Configuration of networks of devices has become a critical requirement
for operators in today's highly interconnected networks. Large and small
operators alike have developed their own mechanisms or have used vendor
specific mechanisms to transfer configuration data to and from a device
and to examine device state information which may impact the
configuration. Each of these mechanisms may be different in various
aspects, such as session establishment, user authentication,
configuration data exchange, and error responses.
The NETCONF protocol has the following characteristics:
- Provides retrieval mechanisms which can differentiate between
configuration data and non-configuration data
- Is extensible enough so that vendors can provide access to all
configuration data on the device using a single protocol
- Has a programmatic interface (avoids screen scraping and formatting-
related changes between releases)
- Uses an XML-based data representation, that can be easily manipulated
using non-specialized XML manipulation tools.
- Supports integration with existing user authentication methods
- Supports integration with existing configuration database systems
- Supports multiple (e.g. candidate and running) data-stores to optimize
configuration preparation and activation
- Supports network wide configuration transactions (with features such
as locking and rollback capability)
- Runs over a secure transport; SSH is mandatory to implement while TLS is an
- Provides support for asynchronous notifications.
- Supports an Access Control Model and a YANG module for configuring the
Access Control parameters.
- Supports a YANG module for System Notifications
The NETCONF protocol is data modeling language independent, but YANG is
the recommended NETCONF modeling language, which introduces advanced
language features for configuration management.
Based on the implementation, deployment experience and interoperability testing,
the WG aims to produce a NETCONF status report in a later stage. The result may
be clarifications for RFC6241 and RFC6242 and addressing any reported errata.
In the current phase of NETCONF's incremental development the workgroup
will focus on following items:
1. Add call home mechanism for the mandatory SSH binding providing a
server-initiated session establishment.
2. Advance NETCONF over TLS to be in-line with NETCONF 1.1 (i.e., update
RFC 5539) and add the call home mechanism to provide a server-initiated