Network Configuration

Document Charter Network Configuration WG (netconf)
Title Network Configuration
Last updated 2015-10-16
State Approved
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Benoit Claise
Send notices to (None)


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 (RFC 6241) provides mechanisms to install, 
manipulate, and delete the configuration of network devices. NETCONF is 
based on the secure transport (SSH is mandatory to implement while TLS 
is an optional transport) and uses an XML-based data representation. The 
NETCONF protocol is data modeling language independent, but YANG (RFC 
6020) is the recommended NETCONF modeling language, which introduces 
advanced language features for configuration management.

In the current phase of NETCONF's incremental development the workgroup
will focus on following items:

  1. Provide a Server Configuration YANG module for both NETCONF and 

  2. Develop RESTCONF, a protocol based on NETCONF in terms of 
capabilities, but over HTTPs and with some REST characteristics, for 
accessing YANG data in NETCONF datastores. An "ordered edit list" 
approach is needed (the YANG patch) to provide client developers with a 
simpler edit request format that can be more efficient and also allow 
more precise client control of the transaction procedure than existing 
mechanisms. The YANG patch operation, based on the  HTTP PATCH method, 
will be prepared in a separate draft.

In addition develop a YANG library, which identifies the information 
about all YANG modules used by a server. Furthermore develop a 
collection resource for the RESTCONF protocol to provide enhanced 
filtering features for the retrieval of data nodes with the GET method.

RESTCONF should not deviate from the NETCONF capabilities unless proper 
justification is provided and documented. The RESTCONF work will 
consider requirements suggested by the other working groups (for example 

  3. Develop a zero touch configuration document (a technique to 
establish a secure network management relationship between a newly 
delivered network device configured with just its factory default 
settings, and the Network Management System), specific to the NETCONF 
use case.

  4. Develop a subscription and push mechanism that allows client 
applications to request notifications for changes in the datastore. 
These updates will be pushed by the server to the client based on a 
subscription policy.

  5. Update RFC 6536 (NETCONF Access Control Model) to introduce access 
control rights associated with actions.

  6. Enhance RFC 5277 with the ability to delete subscriptions without 
closing the client session, to modify existing subscriptions, and to 
have multiple subscriptions on a established client session. These 
changes should not affect older clients that do not support these 
particular subscription requirements. The RPCs and the data models in 
RFC 5277 should be converted to YANG.

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.