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 2014-10-29
State IESG Review (Charter for Approval, Selected by Secretariat) Rechartering
WG State BOF
IESG Responsible AD Robert Wilton
Charter Edit AD BenoƮt Claise
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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 works in a distributed way across various network elements, but
allowing 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

This work build on definitions and design goals, as well as a simple
architecture model undertaken in the Network Management Research Group (NMRG)
of the IRTF.

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

This WG is intended to mitigate 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.

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

Where suitable protocols, models or methods exist (for example, in the HOMENET
WG), 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 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 Specification
of a discovery functionality for autonomic functions o Specification of a
negotiation functionality for autonomic functions
   Starting point: draft-jiang-config-negotiation-protocol
o Specification of a solution to bootstrap a trust infrastructure
   Starting point: draft-pritikin-bootstrapping-keyinfrastructures
o Specification of a solution for a separated Autonomic Control Plane
   Starting point: draft-behringer-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 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 trouble-shooting.

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


Mar 2015 - Adoption of initial drafts on AN components:
                  Discovery and negotiation protocol(s)
                  Bootstrap a trust infrastructure solution
                  Autonomic control plane solution
Jul 2015 - Adoption of reference model
Jul 2015 - Adoption of the two validation drafts
Apr 2016 - Submit discovery and negotiation protocol(s) to IESG (Standards
Track) Apr 2016 - Submit bootstrap a trust infrastructure solution to IESG
(Standards Track) Sep 2016 - Submit the two validation drafts to IESG
(Informational) Sep 2016 - Submit autonomic control plane solution to IESG
(Standards Track) Dec 2016 - Submit reference model to IESG (Informational) Dec
2016 - recharter to refocus scope, or close