autonomic functions
   Starting point: draft-jiang-config-negotiation-protocol
o Definition of a solution to bootstrap a trust infrastructure
   Starting point: draft-pritikin-bootstrapping-keyinfrastructures
o Definition of a solution for a separated Autonomic Control Plane
   Starting point: draft-behringer-autonomic-control-plane

Each proposal should have its own motivation and complete workflow as autonomic
process. The design of these proposals should clearly target to be reusable by
other use cases. The WG will verify all proposed solutions to make sure the
components are reusable, necessary and sufficient.

In addition, autonomic service agents will demonstrate the usage of the above
mentioned autonomic infrastructure components with two use cases: o A solution
for distributed IPv6 prefix management within a network. 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

It is essential that these components and solutions fit together as an
integrated whole. For this reason, an overview 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.


Nov 2014 - WG formation and adoption of initial drafts (see "specific
           - Mar IETF 92nd -
Apr 2015 - adoption of solution draft(s) (see "use cases")
Jun 2015 - WGLC for discovery and negotiation protocol
           - Jul IETF 93rd -
Aug 2015 - submit discovery and negotiation protocol to IESG (standards track)
Aug 2015 - adoption of overview draft
Oct 2015 - WGLC for trust bootstrap draft
Oct 2015 - WGLC for solution draft
           - Nov IETF 94th -
Dec 2015 - submit trust bootstrap draft to IESG (standards track)
Dec 2015 - submit solution draft(s) to IESG (standards track)
Jan 2016 - WGLC for autonomic control plane draft
Jan 2016 - WGLC for overview draft
           - Mar IETF 95th -
Apr 2016 - submit autonomic control plane draft to IESG (standards track)
Apr 2016 - submit overview draft to IESG (informational)
Jul 2016 - recharter if needed, or close