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 2018-11-04
State Draft Charter Rechartering
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Robert Wilton
Charter Edit AD Ignas Bagdonas
Send notices to (None)


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.