Data Management System Proposal for the ARPA Network
RFC - Unknown
(February 1972; No errata)
||RFC Editor Note
RFC 304 (Unknown)
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Network Working Group D. B. McKay
Request for Comments: 304 IBM
NIC: 9077 February 17, 1972
Categories: D3, D4, D7
A Data Management System Proposal
for the ARPA Network
This proposal is being written to facilitate discussions on a design
for a network Data Management System. It is not intended to be a
complete and exhaustive design for the ultimate protocol allowing
users to share data easily, but a frame work that will allow us to
recognize and develop the necessary tools in a unified manner
enabling the network to manage its resources to the best advantage to
The fundamental intent here is not to try and solve an impossible
problem, but to bring a necessary service capability to the user that
will enable him to carry out applications that hitherto he has not
been able to do. The intent is to be consistent with every other
major function that has been developed in the network, i.e., NCP -
2nd level protocol, Telnet, and the Form Machine. The Data
Management Service or Data Control Facility (DCF) will do the same
thing only on a high level of application building on those tools
that have already been developed in the network.
Data that is referred to and transmitted in this System will be
considered a special class of data that is called network data. That
is, it is named and characterized through a network datalanguage and
all pertinent information as to where it can be located and what its
structure is kept in a network catalog. Access to the data for its
actual transmission will be done through NCP socket addressable
routines in a manner similar to the way in which the SMFS at Santa
Barbara works. It is feasible that the SMFS will become an active
resource utilized by the DCF.
There are six functionally and logically distinct areas that are
identifiable in the Network Data Service (Figure 1), with
subfunctions that can be categorized and discussed.
McKay [Page 1]
RFC 304 A Data Management System Proposal for ARPA February 1972
1. The user interface to the DCF. In an interactive environment
such as the ARPA network, this interface would be serviced by
Telnet supporting the local user at his terminal directing the
request to the DCF. The DCF in this case would be a
specialized server task.
2. The DCF or that functional unit responsible for coordinating
all the activity of the Network Data Service. It also houses
the interfaces to all other functions.
3. The Network Catalog or Directory which contains all information
about network data.
4. The Data Reconfiguration Service or Form Machine that would be
called on when data translation or reconfiguration is needed.
This would be invoked automatically, when possible, by the DCF
and would remove this responsibility from the user. For more
specialize translation, however, the user will still be able to
write programs for, and execute them on, the Form Machine.
5. The remote DCF or DCF' would contain enough function to
recognize the request being made of it by the DCF It would be a
server task to the DCF.
6. File xfer protocol would be a function that the DCF and the
DCF' would initiate as the means to control data transfer in
A more detailed discussion of each of these areas appears in the
It was stated in RFC146 that the DCF should handle all network
resources as a single resource and utilize it as best it can. This
statement was also meant to incorporate the Data Computer and Unicon
storage as part of this resource. The extent to which this can be
done is an open question but the use of the Data Language developed
by CCA would provide a consistent interface to the user utilizing
these network services and possibly facilitate the use of the Data
Compiler by the DCF.
It should be pointed out at this time that the DCF is a logical
function that can reside anywhere including on the Data Computer.
The user should be allowed to enter all command and updates
interactively to the DCF. The DCF will be a serving user process
that will interface to the Telnet Server routine. The actual data of
the terminal transmissions will be the commands and data the user
will be transmitting to the DCF. By adopting the Telnet protocol as
the initial user interface, the DCF can be accessed by all the users
McKay [Page 2]
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