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Friday, November 30, 2007

IETF Recharters Network Configuration (NETCONF) Working Group

The IESG Secretary announced that the IETF Network Configuration (NETCONF)
Working Group in the Operations and Management Area of the IETF has been
rechartered. The NETCONF Working Group has been chartered to produce a
protocol suitable for network configuration. Background: "Configuration
of networks of devices has become a critical requirement for operators in
today's highly interoperable networks. Operators from large to small have
developed their own mechanisms or used vendor specific mechanisms to
transfer configuration data to and from a device, and for examining 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 will use XML for data encoding
purposes, because XML is a widely deployed standard which is supported
by a large number of applications. XML also supports hierarchical data
structures. The NETCONF protocol should be independent of the data
definition language and data models used to describe configuration and
state data. However, the authorization model used in the protocol is
dependent on the data model. Although these issues must be fully
addressed to develop standard data models, only a small part of this
work will be initially addressed. This group will specify requirements
for standard data models in order to fully support the NETCONF protocol,
such as: (1) identification of principals, such as user names or
distinguished names; (2) mechanism to distinguish configuration from
non-configuration data; (3) XML namespace conventions; (4) XML usage
guidelines. Currently the NETCONF protocol is able to advertise which
protocol features are supported on a particular netconf-capable device.
However, there is currently no way to discover which XML Schema are
supported on the device. The NETCONF working group will produce a
standards-track RFC with mechanisms making this discovery possible.

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