Service Management Architectures Issues and Review
RFC 3052

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 2001; Errata)
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Network Working Group                                            M. Eder
Request for Comments: 3052                                         Nokia
Category: Informational                                           S. Nag
                                                            January 2001

          Service Management Architectures Issues and Review

Status of this Memo

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

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   Many of the support functions necessary to exploit the mechanisms by
   which differing levels of service can be provided are limited in
   scope and a complete framework is non-existent.  Various efforts at
   such a framework have received a great deal of attention and
   represent a historical shift in scope for many of the organizations
   looking to address this problem.  The purpose of this document is to
   explore the problems of defining a Service management framework and
   to examine some of the issues that still need to be resolved.

1. Introduction

   Efforts to provide mechanisms to distinguish the priority given to
   one set of packets, or flows, relative to another are well underway
   and in many modern IP networks, best effort service will be just one
   of the many services being offered by the network as opposed to it
   being the only service provided.  Unfortunately, many of the support
   functions necessary to exploit the mechanisms by which network level
   service can be provided are limited in scope and a complete framework
   is non-existent.  Compounding the problem is the varied understanding
   of exactly what the scope of "service" is in an IP network.  IP, in
   contrast to connection oriented network technologies, will not be
   able to limit the definition of service management simply to end to
   end connectivity, but will combine service management with regards to
   transport with the service requirements of the actual applications
   and how they are using the network.  The phenomenal growth in data
   networks as well as the growth in application bandwidth usage has had
   the consequence that the existing methods of management are not
   sufficient to handle the growing demands of scale and complexity.

Eder & Nag                   Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3052            Service Management Architectures        January 2001

   The network and service management issue is going to be a major
   problem facing the networks of the future.  This realization is a
   significant motivating factor in various efforts within the IP
   community which has been traditionally reluctant to take on issues of
   this type [1].  The purpose of this document is to explore the
   problems of developing a framework for managing the network and
   services and to examine some of the issues that recent efforts have
   uncovered.

2. The Problem of Management Standards

   Network and service level issues traditionally are handled in IP
   networks by engineering the network to provide the best service
   possible for a single class of service.  Increasingly there is a
   desire that IP networks be used to carry data with specific QoS
   constraints.  IP networks will require a tremendous amount of
   management information to provision, maintain, validate, and bill for
   these new services.  The control and distribution of management
   information in complex communications networks is one of the most
   sophisticated tasks a network management framework must resolve. This
   is compounded by the likelihood that devices in IP networks will be
   varied and have differing management capabilities, ranging from
   complex computing and switching platforms to personal hand held
   devices and everything in between.  Scaling and performance
   requirements will make the task of defining a single management
   framework for these networks extremely complex.

   In the past standardization efforts have suggested a simplified model
   for management on the hypothesis that it can be extrapolated to solve
   complex systems.  This premise has often proved to be without merit
   because of the difficulty of developing such a model that meets both
   the operators heterogeneous, multi-vendor need and network equipment
   vendors specific needs.  At the center of efforts to devise a
   standard management model are attempts to develop an architecture or
   framework to control the management information. The same conflicting
   operator vs. vendor forces are present in the effort to establish a
   common framework architecture as are in the efforts to develop a
   common information model.

   Network operators requirements call for a framework that will permit
   centralized management of the network and require the minimal
   resources to operate and maintain while still providing tremendous
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