High-level framework for network-based resource sharing
RFC 707

Document Type RFC - Unknown (December 1975; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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NWG/RFC# 707                                  JEW 14-JAN-76 19:51  34263
NCC 76         A High-Level Framework for Network-Based Resource Sharing

THE GOAL, RESOURCE SHARING                                             1

   The principal goal of all resource-sharing computer networks,
including the now international ARPA Network (the ARPANET), is to
usefully interconnect geographically distributed hardware, software,
and human resources [1].  Achieving this goal requires the design
and implementation of various levels of support software within each
constituent computer, and the specification of network-wide
"protocols" (that is, conventions regarding the format and the
relative timing of network messages) governing their interaction.
This paper outlines an alternative to the approach that ARPANET
system builders have been taking since work in this area began in
1970, and suggests a strategy for modeling distributed systems
within any large computer network.                                    1a

   The first section of this paper describes the prevailing ARPANET
protocol strategy, which involves specifying a family of
application-dependent protocols with a network-wide inter-process
communication facility as their common foundation.  In the second
section, the application-independent command/response discipline
that characterizes this protocol family is identified and its
isolation as a separate protocol proposed.  Such isolation would
reduce the work of the applications programmer by allowing the
software that implements the protocol to be factored out of each
applications program and supplied as a single,
installation-maintained module.  The final section of this paper
proposes an extensible model for this class of network interaction
that in itself would even further encourage the use of network
resources.                                                            1b

                                  -1-


NWG/RFC# 707                                  JEW 14-JAN-76 19:51  34263
NCC 76         A High-Level Framework for Network-Based Resource Sharing
                       The Current Software Approach to Resource Sharing

THE CURRENT SOFTWARE APPROACH TO RESOURCE SHARING                      2

Function-Oriented Protocols                                           2a

   The current ARPANET software approach to facilitating resource
sharing has been detailed elsewhere in the literature [2, 3, 4].
Briefly, it involves defining a Host-Host Protocol by which the
operating systems of the various "host" computers cooperate to
support a network-wide inter-process communication (IPC) facility,
and then various function-oriented protocols by which processes
deliver and receive specific services via IPC.  Each
function-oriented protocol regulates the dialog between a resident
"server process" providing the service, and a "user process" seeking
the service on behalf of a user (the terms "user" and "user process"
will be used consistently throughout this paper to distinguish the
human user from the computer process acting on his behalf).          2a1

   The current Host-Host Protocol has been in service since 1970.
Since its initial design and implementation, a variety of
deficiencies have been recognized and several alternative protocols
suggested [5, 6].  Although improvements at this level would surely
have a positive effect upon Network resource sharing, the present
paper simply assumes the existence of some form of IPC and focuses
attention upon higher level protocol design issues.                  2a2

   Each of the function-oriented protocols mentioned in this paper
constitutes the official ARPANET protocol for its respective
application domain and is therefore implemented at nearly all of the
75 host installations that now comprise the Network.  It is
primarily upon this widely implemented protocol family (and the
philosophy it represents) that the present paper focuses.  Needless
to say, other important resource sharing tools have also been
constructed within the ARPANET.  The Resource Sharing Executive
(RSEXEC), designed and implemented by Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc
[7], provides an excellent example of such work.                     2a3

Experience with and Limitations of Hands-On Resource Sharing          2b

   The oldest and still by far the most heavily used
function-oriented protocol is the Telecommunications Network
protocol (TELNET) [8], which effectively attaches a terminal on one
computer to an interactive time-sharing system on another, and
allows a user to interact with the remote system via the terminal as
if he were one of its local users.                                   2b1

                                  -2-


NWG/RFC# 707                                  JEW 14-JAN-76 19:51  34263
NCC 76         A High-Level Framework for Network-Based Resource Sharing
                       The Current Software Approach to Resource Sharing

   As depicted in Figure 1, TELNET specifies the means by which a
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