Resource Allocation, Control, and Accounting for the Use of Network Resources
RFC 1346

Document Type RFC - Informational (June 1992; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                           P. Jones
Request for Comments: 1346                        Joint Network Team, UK
                                                               June 1992

             Resource Allocation, Control, and Accounting
                    for the Use of Network Resources

Status of this Memo

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


   This paper gives reasons for wanting better sharing mechanisms for
   networks.  It concludes that the challenge of sharing network
   resources (and for example intercontinental link resources) between
   groups of users is neither well understood, nor well catered for in
   terms of tools for those responsible for managing the services.  The
   situation is compared with other fields, both inside and outside IT,
   and examples are cited. Recommendations for further work are made.

   The purpose of this RFC is to focus discussion on particular
   challenges in large service networks in general, and the
   International IP Internet in particular.  No solution discussed in
   this document is intended as a standard.  Rather, it is hoped that a
   general consensus will emerge as to the appropriate solutions,
   leading eventually to the adoption of standards.

   The structure of the paper is as follows:

      1. Findings
      2. Conclusions
      3. Recommendations


   Issues arising from contention in the use of networks are not
   unusual.  Once connectivity and reliability have been addressed to a
   reasonable level, bandwidth becomes (or appears to become?) the main
   issue.  Usage appears to have a strong tendency to rise to fill the
   resources available (fully in line with the principles of Parkinson's
   Law).  Line-speed upgrades have an effect, but with no guarantee of
   permanently alleviating the problem.  Line-speeds are increasing as
   technology improves over time, but the variations on matters like
   availability and funding are wide, and users remain avaricious.

Jones                                                           [Page 1]
RFC 1346      Resource Allocation, Control, and Accounting     June 1992

   Often the situation can appear worse than having to survive in a
   jungle, in the sense that the strong (even if "good") seem to have
   little advantage over the weak.  It may seem that it is the
   determined person rather than the important work that gets service.

   Most people will have experienced poor service on an overloaded
   network at some time. To help the end-users, it seems on the face of
   it that one must help the IT Service Manager he relates to.  Examples
   relating to the relationship between the network manager and his
   customers, IT Service Managers at institutions connecting to his
   network, include the following:

   (a) If the IT Service Manager finds his link to the Network Manager's
   network overloaded, he may be offered a link upgrade, probably with a
   cost estimate.  He might prefer control mechanisms whereby he can say
   that department X deserves more resources than department Y, or that
   interactive terminal use takes preference over file transfers, or
   that user U is more important than user V.

   (b) Where an IT Service Manager is sharing a link, he will commonly
   get more than his institution's share of the link, and often get very
   good value-for-money compared to using a dedicated link, but he has
   no guarantee that his end-users' usage won't get swamped by the use
   of other (perhaps much larger) partners on the shared link.  This
   could be seen as wishing to have a guaranteed minimum share according
   to some parameter(s).

   (c) On a shared link as under (b), the Network Manager may wish to
   ensure that usage of the link (which might be a high-performance
   trunk line on a network or an international link for example) by any
   one partner is "reasonable" in relation perhaps to his contribution
   to the costs.  In contrast to (b), the Network Manager is wishing to
   impose a maximum value on some parameter(s).  He may be happy if the
   width of the IT Service Manager's access link is not greater than his
   share of the shared link (assuming the measure agreed on is "width"),
   but this will commonly not be the case.  To be able to reach
   agreement, the Network Manager and the IT Service Manager may need
   options on the choice of parameters, and perhaps a choice on the
   means of control, as well as being able to negotiate about values.

   In circumstances where the Network Manager can exercise such controls
   over his customers, the IT Service Managers may say with some feeling
   and perhaps with justification, that if they are going to be
   controlled can the Network Manager please provide tools whereby they
   can arrange for the onward sharing of the resource they have, and
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