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Network Working Group D. Heagerty Request for Comments: 1670 CERN Category: Informational August 1994

              Input to IPng Engineering Considerations

Status of this Memo

 This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
 does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
 this memo is unlimited.


 This document was submitted to the IETF IPng area in response to RFC
 1550.  Publication of this document does not imply acceptance by the
 IPng area of any ideas expressed within.  Comments should be
 submitted to the mailing list.


 This white paper expresses some personal opinions on IPng engineering
 considerations, based on experience with DECnet Phase V transition.
 It suggests breaking down the IPng decisions and transition tasks
 into smaller parts so they can be tackled early by the relevant


 In order to allow key decisions to be taken early, I would like to
 see IPng decisions and timescales broken down into into smaller
 parts, for example:
  1. address structure and allocation mechanism
  2. name service changes
  3. host software and programming interface changes
  4. routing protocol changes
 Although interrelated, not all details need to be defined by the same
 date. Identify which decisions will be hard to change and which can
 be allowed to evolve. All changes should be worked on in parallel,
 but the above list indicates a feeling for urgency of a decision.
 Our experience has been that administrative changes (as may be
 required for addressing changes) need the greatest elapse time for
 implementation, whereas routing protocol changes need the least.

Heagerty [Page 1] RFC 1670 Input to IPng Engineering Considerations August 1994

 I would like to see an early decision on address structure and enough
 information for service managers to start planning their transition.
 Some hosts will never be upgraded and will need to be phased out or
 configured with reduced connectivity. A lead time of 10 years (or
 more) will help to take good long term technical decisions and ease
 financial and organisational constraints.

Transition and deployment

 Transition requires intimate knowledge of the environment (financial,
 political as well as technical). The task needs to be broken down so
 that service managers close to their clients can take decisions and
 make them happen.
 Let the service managers adapt the solutions for their environment by
 providing them with a transition toolbox and scenarios of their uses
 based on real examples. Clearly state the merits and limitations of
 different transition strategies.
 Provide for transition autonomy. Let systems and sites transition at
 different times, as convenient for them.
 Identify what software needs to be changed and keep an up-to-date
 Identify what is essential to have in place so that service managers
 can transition at their own pace.
 Allow for a feedback loop to improve software based on experience.

Configuration, Administration, Operation

 We run IP on a wide range of equipment and operating systems.  We
 need an easy way to (re-)configure all our IP capable systems.  The
 systems need to be sent their IP parameters (e.g., their address,
 address of their default router, address of their local name servers)
 and we need to obtain data from the system (e.g., contact information
 for owner, location and name of system). We also need an easy way to
 update DNS.
 In our environment systems are regularly moved between buildings and
 we therefore find the tight coupling of IP address to physical subnet
 over restrictive. Automatic configuration could help overcome this.
 We would like to efficiently load balance users of various IP based
 services (e.g., telnet, ftp, locally written applications) across a
 number of systems.

Heagerty [Page 2] RFC 1670 Input to IPng Engineering Considerations August 1994

 The ability to break down addresses and routing into several levels
 of hierarchy is important to allow the delegation of network
 management into subdomains. As the network grows so does the desire
 to increase the number of levels of hierarchy.

Disclaimer and acknowledgments

 This is a personal view and does not necessarily represent that of my
 employer. I have benefited from many transition discussions with my
 colleagues at CERN, other High Energy Physics DECnet managers and
 Digital Equipment Corporation engineers.

Security Considerations

 Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

Author's Address

 Denise Heagerty
 Communications Systems Group
 Computing and Networks Division
 European Laboratory for Particle Physics
 1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland
 Phone:  +41 22 767-4975
 Fax:    +41 22 767-7155

Heagerty [Page 3]

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