Internet-Draft Futurewei
Intended status: Informational F. Qin
Expires: October 16, 2020 China Mobile
H. Chen
China Telecom
J. Jin
J. Shin
SK Telecom
April 14, 2020

In-situ Flow Information Telemetry


As networks increase in scale and network operations become more sophisticated, traditional Operation, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) methods, which include proactive and reactive techniques, running in active and passive modes, are no longer sufficient to meet the monitoring and measurement requirements. Emerging on-path telemetry techniques which provide high-precision flow insight and real-time issue notification are required to ensure suitable quality of experience for users and applications, and identify faults or network deficiencies before they become critical.

This document outlines a high-level framework to provide an operational environment that utilizes existing and emerging on-path telemetry techniques to enable the collection and correlation of performance information from the network. The framework identifies the components that are needed to coordinate the existing protocol tools and telemetry mechanisms, and addresses key deployment challenges for flow-oriented on-path telemetry techniques, especially in carrier networks.

The framework is informational and intended to guide system designers attempting to use the referenced techniques as well as to motivate further work to enhance the ecosystem .

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Efficient network operation increasingly relies on high-quality data-plane telemetry to provide the necessary visibility. Traditional Operation, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) methods, which include proactive and reactive techniques, running both active and passive modes, are no longer sufficient to meet the monitoring and measurement requirements. The complexity of today's networks and service quality requirements demand new high-precision and real-time techniques.

The ability to expedite network failure detection, fault localization, and recovery mechanisms, particularly in the case of soft failures or path degradation is expected, without causing service disruption. Networks also become application-aware. Application-aware networking is an industry term used to describe the capacity of a network to maintain current information about users and application connections which may be used to optimize the network resource usage and improve the quality of service.

The emerging on-path telemetry techniques can provide high-precision flow insight and real-time network issue notification (e.g., jitter, latency, packet loss, significant bit error variations, and unequal load-balancing). On-path telemetry refers to the data-plane telemetry techniques that directly tap and measure network traffic by embedding instructions or metadata into user packets. The data provided by on-path telemetry are especially useful for SLA compliance, user experience enhancement, service path enforcement, fault diagnosis, and network resource optimization. It is essential to recognize that existing work on this topic includes a variety of on-path telemetry techniques, including In-situ OAM (IOAM), Postcard-based Telemetry (PBT), Enhanced Alternate Marking (EAM), and Hybrid Two Steps (HTS), have been proposed, which can provide flow information on the entire forwarding path on a per-packet basis in real-time. The aforementioned on-path telemetry techniques differ from the active and passive OAM schemes discussed earlier in that, they directly modify the user packets and can guarantee 100% accuracy. These on-path telemetry techniques can be classified as the OAM hybrid type I, since they involve "augmentation or modification of the stream of interest, or employment of methods that modify the treatment of the streams", according to [RFC7799].

On-path telemetry is useful for application-aware networking operations not only in data center and enterprise networks but also in carrier networks which may cross multiple domains. Carrier network operators have shown interest in utilizing such techniques for various purposes. For example, it is critical for the operators who offer high-bandwidth, latency and loss-sensitive services such as video streaming and online gaming to closely monitor the relevant flows in real-time as the basis for any further optimizations.

This framework document is intended to guide system designers attempting to use the referenced techniques as well as to motivate further work to enhance the telemetry ecosystem. It highlights requirements and challenges, outlines vital techniques that are applicable, and provides examples of how these might be applied for critical use cases.

The document scope is discussed in Section 1.3.

1.1. Classification and Modes of On-path Telemetry

The operation of on-path telemetry differs from both active OAM and passive OAM as defined in [RFC7799]. It does not generate any active probe packets or passively observes unmodified user packets. Instead, it modifies selected user packets to collect useful information about them. Therefore, the operation can be categorized as the hybrid OAM type I mode per [RFC7799], which can provide more flexible and accurate network monitoring and measurement.

This hybrid type OAM can be further partitioned into two modes. [passport-postcard] first uses the metaphor of "passport" and "postcard" to describe how the on-path data can be collected and exported. In the passport mode, each node on the path adds the telemetry data to the user packets (i.e., stamp the passport). The accumulated data trace is exported at a configured end node. In the postcard mode, each node directly exports the telemetry data using an independent packet (i.e., send a postcard) while the user packets are intact. It is possible to combine the two modes together in one solution. We call this the hybrid mode.

Figure 1 shows the classification of the existing on-path telemetry techniques.

 |  Mode     | Passport     | Postcard     | Hybrid        |
 |           | IOAM Trace   | IOAM DEX     | Multicast Te- |   
 | Technique | IOAM E2E     | PBT-M        | lemetry       |
 |           | EAM          |              | HTS           |

Figure 1: ON-path Telemetry Technique Classification

IOAM Trace and E2E options are described in [I-D.ietf-ippm-ioam-data]. EAM is described in [I-D.zhou-ippm-enhanced-alternate-marking]. IOAM DEX option is described in [I-D.ietf-ippm-ioam-direct-export] PBT-M is described in [I-D.song-ippm-postcard-based-telemetry]. Multicast Telemetry is described in [I-D.song-multicast-telemetry]. HTS is described in [I-D.mirsky-ippm-hybrid-two-step].

The advantages of the passport mode include :

The disadvantages of the passport mode include :

The postcard mode provides a perfect complement to the passport mode by addressing the issues of the passport mode. The advantages of the postcard mode include:

The disadvantages of the postcard mode include:

The hybrid mode either tailors for some specific application scenario (e.g., Multicast Telemetry) or provides some alternative approach (e.g., HTS).

1.2. Requirements and Challenges

Although on-path telemetry is beneficial, successfully applying such techniques in carrier networks must consider performance, deployability, and flexibility. Specifically, we need to address the following practical deployment challenges:

1.3. Scope

Following the network telemetry framework discussed in [I-D.ietf-opsawg-ntf], this document focuses on the on-path telemetry, a specific class of data-plane telemetry techniques, and provides a high-level framework which addresses the aforementioned challenges for deployment, especially in carrier operator networks.

This document aims to clarify the problem space, essential requirements, and summarizes best practices and general system design considerations. The framework helps to analyze the current standard status and identify gaps, and to motivate new standard works to complete the ecosystem. This document provides some examples to show some novel network telemetry applications under the framework.

As an informational document, it describes an open framework with a few key components. The framework does not enforces any specific implementation on each component, neither does it define interfaces (e.g., API, protocol) between components. The choice of underlying on-path telemetry techniques and other implementation details is determined by application implementer. Therefore, the framework is not a solution specification. It only provides a high-level overview and is not necessarily a mandatory recommendation for on-path telemetry applications. Implementation of the framework is implementor specific and may utilize functional components and techniques outlined in this document.

The standardization of the underlying techniques and interfaces mentioned in this document is undertaken by various working groups. Due to the limited scope and intended status of this document, it has no overlap or conflict with those works.

1.4. Glossary

This section defines and explains the acronyms and terms used in this document.

On-path Telemetry:
Remotely acquiring performance and behavior data about network flows on a per-packet basis on the packet's forwarding path. The term refers to a class of data plane telemetry techniques, including IOAM, PBT, EAM, and HTS. Such techniques may need to mark user packets, or insert instruction or metadata to the headers of user packets.
In-situ Flow Information Telemetry, pronounced as "I-Fit". The name of a high-level reference framework that shows how network data-plane monitoring applications can address the deployment challenges of the flow-oriented on-path telemetry techniques.
IFIT Domain:
A network domain in which an on-path telemetry application operates. The network domain contains multiple forwarding devices, such as routers and switches, that are capable of IFIT-specific functions. It also contains a logically centralized controller whose responsibility is to apply IFIT-specific configurations and functions to IFIT-capable forwarding devices, and to collect and analyze the on-path telemetry data from those devices. An IFIT domain contains multiple network node capable of IFIT-specific functions. We name all the entry nodes to an IFIT domain head nodes and all the exit nodes end nodes. A path in an IFIT domain starts from a head node and ends at an end node. Usually the instruction header encapsulation or packet marking, if needed, happens at the head nodes; the instruction header decapsulation or packet unmarking, if needed, happens at the end nodes.
Reflective Telemetry:
The telemetry functions in a dynamic and interactive fashion. A new telemetry action is provisioned as a result of self-knowledge acquired through prior telemetry actions.

1.5. Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119][RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

2. IFIT Overview

To address the challenges mentioned above, we present a high-level framework based on multiple network operators' requirements and common industry practice, which can help to build a workable and efficient on-path telemetry application. We name the framework "In-situ Flow Information Telemetry" (IFIT) to reflect the fact that this framework is dedicated to on-path telemetry data about user and application traffic flows. As a reference framework, IFIT covers a class of on-path telemetry techniques and works a level higher than any specific underlying technique. The framework is comprised of some key functional components (Section 3). By assembling these components, IFIT supports reflective telemetry that enables autonomous network operations (Section 4).

2.1. Typical Deployment of IFIT

Figure 2 shows a typical deployment scenario of IFIT.

                   |             Controller              |
                   | +------------+        +-----------+ | 
                   | | Configure  |        | Collector | | 
                   | |     &      |<-------|     &     | | 
                   | | Control    |        | Analyzer  | | 
                   | +-----:------+        +-----------+ | 
                   |       :                     ^       |
                           :configuration        |telemetry data
                           :& action             | 
            :             :                 :    |         :
            :   +---------:---+-------------:---++---------:---+
            :   |         :   |             :   |          :   |
            V   |         V   |             V   |          V   |
         +------+-+     +-----+--+       +------+-+     +------+-+
  packets| Head   |     | Path   |       | Path   |     | End    |
      ==>| Node   |====>| Node   |==//==>| Node   |====>| Node   |==>
         |        |     | A      |       | B      |     |        |
         +--------+     +--------+       +--------+     +--------+
         |<---                  IFIT Domain                  --->|


Figure 2: IFIT Deployment Scenario

An on-path telemetry application can conduct some network data plane monitoring and measurement tasks over an IFIT domain by applying one or more underlying techniques. The application needs to contains multiple elements, including configuring the network nodes and processing the telemetry data. The application usually runs in a logically centralized controller which is responsible for configuring the network nodes in the IFIT domain, and collecting and analyzing telemetry data. The configuration determines which underlying technique is used, what telemetry data are of interest, which flows and packets are concerned with, how the telemetry data are collected, etc. The process can be dynamic and interactive: after the telemetry data processing and analyzing, the application may instruct the controller to modify the configuration of the nodes in the IFIT domain, which affects the future telemetry data collection.

From the system-level view, it is recommended to use the standardized configuration and data collection interfaces, regardless of the underlying technique. However, the specification of these interfaces and the implementation of the controller are out of scope for this document.

The IFIT domain encompasses the head nodes and the end nodes. An IFIT domain may cross multiple network domains. The head nodes are responsible for enabling the IFIT-specific functions and the end nodes are responsible for terminating them. All capable nodes in an IFIT domain will be capable of executing the instructed IFIT-specific function. It is important to note that any IFIT application must, through configuration and policy, guarantee that any packet with IFIT-specific header and metadata will not leak out of the IFIT domain. The end nodes must be able to capture all packets with IFIT-specific header and metadata and recover their format before forwarding them out of the IFIT domain.

The underlying on-path telemetry techniques covered by IFIT can be of any modes discussed in Section 1.1.

2.2. IFIT Architecture

The IFIT architecture is shown in Figure 3, which contains several key components. These components aim to address the deployment challenges discussed in Section 1. The detailed block diagram and description for each component are given in Section 3. Here we only provide a high level overview.

                |       On-demand Technique          |
                |       Selection & Integration      |         
      Control Plane     |                   ^             
      Forwarding Plane  V                   |                
                | Flexible Flow,  | Flexible         | 
                | Packet, & Data  | Data Export      |
                | Selection       |                  |				
                |     Dynamic Network Probe          | 

Figure 3: IFIT Architecture

Based on the monitoring and measurement requirements, an application needs to choose one or more underlying on-path telemetry techniques and decide the policies to apply them. Depending on the forwarding-plane protocol and tunneling configuration, the instruction header and metadata encapsulation method, if needed, is also determined. The encapsulation happens at the head nodes and the decapsulation happens at the end nodes.

Based on the network condition and application requirement, the head nodes also need to be able to choose flows and packets to enable the IFIT-specific functions, and decide the set of data to be collected. All the nodes who are responsible for exporting telemetry data are configured with special functions to prepare the data. The IFIT-specific functions can be deployed into the network nodes as dynamic network probes.

2.3. Relationship with Network Telemetry Framework (NTF)

[I-D.ietf-opsawg-ntf] describes a Network Telemetry Framework (NTF). One dimension used by NTF to partition network telemetry techniques and systems is based on the three planes in networks plus external data sources. IFIT fits in the category of forwarding-plane telemetry and deals with the specific on-path technical branch of the forwarding-plane telemetry.

According to NTF, an on-path telemetry application mainly subscribes event-triggered or streaming data. The key functional components of IFIT also match the components in NTF. "On-demand Technique Selection and Integration" is an application layer function, matching the "Data Query, Analysis, and Storage" component in NTF; "Flexible Flow, Packet, and Data Selection" matches the "Data Configuration and Subscription" component; "Flexible Data Export" matches the "Data Encoding and Export" component; "Dynamic Network Probe" matches the "Data Generation and Processing" component.

3. Key Components of IFIT

As shown in the IFIT architecture, the key components of IFIT are as follows:

Note that the challenges C5 and C6 are mostly standard related, which are fundamental to IFIT. We discuss the standard status and gaps in Section 5.

In the following section, we provide a detailed description of each component.

3.1. Flexible Flow, Packet, and Data Selection

In most cases, it is impractical to enable the data collection for all the flows and for all the packets in a flow due to the potential performance and bandwidth impact. Therefore, a workable solution usually need to select only a subset of flows and flow packets to enable the data collection, even though this means the loss of some information and accuracy.

In the data plane, the Access Control List (ACL) provides an ideal means to determine the subset of flow(s). An application can set a sample rate or probability to a flow to allow only a subset of flow packets to be monitored, collect a different set of data for different packets, and disable or enable data collection on any specific network node. An application can further allow any node to accept or deny the data collection process in full or partially.

Based on these flexible mechanisms, IFIT allows applications to apply flexible flow and data selection policies to suit the requirements. The applications can dynamically change the policies at any time based on the network load, processing capability, focus of interest, and any other criteria.

3.1.1. Block Diagram

            | +----------+  +----------+ |  
            | |Flow      |  |Data      | |
            | |Selection |  |Selection | |
            | +----------+  +----------+ |
            | +----------+               |
            | |Packet    |               |  
            | |Selection |               |
            | +----------+               |                             

Figure 4: Flexible Flow, Packet, and Data Selection

Figure 4 shows the block diagram of this component. The flow selection block defines the policies to choose target flows for monitoring. Flow has different granularity. A basic flow is defined by 5-tuple IP header fields. Flow can also be aggregated at interface level, tunnel level, protocol level, and so on. The packet selection block defines the policies to choose packets from a target flow. The policy can be either a sampling interval, a sampling probability, or some specific packet signature. The data selection block defines the set of data to be collected. This can be changed on a per-packet or per-flow basis.

3.1.2. Example: Sketch-guided Elephant Flow Selection

Network operators are usually more interested in elephant flows which consume more resource and are sensitive to changes in network conditions. A CountMin Sketch can be used on the data path of the head nodes, which identifies and reports the elephant flows periodically. The controller maintains a current set of elephant flows and dynamically enables the on-path telemetry for only these flows.

3.1.3. Example: Adaptive Packet Sampling

Applying on-path telemetry on all packets of selected flows can still be out of reach. A sample rate should be set for these flows and only enable telemetry on the sampled packets. However, the head nodes have no clue on the proper sampling rate. An overly high rate would exhaust the network resource and even cause packet drops; An overly low rate, on the contrary, would result in the loss of information and inaccuracy of measurements.

An adaptive approach can be used based on the network conditions to dynamically adjust the sampling rate. Every node gives user traffic forwarding higher priority than telemetry data export. In case of network congestion, the telemetry can sense some signals from the data collected (e.g., deep buffer size, long delay, packet drop, and data loss). The controller may use these signals to adjust the packet sampling rate. In each adjustment period (i.e., RTT of the feedback loop), the sampling rate is either decreased or increased in response of the signals. An AIMD policy similar to the TCP flow control mechanism for the rate adjustment can be used.

3.2. Flexible Data Export

The flow telemetry data can catch the dynamics of the network and the interactions between user traffic and network. Nevertheless, the data inevitably contain redundancy. It is advisable to remove the redundancy from the data in order to reduce the data transport bandwidth and server processing load.

In addition to efficient export data encoding (e.g., IPFIX or protobuf), nodes have several other ways to reduce the export data by taking advantage of network device's capability and programmability. Nodes can cache the data and send the accumulated data in batch if the data is not time sensitive. Various deduplication and compression techniques can be applied on the batch data.

From the application perspective, an application may only be interested in some special events which can be derived from the telemetry data. For example, in case that the forwarding delay of a packet exceeds a threshold, or a flow changes its forwarding path is of interest, it is unnecessary to send the original raw data to the data collecting and processing servers. Rather, IFIT takes advantage of the in-network computing capability of network devices to process the raw data and only push the event notifications to the subscribing applications.

Such events can be expressed as policies. An policy can request data export only on change, on exception, on timeout, or on threshold.

3.2.1. Block Diagram

            | +-----------+ +-----------+ +-----------+ | 
            | |Data       | |Data       | |Export     | | 
            | |Encoding   | |Batching   | |Protocol   | |
            | +-----------+ +-----------+ +-----------+ |
            | +-----------+ +-----------+ +-----------+ |
            | |Data       | |Data       | |Data       | |
            | |Compression| |Dedup.     | |Filter     | |
            | +-----------+ +-----------+ +-----------+ |   
            | +-----------+ +-----------+               |
            | |Data       | |Data       |               | 
            | |Computing  | |Aggregation|               | 
            | +-----------+ +-----------+               |

Figure 5: Flexible Data Export

Figure 5 shows the block diagram of this component. The data encoding block defines the method to encode the telemetry data. The data batching block defines the size of batch data buffered at the device side before export. The export protocol block defines the protocol used for telemetry data export. The data compression block defines the algorithm to compress the raw data. The data deduplication block defines the algorithm to remove the redundancy in the raw data. The data filter block defines the policies to filter the needed data. The data computing block defines the policies to prepocess the raw data and generate some new data. The data aggregation block defines the procedure to combine and synthesize the data.

3.2.2. Example: Event-based Anomaly Monitor

Network operators are interested in the anomalies such as path change, network congestion, and packet drop. Such anomalies are hidden in raw telemetry data (e.g., path trace, timestamp). Such anomalies can be described as events and programmed into the device data plane. Only the triggered events are exported. For example, if a new flow appears at any node, a path change event is triggered; if the packet delay exceeds a predefined threshold in a node, the congestion event is triggered; if a packet is dropped due to buffer overflow, a packet drop event is triggered.

The export data reduction due to such optimization is substantial. For example, given a single 5-hop 10Gbps path, assume a moderate number of 1 million packets per second are monitored, and the telemetry data plus the export packet overhead consume less than 30 bytes per hop. Without such optimization, the bandwidth consumed by the telemetry data can easily exceed 1Gbps (>10% of the path bandwidth), When the optimization is used, the bandwidth consumed by the telemetry data is negligible. Moreover, the pre-processed telemetry data greatly simplify the work of data analyzers.

3.3. Dynamic Network Probe

Due to limited data plane resource and network bandwidth, it is unlikely one can monitor all the data all the time. On the other hand, the data needed by applications may be arbitrary but ephemeral. It is critical to meet the dynamic data requirements with limited resource.

Fortunately, data plane programmability allows IFIT to dynamically load new data probes. These on-demand probes are called Dynamic Network Probes (DNP). DNP is the technique to enable probes for customized data collection in different network planes. When working with IOAM or PBT, DNP is loaded to the data plane through incremental programming or configuration. The DNP can effectively conduct data generation, processing, and aggregation.

DNP introduces enough flexibility and extensibility to IFIT. It can implement the optimizations for export data reduction motioned in the previous section. It can also generate custom data as required by today and tomorrow's applications.

3.3.1. Block Diagram

            | +----------+  +----------+ |  
            | |ACL       |  |YANG      | |
            | |          |  |Model     | |
            | +----------+  +----------+ |
            | +----------+  +----------+ |
            | |Hardware  |  |Software  | |  
            | |Function  |  |Function  | |
            | +----------+  +----------+ |                             

Figure 6: Dynamic Network Probes

Figure 6 shows the block diagram of this component. The Access Control List (ACL) block is available in most hardware and it defines DNPs through dynamically update the ACL policies (including flow filtering and action). YANG models can be dynamically deployed to enable different data processing and filtering functions. Some hardware allows dynamically loading hardware-based functions into the forwarding path at runtime through mechanisms such as reserved pipelines and function stubs. Dynamically loadable software functions can be implemented in the control processors in IFIT nodes.

3.3.2. Examples

Following are some possible DNPs that can be dynamically deployed to support applications.

On-demand Flow Sketch:
A flow sketch is a compact online data structure (usually a variation of multi-hashing table) for approximate estimation of multiple flow properties. It can be used to facilitate flow selection. The aforementioned CountMin Sketch is such an example. Since a sketch consumes data plane resources, it should only be deployed when actually needed.
Smart Flow Filter:
The policies that choose flows and packet sampling rate can change during the lifetime of an application.
Smart Statistics:
An application may need to count flows based on different flow granularity or maintain hit counters for selected flow table entries.
Smart Data Reduction:
DNP can be used to program the events that conditionally trigger data export.

3.4. On-demand Technique Selection and Integration

With multiple underlying data collection and export techniques at its disposal, IFIT can flexibly adapt to different network conditions and different application requirements.

For example, depending on the types of data that are of interest, IFIT may choose either IOAM or PBT to collect the data; if an application needs to track down where the packets are lost, switching from IOAM to PBT should be supported.

IFIT can further integrate multiple data plane monitoring and measurement techniques together and present a comprehensive data plane telemetry solution.

Based on the application requirements and the real-time telemetry data analysis results, new configurations and actions can be deployed.

3.4.1. Block Diagram

            | +------------+  +-------------+  +---------+ |
            | |Application |  |Configuration|  |Telemetry| |
            | |Requirements|->|& Action     |<-|Data     | |
            | |            |  |             |  |Analysis | |
            | +------------+  +-------------+  +---------+ |                                                 
            | Passport Mode:                               | 
            | +----------+   +----------+   +----------+   |  
            | |IOAM E2E  |   |IOAM Trace|   |EAM       |   |
            | +----------+   +----------+   +----------+   |
            | Postcard Mode:                               |
            | +----------+   +----------+                  |
            | |PBT-M     |   |IOAM DEX  |                  |
            | +----------+   +----------+                  |
            | Hybrid Mode:                                 | 
            | +----------+   +----------+                  | 
            | |HTS       |   |Multicast |                  |
            | |          |   |Telemetry |                  |
            | +----------+   +----------+                  |

Figure 7: Technique Selection and Integration

Figure 7 shows the block diagram of this component, which lists the candidate on-path telemetry techniques.

Located in the logically centralized controller of an IFIT domain, this component makes all the control and configuration dynamically to the capable nodes in the domain which will affect the future telemetry data. The configuration and action decisions are based on the inputs from the application requirements and the realtime telemetry data analysis results. Note that here the telemetry data source is not limited to the data plane. The data can come form all the sources mentioned in [I-D.ietf-opsawg-ntf], including external data sources.

4. IFIT for Reflective Telemetry

The IFIT components can work together to support reflective telemetry, as shown in Figure 8.

                        |                     |
                 +------+    Applications     |<------+
                 |      |                     |       |
                 |      +---------------------+       |
                 |         Technique Selection        | 
                 |         and Integration            | 
                 |                                    | 
                 |Flexible                   Flexible |     
                 |Flow,     reflection-loop      Data |
                 |Packet,                       Export| 
                 |and Data                            | 
                 |Selection                      +----+----+  
                 V                              +---------+|   
           +----------+ Encapsulation          +---------+|| 
           |  Head    | and Tunneling          |  Path   ||| 
           |  Node    |----------------------->|  Nodes  ||+ 
           |          |                        |         |+ 
           +----------+                        +---------+ 
               DNP                                DNP  

Figure 8: IFIT-based Reflective Telemetry

An application may pick a suite of telemetry techniques based on its requirements and apply an initial technique to the data plane. It then configures the head nodes to decide the initial target flows/packets and telemetry data set, the encapsulation and tunneling scheme based on the underlying network architecture, and the IFIT-capable nodes to decide the initial telemetry data export policy. Based on the network condition and the analysis results of the telemetry data, the application can change the telemetry technique, the flow/data selection policy, and the data export approach in real time without breaking the normal network operation. Many of such dynamic changes can be done through loading and unloading DNPs.

The reflective telemetry enabled by the IFIT allows numerous new applications suitable for future network operation architecture.

4.1. Example: Intelligent Multipoint Performance Monitoring

[I-D.ietf-ippm-multipoint-alt-mark] describes an intelligent performance management based on the network condition. The idea is to split the monitoring network into clusters. The cluster partition that can be applied to every type of network graph and the possibility to combine clusters at different levels enable the so-called Network Zooming. It allows a controller to calibrate the network telemetry, so that it can start without examining in depth and monitor the network as a whole. In case of necessity (packet loss or too high delay), an immediate detailed analysis can be reconfigured. In particular, the controller, that is aware of the network topology, can set up the most suited cluster partition by changing the traffic filter or activate new measurement points and the problem can be localized with a step-by-step process.

An application on top of the controllers can manage such mechanism and IFIT's architecture allows its dynamic and reflective operation.

4.2. Example: Intent-based Network Monitoring

                      User Intents
                            V          Per-packet
                      +------------+   Telemetry 
               ACL    |            |   Data 
             +--------+ Controller |<--------+
             |        |            |         |
             |        +--+---------+         |
             |           |       ^           |
             |           |DNPs   |Network    |
             |           |       |Information|
             |           V       |           |
      |      |                                   |
      |      V                      +------+     |
      | +-------+                  +------+|     | 
      | | Head  |    IFIT Domain  +------+||     |
      | | Node  |                 |Path  ||+     |
      | |       |                 |Nodes |+      |
      | +-------+                 +------+       |

Figure 9: Intent-based Monitoring

In this example, a user can express high level intents for network monitoring. The controller translates an intent and configure the corresponding DNPs in IFIT-capable nodes which collect necessary network information. Based on the real-time information feedback, the controller runs a local algorithm to determine the suspicious flows. It then deploys ACLs to the head node to initiate the high precision per-packet on-path telemetry for these flows.

5. Standard Status and Gaps

A complete IFIT-based solution needs standard interfaces for configuration and data extraction, and standard encapsulation on various transport protocols. It may also need standard API and primitives for application programming and deployment. The draft [I-D.brockners-opsawg-ioam-deployment] summarizes some current proposals on encapsulation and data export for IOAM. These works should be extended or modified to support other types of on-path telemetry techniques and other transport protocols. The high-level IFIT helps to develop coherent and universal standard encapsulation and data export approaches.

5.1. Encapsulation in Transport Protocols

Since the introduction of IOAM, the IOAM option header encapsulation schemes in various network protocols have been proposed. Similar encapsulation schemes need to be extended to cover the other on-path telemetry techniques. On the other hand, the encapsulation scheme for some popular protocols, such as MPLS and IPv4, are noticeably missing. It is important to provide the encapsulation schemes for these protocols because they are still prevalent in carrier networks. IFIT needs to provide solutions to apply the on-path flow telemetry techniques in such networks. PBT-M does not introduce new headers to the packets so the trouble of encapsulation for a new header is avoided. While there are some proposals which allow new header encapsulation in MPLS packets (e.g., [I-D.song-mpls-extension-header]) or in IPv4 packets (e.g., [I-D.herbert-ipv4-eh]), they are still in their infancy stage and require significant future work. For the meantime, in a confined IFIT domain, pre-standard encapsulation approaches may be applied.

5.2. Tunneling Support

In carrier networks, it is common for user traffic to traverse various tunnels for QoS, traffic engineering, or security. IFIT supports both the uniform mode and the pipe mode for tunnel support as described in [I-D.song-ippm-ioam-tunnel-mode]. With such flexibility, the operator can either gain a true end-to-end visibility or apply a hierarchical approach which isolates the monitoring domain between customer and provider.

5.3. Deployment Automation

In addition, standard approaches that automates the function configuration, and capability query and advertisement, either in a centralized fashion or a distributed fashion, are still immature. The draft [I-D.zhou-ippm-ioam-yang] provides the YANG model for IOAM configuration. Similar models needs to be defined for other techniques. It is also helpful to provide standards-based approaches for configuration in various network environments. For example, in segment routing networks, extensions to BGP or PCEP can be defined to distribute SR policies carrying IFIT information, so that IFIT behavior can be enabled automatically when the SR policy is applied. [I-D.chen-pce-sr-policy-ifit] proposes to extend PCEP policy for IFIT configuration in segment routing networks. [I-D.qin-idr-sr-policy-ifit] proposes to extend BGP policy instead for IFIT configuration in segment routing networks. Additional capability discovery and dissemination will be needed for other types of networks.

To realize the potential of IFIT, programming and deploying DNPs are important. ForCES is a standard protocol for network device programming, which can be used for DNP deployment. Currently some related works such as [I-D.wwx-netmod-event-yang] and [I-D.bwd-netmod-eca-framework] have proposed to use YANG model to define the smart policies which can be used to implement DNPs. In the future, other approaches for hardware and software-based functions can be development to enhance the programmability and flexibility.

6. Summary

IFIT is a high-level framework for applying on-path telemetry techniques, and this document has outlined how the framework may be used to solve essential use cases. IFIT enables a practical data-plane telemetry application based on two basic on-path traffic data collection modes: passport and postcard.

IFIT addresses the key challenges for operators to deploy a complete on-path telemetry solution. However, as a reference and open framework, IFIT only describes the basic functions of each identified component and suggests possible applications. It has no intention of specifying the implementation of the components and the interfaces between the components. The compliance of IFIT is by no means mandatory either. Instead, this informational document aims to clarify the problem domain, and summarize the best practices and sensible system design considerations. IFIT can guide the analysis of the current standard status and gaps, and motivate new works to complete the ecosystem. IFIT enables data-plane reflective telemetry applications for advanced network operations.

Having a high-level framework covering a class of related techniques also promotes a holistic approach for standard development and helps to avoid duplicated efforts and piecemeal solutions that only focus on a specific technique while omitting the compatibility and extensibility issues, which is important to a healthy ecosystem for network telemetry.

7. Security Considerations

In addition to the specific security issues discussed in each individual document on on-path telemetry, this document considers the overall security issues at the IFIT system level. This should serve as a guide to the on-path telemetry application developers and users.

8. IANA Considerations

This document includes no request to IANA.

9. Contributors

Other major contributors of this document include Giuseppe Fioccola, Daniel King, Zhenqiang Li, Zhenbin Li, Tianran Zhou, and James Guichard.

10. Acknowledgments

We thank Diego Lopez, Shwetha Bhandari, Joe Clarke, Adrian Farrel, Frank Brockners, Al Morton, Alex Clemm, Alan DeKok, and Warren Kumari for their constructive suggestions for improving this document.

11. References

11.1. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[RFC7799] Morton, A., "Active and Passive Metrics and Methods (with Hybrid Types In-Between)", RFC 7799, DOI 10.17487/RFC7799, May 2016.
[RFC8174] Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, May 2017.

11.2. Informative References

[CMSketch] Cormode, G. and S. Muthukrishnan, "An improved data stream summary: the count-min sketch and its applications", 2005.
[I-D.brockners-opsawg-ioam-deployment] Brockners, F., Bhandari, S. and d. daniel.bernier@bell.ca, "In-situ OAM Deployment", Internet-Draft draft-brockners-opsawg-ioam-deployment-01, March 2020.
[I-D.bwd-netmod-eca-framework] Boucadair, M., WU, Q., Wang, Z., King, D. and C. Xie, "Framework for Use of ECA (Event Condition Action) in Network Self Management", Internet-Draft draft-bwd-netmod-eca-framework-00, November 2019.
[I-D.chen-pce-sr-policy-ifit] Chen, H., Yuan, H., Zhou, T., Li, W. and G. Fioccola, "PCEP SR Policy Extensions to Enable IFIT", Internet-Draft draft-chen-pce-sr-policy-ifit-00, January 2020.
[I-D.herbert-ipv4-eh] Herbert, T., "IPv4 Extension Headers and Flow Label", Internet-Draft draft-herbert-ipv4-eh-01, May 2019.
[I-D.ietf-ippm-ioam-data] Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Pignataro, C., Gredler, H., Leddy, J., Youell, S., Mizrahi, T., Mozes, D., Lapukhov, P., remy@barefootnetworks.com, r., daniel.bernier@bell.ca, d. and J. Lemon, "Data Fields for In-situ OAM", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-ippm-ioam-data-09, March 2020.
[I-D.ietf-ippm-ioam-direct-export] Song, H., Gafni, B., Zhou, T., Li, Z., Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Sivakolundu, R. and T. Mizrahi, "In-situ OAM Direct Exporting", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-ippm-ioam-direct-export-00, February 2020.
[I-D.ietf-ippm-multipoint-alt-mark] Fioccola, G., Cociglio, M., Sapio, A. and R. Sisto, "Multipoint Alternate Marking method for passive and hybrid performance monitoring", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-ippm-multipoint-alt-mark-09, March 2020.
[I-D.ietf-opsawg-ntf] Song, H., Qin, F., Martinez-Julia, P., Ciavaglia, L. and A. Wang, "Network Telemetry Framework", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-opsawg-ntf-03, April 2020.
[I-D.mirsky-ippm-hybrid-two-step] Mirsky, G., Lingqiang, W. and G. Zhui, "Hybrid Two-Step Performance Measurement Method", Internet-Draft draft-mirsky-ippm-hybrid-two-step-04, October 2019.
[I-D.qin-idr-sr-policy-ifit] Qin, F., Yuan, H., Zhou, T., Min, L. and G. Fioccola, "BGP SR Policy Extensions to Enable IFIT", Internet-Draft draft-qin-idr-sr-policy-ifit-00, January 2020.
[I-D.song-ippm-ioam-tunnel-mode] Song, H., Li, Z., Zhou, T. and Z. Wang, "In-situ OAM Processing in Tunnels", Internet-Draft draft-song-ippm-ioam-tunnel-mode-00, June 2018.
[I-D.song-ippm-postcard-based-telemetry] Song, H., Zhou, T., Li, Z., Shin, J. and K. Lee, "Postcard-based On-Path Flow Data Telemetry", Internet-Draft draft-song-ippm-postcard-based-telemetry-07, April 2020.
[I-D.song-mpls-extension-header] Song, H., Li, Z., Zhou, T. and L. Andersson, "MPLS Extension Header", Internet-Draft draft-song-mpls-extension-header-02, February 2019.
[I-D.song-multicast-telemetry] Song, H., McBride, M. and G. Mirsky, "Requirement and Solution for Multicast Traffic On-path Telemetry", Internet-Draft draft-song-multicast-telemetry-04, April 2020.
[I-D.wwx-netmod-event-yang] Wang, Z., WU, Q., Bryskin, I., Liu, X. and B. Claise, "A YANG Data model for ECA Policy Management", Internet-Draft draft-wwx-netmod-event-yang-06, December 2019.
[I-D.zhou-ippm-enhanced-alternate-marking] Zhou, T., Fioccola, G., Li, Z., Lee, S. and M. Cociglio, "Enhanced Alternate Marking Method", Internet-Draft draft-zhou-ippm-enhanced-alternate-marking-04, October 2019.
[I-D.zhou-ippm-ioam-yang] Zhou, T., Guichard, J., Brockners, F. and S. Raghavan, "A YANG Data Model for In-Situ OAM", Internet-Draft draft-zhou-ippm-ioam-yang-06, March 2020.
[passport-postcard] Handigol, N., Heller, B., Jeyakumar, V., Mazieres, D. and N. McKeown, "Where is the debugger for my software-defined network?", 2012.
[RFC5810] Doria, A., Hadi Salim, J., Haas, R., Khosravi, H., Wang, W., Dong, L., Gopal, R. and J. Halpern, "Forwarding and Control Element Separation (ForCES) Protocol Specification", RFC 5810, DOI 10.17487/RFC5810, March 2010.
[RFC7011] Claise, B., Trammell, B. and P. Aitken, "Specification of the IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) Protocol for the Exchange of Flow Information", STD 77, RFC 7011, DOI 10.17487/RFC7011, September 2013.

Authors' Addresses

Haoyu Song Futurewei 2330 Central Expressway Santa Clara, USA EMail: haoyu.song@futurewei.com
Fengwei Qin China Mobile No. 32 Xuanwumenxi Ave., Xicheng District Beijing, 100032, P.R. China EMail: qinfengwei@chinamobile.com
Huanan Chen China Telecom P. R. China EMail: chenhuan6@chinatelecom.cn
Jaehwan Jin LG U+ South Korea EMail: daenamu1@lguplus.co.kr
Jongyoon Shin SK Telecom South Korea EMail: jongyoon.shin@sk.com