6. I2RS Agent Role and Functionality
The I2RS agent is part of a routing element. As such, it has
relationships with that routing element as a whole and with various
components of that routing element.
6.1. Relationship to Its Routing Element
A Routing Element may be implemented with a wide variety of different
architectures: an integrated router, a split architecture,
distributed architecture, etc. The architecture does not need to
affect the general I2RS agent behavior.
For scalability and generality, the I2RS agent may be responsible for
collecting and delivering large amounts of data from various parts of
the routing element. Those parts may or may not actually be part of
a single physical device. Thus, for scalability and robustness, it
is important that the architecture allow for a distributed set of
reporting components providing collected data from the I2RS agent
back to the relevant I2RS clients. There may be multiple I2RS agents
within the same router. In such a case, they must have non-
overlapping sets of information that they manipulate.
To facilitate operations, deployment, and troubleshooting, it is
important that traceability of the requests received by I2RS agent's
and actions taken be supported via a common data model.
6.2. I2RS State Storage
State modification requests are sent to the I2RS agent in a routing
element by I2RS clients. The I2RS agent is responsible for applying
these changes to the system, subject to the authorization discussed
above. The I2RS agent will retain knowledge of the changes it has
applied, and the client on whose behalf it applied the changes. The
I2RS agent will also store active subscriptions. These sets of data
form the I2RS datastore. This data is retained by the agent until
the state is removed by the client, it is overridden by some other
operation such as CLI, or the device reboots. Meaningful logging of
the application and removal of changes are recommended. I2RS-applied
changes to the routing element state will not be retained across
routing element reboot. The I2RS datastore is not preserved across
routing element reboots; thus, the I2RS agent will not attempt to
reapply such changes after a reboot.
6.2.1. I2RS Agent Failure
It is expected that an I2RS agent may fail independently of the
associated routing element. This could happen because I2RS is
disabled on the routing element or because the I2RS agent, which may
be a separate process or even running on a separate processor,
experiences an unexpected failure. Just as routing state learned
from a failed source is removed, the ephemeral I2RS state will
usually be removed shortly after the failure is detected or as part
of a graceful shutdown process. To handle these two types of
failures, the I2RS agent MUST support two different notifications: a
notification for the I2RS agent terminating gracefully, and a
notification for the I2RS agent starting up after an unexpected
failure. The two notifications are described below followed by a
description of their use in unexpected failures and graceful
NOTIFICATION_I2RS_AGENT_TERMINATING: This notification reports that
the associated I2RS agent is shutting down gracefully and that
I2RS ephemeral state will be removed. It can optionally include a
timestamp indicating when the I2RS agent will shut down. Use of
this timestamp assumes that time synchronization has been done,
and the timestamp should not have granularity finer than one
second because better accuracy of shutdown time is not guaranteed.
NOTIFICATION_I2RS_AGENT_STARTING: This notification signals to the
I2RS client(s) that the associated I2RS agent has started. It
includes an agent-boot-count that indicates how many times the
I2RS agent has restarted since the associated routing element
restarted. The agent-boot-count allows an I2RS client to
determine if the I2RS agent has restarted. (Note: This
notification will be sent by the I2RS agent to I2RS clients that
are known by the I2RS agent after a reboot. How the I2RS agent
retains the knowledge of these I2RS clients is out of scope of
There are two different failure types that are possible, and each has
Unexpected failure: In this case, the I2RS agent has unexpectedly
crashed and thus cannot notify its clients of anything. Since
I2RS does not require a persistent connection between the I2RS
client and I2RS agent, it is necessary to have a mechanism for the
I2RS agent to notify I2RS clients that had subscriptions or
written ephemeral state; such I2RS clients should be cached by the
I2RS agent's system in persistent storage. When the I2RS agent
starts, it should send a NOTIFICATION_I2RS_AGENT_STARTING to each
cached I2RS client.
Graceful shutdowns: In this case, the I2RS agent can do specific
limited work as part of the process of being disabled. The I2RS
agent must send a NOTIFICATION_I2RS_AGENT_TERMINATING to all its
cached I2RS clients. If the I2RS agent restarts after a graceful
termination, it will send a NOTIFICATION_I2RS_AGENT_STARTING to
each cached I2RS client.
6.2.2. Starting and Ending
When an I2RS client applies changes via the I2RS protocol, those
changes are applied and left until removed or the routing element
reboots. The network application may make decisions about what to
request via I2RS based upon a variety of conditions that imply
different start times and stop times. That complexity is managed by
the network application and is not handled by I2RS.
An I2RS agent may decide that some state should no longer be applied.
An I2RS client may instruct an agent to remove state it has applied.
In all such cases, the state will revert to what it would have been
without the I2RS client-agent interaction; that state is generally
whatever was specified via the CLI, NETCONF, SNMP, etc., I2RS agents
will not store multiple alternative states, nor try to determine
which one among such a plurality it should fall back to. Thus, the
model followed is not like the RIB, where multiple routes are stored
at different preferences. (For I2RS state in the presence of two
I2RS clients, please see Sections 1.2 and 7.8)
An I2RS client may register for notifications, subject to its
notification scope, regarding state modification or removal by a
particular I2RS client.
6.3. Interactions with Local Configuration
Changes may originate from either Local Configuration or from I2RS.
The modifications and data stored by I2RS are separate from the local
device configuration, but conflicts between the two must be resolved
in a deterministic manner that respects operator-applied policy. The
deterministic manner is the result of general I2RS rules, system
rules, knobs adjusted by operator-applied policy, and the rules
associated with the YANG data model (often in "MUST" and "WHEN"
clauses for dependencies).
The operator-applied policy knobs can determine whether the Local
Configuration overrides a particular I2RS client's request or vice
versa. Normally, most devices will have an operator-applied policy
that will prioritize the I2RS client's ephemeral configuration
changes so that ephemeral data overrides the Local Configuration.
These operator-applied policy knobs can be implemented in many ways.
One way is for the routing element to configure a priority on the
Local Configuration and a priority on the I2RS client's write of the
ephemeral configuration. The I2RS mechanism would compare the I2RS
client's priority to write with that priority assigned to the Local
Configuration in order to determine whether Local Configuration or
I2RS client's write of ephemeral data wins.
To make sure the I2RS client's requests are what the operator
desires, the I2RS data modules have a general rule that, by default,
the Local Configuration always wins over the I2RS ephemeral
The reason for this general rule is if there is no operator-applied
policy to turn on I2RS ephemeral overwrites of Local Configuration,
then the I2RS overwrites should not occur. This general rule allows
the I2RS agents to be installed in routing systems and the
communication tested between I2RS clients and I2RS agents without the
I2RS agent overwriting configuration state. For more details, see
the examples below.
In the case when the I2RS ephemeral state always wins for a data
model, if there is an I2RS ephemeral state value, it is installed
instead of the Local Configuration state value. The Local
Configuration information is stored so that if/when an I2RS client
removes I2RS ephemeral state, the Local Configuration state can be
When the Local Configuration always wins, some communication between
that subsystem and the I2RS agent is still necessary. As an I2RS
agent connects to the routing subsystem, the I2RS agent must also
communicate with the Local Configuration to exchange model
information so the I2RS agent knows the details of each specific
device configuration change that the I2RS agent is permitted to
modify. In addition, when the system determines that a client's I2RS
state is preempted, the I2RS agent must notify the affected I2RS
clients; how the system determines this is implementation dependent.
It is critical that policy based upon the source is used because the
resolution cannot be time based. Simply allowing the most recent
state to prevail could cause race conditions where the final state is
not repeatably deterministic.
6.3.1. Examples of Local Configuration vs. I2RS Ephemeral Configuration
A set of examples is useful in order to illustrated these
architecture principles. Assume there are three routers: Router A,
Router B, and Router C. There are two operator-applied policy knobs
that these three routers must have regarding ephemeral state.
o Policy Knob 1: Ephemeral configuration overwrites Local
o Policy Knob 2: Update of Local Configuration value supersedes and
overwrites the ephemeral configuration.
For Policy Knob 1, the routers with an I2RS agent receiving a write
for an ephemeral entry in a data model must consider the following:
1. Does the operator policy allow the ephemeral configuration
changes to have priority over existing Local Configuration?
2. Does the YANG data model have any rules associated with the
ephemeral configuration (such as the "MUST" or "WHEN" rule)?
For this example, there is no "MUST" or "WHEN" rule in the data being
The policy settings are:
Policy Knob 1 Policy Knob 2
Router A ephemeral has ephemeral has
Router B Local Configuration Local Configuration
has priority has priority
Router C ephemeral has Local Configuration
priority has priority
Router A has the normal operator policy in Policy Knob 1 and Policy
Knob 2 that prioritizes ephemeral configuration over Local
Configuration in the I2RS agent. An I2RS client sends a write to an
ephemeral configuration value via an I2RS agent in Router A. The
I2RS agent overwrites the configuration value in the intended
configuration, and the I2RS agent returns an acknowledgement of the
write. If the Local Configuration value changes, Router A stays with
the ephemeral configuration written by the I2RS client.
Router B's operator has no desire to allow ephemeral writes to
overwrite Local Configuration even though it has installed an I2RS
agent. Router B's policy prioritizes the Local Configuration over
the ephemeral write. When the I2RS agent on Router B receives a
write from an I2RS client, the I2RS agent will check the operator
Policy Knob 1 and return a response to the I2RS client indicating the
operator policy did not allow the overwriting of the Local
The Router B case demonstrates why the I2RS architecture sets the
default to the Local Configuration wins. Since I2RS functionality is
new, the operator must enable it. Otherwise, the I2RS ephemeral
functionality is off. Router B's operators can install the I2RS code
and test responses without engaging the I2RS overwrite function.
Router C's operator sets Policy Knob 1 for the I2RS clients to
overwrite existing Local Configuration and Policy Knob 2 for the
Local Configuration changes to update ephemeral state. To understand
why an operator might set the policy knobs this way, consider that
Router C is under the control of an operator that has a back-end
system that re-writes the Local Configuration of all systems at 11
p.m. each night. Any ephemeral change to the network is only
supposed to last until 11 p.m. when the next Local Configuration
changes are rolled out from the back-end system. The I2RS client
writes the ephemeral state during the day, and the I2RS agent on
Router C updates the value. At 11 p.m., the back-end configuration
system updates the Local Configuration via NETCONF, and the I2RS
agent is notified that the Local Configuration updated this value.
The I2RS agent notifies the I2RS client that the value has been
overwritten by the Local Configuration. The I2RS client in this use
case is a part of an application that tracks any ephemeral state
changes to make sure all ephemeral changes are included in the next
6.4. Routing Components and Associated I2RS Services
For simplicity, each logical protocol or set of functionality that
can be compactly described in a separable information and data model
is considered as a separate I2RS service. A routing element need not
implement all routing components described nor provide the associated
I2RS services. I2RS services should include a capability model so
that peers can determine which parts of the service are supported.
Each I2RS service requires an information model that describes at
least the following: data that can be read, data that can be written,
notifications that can be subscribed to, and the capability model
6.4.1. Routing and Label Information Bases
Routing elements may maintain one or more information bases.
Examples include Routing Information Bases such as IPv4/IPv6 Unicast
or IPv4/IPv6 Multicast. Another such example includes the MPLS Label
Information Bases, per platform, per interface, or per context. This
functionality, exposed via an I2RS service, must interact smoothly
with the same mechanisms that the routing element already uses to
handle RIB input from multiple sources. Conceptually, this can be
handled by having the I2RS agent communicate with a RIB Manager as a
separate routing source.
The point-to-multipoint state added to the RIB does not need to match
to well-known multicast protocol installed state. The I2RS agent can
create arbitrary replication state in the RIB, subject to the
advertised capabilities of the routing element.
6.4.2. IGPs, BGP, and Multicast Protocols
A separate I2RS service can expose each routing protocol on the
device. Such I2RS services may include a number of different kinds
o reading the various internal RIB(s) of the routing protocol is
often helpful for understanding the state of the network.
Directly writing to these protocol-specific RIBs or databases is
out of scope for I2RS.
o reading the various pieces of policy information the particular
protocol instance is using to drive its operations.
o writing policy information such as interface attributes that are
specific to the routing protocol or BGP policy that may indirectly
manipulate attributes of routes carried in BGP.
o writing routes or prefixes to be advertised via the protocol.
o joining/removing interfaces from the multicast trees.
o subscribing to an information stream of route changes.
o receiving notifications about peers coming up or going down.
For example, the interaction with OSPF might include modifying the
local routing element's link metrics, announcing a locally attached
prefix, or reading some of the OSPF link-state database. However,
direct modification of the link-state database must not be allowed in
order to preserve network state consistency.
I2RS services will be needed to expose the protocols that create
transport LSPs (e.g., LDP and RSVP-TE) as well as protocols (e.g.,
BGP, LDP) that provide MPLS-based services (e.g., pseudowires,
L3VPNs, L2VPNs, etc). This should include all local information
about LSPs originating in, transiting, or terminating in this Routing
6.4.4. Policy and QoS Mechanisms
Many network elements have separate policy and QoS mechanisms,
including knobs that affect local path computation and queue control
capabilities. These capabilities vary widely across implementations,
and I2RS cannot model the full range of information collection or
manipulation of these attributes. A core set does need to be
included in the I2RS information models and supported in the expected
interfaces between the I2RS agent and the network element, in order
to provide basic capabilities and the hooks for future extensibility.
By taking advantage of extensibility and subclassing, information
models can specify use of a basic model that can be replaced by a
more detailed model.
6.4.5. Information Modeling, Device Variation, and Information
I2RS depends heavily on information models of the relevant aspects of
the Routing Elements to be manipulated. These models drive the data
models and protocol operations for I2RS. It is important that these
information models deal well with a wide variety of actual
implementations of Routing Elements, as seen between different
products and different vendors. There are three ways that I2RS
information models can address these variations: class or type
inheritance, optional features, and templating.
22.214.171.124. Managing Variation: Object Classes/Types and Inheritance
Information modeled by I2RS from a Routing Element can be described
in terms of classes or types or object. Different valid inheritance
definitions can apply. What is appropriate for I2RS to use is not
determined in this architecture; for simplicity, "class" and
"subclass" will be used as the example terminology. This I2RS
architecture does require the ability to address variation in Routing
Elements by allowing information models to define parent or base
classes and subclasses.
The base or parent class defines the common aspects that all Routing
Elements are expected to support. Individual subclasses can
represent variations and additional capabilities. When applicable,
there may be several levels of refinement. The I2RS protocol can
then provide mechanisms to allow an I2RS client to determine which
classes a given I2RS agent has available. I2RS clients that only
want basic capabilities can operate purely in terms of base or parent
classes, while a client needing more details or features can work
with the supported subclass(es).
As part of I2RS information modeling, clear rules should be specified
for how the parent class and subclass can relate; for example, what
changes can a subclass make to its parent? The description of such
rules should be done so that it can apply across data modeling tools
until the I2RS data modeling language is selected.
126.96.36.199. Managing Variation: Optionality
I2RS information models must be clear about what aspects are
optional. For instance, must an instance of a class always contain a
particular data field X? If so, must the client provide a value for
X when creating the object or is there a well-defined default value?
From the Routing Element perspective, in the above example, each
information model should provide information regarding the following
o Is X required for the data field to be accepted and applied?
o If X is optional, then how does "X" as an optional portion of the
data field interact with the required aspects of the data field?
o Does the data field have defaults for the mandatory portion of the
field and the optional portions of the field?
o Is X required to be within a particular set of values (e.g.,
range, length of strings)?
The information model needs to be clear about what read or write
values are set by the client and what responses or actions are
required by the agent. It is important to indicate what is required
or optional in client values and agent responses/actions.
188.8.131.52. Managing Variation: Templating
A template is a collection of information to address a problem; it
cuts across the notions of class and object instances. A template
provides a set of defined values for a set of information fields and
can specify a set of values that must be provided to complete the
template. Further, a flexible template scheme may allow some of the
defined values to be overwritten.
For instance, assigning traffic to a particular service class might
be done by specifying a template queueing with a parameter to
indicate Gold, Silver, or Best Effort. The details of how that is
carried out are not modeled. This does assume that the necessary
templates are made available on the Routing Element via some
mechanism other than I2RS. The idea is that by providing suitable
templates for tasks that need to be accomplished, with templates
implemented differently for different kinds of Routing Elements, the
client can easily interact with the Routing Element without concern
for the variations that are handled by values included in the
If implementation variation can be exposed in other ways, templates
may not be needed. However, templates themselves could be objects
referenced in the protocol messages, with Routing Elements being
configured with the proper templates to complete the operation. This
is a topic for further discussion.
184.108.40.206. Object Relationships
Objects (in a Routing Element or otherwise) do not exist in
isolation. They are related to each other. One of the important
things a class definition does is represent the relationships between
instances of different classes. These relationships can be very
simple or quite complicated. The following sections list the
information relationships that the information models need to
The simplest relationship is that one object instance is initialized
by copying another. For example, one may have an object instance
that represents the default setup for a tunnel, and all new tunnels
have fields copied from there if they are not set as part of
establishment. This is closely related to the templates discussed
above, but not identical. Since the relationship is only momentary,
it is often not formally represented in modeling but only captured in
the semantic description of the default object.
220.127.116.11.2. Correlation Identification
Often, it suffices to indicate in one object that it is related to a
second object, without having a strong binding between the two. So
an identifier is used to represent the relationship. This can be
used to allow for late binding or a weak binding that does not even
need to exist. A policy name in an object might indicate that if a
policy by that name exists, it is to be applied under some
circumstance. In modeling, this is often represented by the type of
18.104.22.168.3. Object References
Sometimes the relationship between objects is stronger. A valid ARP
entry has to point to the active interface over which it was derived.
This is the classic meaning of an object reference in programming.
It can be used for relationships like containment or dependence.
This is usually represented by an explicit modeling link.
22.214.171.124.4. Active References
There is an even stronger form of coupling between objects if changes
in one of the two objects are always to be reflected in the state of
the other. For example, if a tunnel has an MTU (maximum transmit
unit), and link MTU changes need to immediately propagate to the
tunnel MTU, then the tunnel is actively coupled to the link
interface. This kind of active state coupling implies some sort of
internal bookkeeping to ensure consistency, often conceptualized as a
subscription model across objects.
7. I2RS Client Agent Interface
7.1. One Control and Data Exchange Protocol
This I2RS architecture assumes a data-model-driven protocol where the
data models are defined in YANG 1.1 [YANG1.1] and associated YANG
based model documents [RFC6991], [RFC7223], [RFC7224], [RFC7277],
[RFC7317]. Two of the protocols to be expanded to support the I2RS
protocol are NETCONF [RFC6241] and RESTCONF [RESTCONF]. This helps
meet the goal of simplicity and thereby enhances deployability. The
I2RS protocol may need to use several underlying transports (TCP,
SCTP (Stream Control Transport Protocol), DCCP (Datagram Congestion
Control Protocol)), with suitable authentication and integrity-
protection mechanisms. These different transports can support
different types of communication (e.g., control, reading,
notifications, and information collection) and different sets of
data. Whatever transport is used for the data exchange, it must also
support suitable congestion-control mechanisms. The transports
chosen should be operator and implementor friendly to ease adoption.
Each version of the I2RS protocol will specify the following: a)
which transports may be used by the I2RS protocol, b) which
transports are mandatory to implement, and c) which transports are
optional to implement.
7.2. Communication Channels
Multiple communication channels and multiple types of communication
channels are required. There may be a range of requirements (e.g.,
confidentiality, reliability), and to support the scaling, there may
need to be channels originating from multiple subcomponents of a
routing element and/or to multiple parts of an I2RS client. All such
communication channels will use the same higher-layer I2RS protocol
(which combines secure transport and I2RS contextual information).
The use of additional channels for communication will be coordinated
between the I2RS client and the I2RS agent using this protocol.
I2RS protocol communication may be delivered in-band via the routing
system's data plane. I2RS protocol communication might be delivered
out-of-band via a management interface. Depending on what operations
are requested, it is possible for the I2RS protocol communication to
cause the in-band communication channels to stop working; this could
cause the I2RS agent to become unreachable across that communication
7.3. Capability Negotiation
The support for different protocol capabilities and I2RS services
will vary across I2RS clients and Routing Elements supporting I2RS
agents. Since each I2RS service is required to include a capability
model (see Section 6.4), negotiation at the protocol level can be
restricted to protocol specifics and which I2RS services are
Capability negotiation (such as which transports are supported beyond
the minimum required to implement) will clearly be necessary. It is
important that such negotiations be kept simple and robust, as such
mechanisms are often a source of difficulty in implementation and
The protocol capability negotiation can be segmented into the basic
version negotiation (required to ensure basic communication), and the
more complex capability exchange that can take place within the base
protocol mechanisms. In particular, the more complex protocol and
mechanism negotiation can be addressed by defining information models
for both the I2RS agent and the I2RS client. These information
models can describe the various capability options. This can then
represent and be used to communicate important information about the
agent and the capabilities thereof.
7.4. Scope Policy Specifications
As Sections 4.1 and 4.2 describe, each I2RS client will have a unique
identity and may have a secondary identity (see Section 2) to aid in
troubleshooting. As Section 4 indicates, all authentication and
authorization mechanisms are based on the primary identity, which
links to a role with scope policy for reading data, for writing data,
and for limiting the resources that can be consumed. The
specifications for data scope policy (for read, write, or resources
consumption) need to specify the data being controlled by the policy,
and acceptable ranges of values for the data.
An I2RS client may or may not maintain an active communication
channel with an I2RS agent. Therefore, an I2RS agent may need to
open a communication channel to the client to communicate previously
requested information. The lack of an active communication channel
does not imply that the associated I2RS client is non-functional.
When communication is required, the I2RS agent or I2RS client can
open a new communication channel.
State held by an I2RS agent that is owned by an I2RS client should
not be removed or cleaned up when a client is no longer
communicating, even if the agent cannot successfully open a new
communication channel to the client.
For many applications, it may be desirable to clean up state if a
network application dies before removing the state it has created.
Typically, this is dealt with in terms of network application
redundancy. If stronger mechanisms are desired, mechanisms outside
of I2RS may allow a supervisory network application to monitor I2RS
clients and, based on policy known to the supervisor, clean up state
if applications die. More complex mechanisms instantiated in the
I2RS agent would add complications to the I2RS protocol and are thus
left for future work.
Some examples of such a mechanism include the following. In one
option, the client could request state cleanup if a particular
transport session is terminated. The second is to allow state
expiration, expressed as a policy associated with the I2RS client's
role. The state expiration could occur after there has been no
successful communication channel to or from the I2RS client for the
As with any policy system interacting with the network, the I2RS
client needs to be able to receive notifications of changes in
network state. Notifications here refer to changes that are
unanticipated, represent events outside the control of the systems
(such as interface failures on controlled devices), or are
sufficiently sparse as to be anomalous in some fashion. A
notification may also be due to a regular event.
Such events may be of interest to multiple I2RS clients controlling
data handled by an I2RS agent and to multiple other I2RS clients that
are collecting information without exerting control. The
architecture therefore requires that it be practical for I2RS clients
to register for a range of notifications and for the I2RS agents to
send notifications to a number of clients. The I2RS client should be
able to filter the specific notifications that will be received; the
specific types of events and filtering operations can vary by
information model and need to be specified as part of the information
The I2RS information model needs to include representation of these
events. As discussed earlier, the capability information in the
model will allow I2RS clients to understand which events a given I2RS
agent is capable of generating.
For performance and scaling by the I2RS client and general
information confidentiality, an I2RS client needs to be able to
register for just the events it is interested in. It is also
possible that I2RS might provide a stream of notifications via a
publish/subscribe mechanism that is not amenable to having the I2RS
agent do the filtering.
7.7. Information Collection
One of the other important aspects of I2RS is that it is intended to
simplify collecting information about the state of network elements.
This includes both getting a snapshot of a large amount of data about
the current state of the network element and subscribing to a feed of
the ongoing changes to the set of data or a subset thereof. This is
considered architecturally separate from notifications due to the
differences in information rate and total volume.
7.8. Multi-headed Control
As described earlier, an I2RS agent interacts with multiple I2RS
clients who are actively controlling the network element. From an
architecture and design perspective, the assumption is that by means
outside of this system, the data to be manipulated within the network
element is appropriately partitioned so that any given piece of
information is only being manipulated by a single I2RS client.
Nonetheless, unexpected interactions happen, and two (or more) I2RS
clients may attempt to manipulate the same piece of data. This is
considered an error case. This architecture does not attempt to
determine what the right state of data should be when such a
collision happens. Rather, the architecture mandates that there be
decidable means by which I2RS agents handle the collisions. The
mechanism for ensuring predictability is to have a simple priority
associated with each I2RS client, and the highest priority change
remains in effect. In the case of priority ties, the first I2RS
client whose attribution is associated with the data will keep
In order for this approach to multi-headed control to be useful for
I2RS clients, it is necessary that an I2RS client can register to
receive notifications about changes made to writeable data, whose
state is of specific interest to that I2RS client. This is included
in the I2RS event mechanisms. This also needs to apply to changes
made by CLI/NETCONF/SNMP within the write scope of the I2RS agent, as
the same priority mechanism (even if it is "CLI always wins") applies
there. The I2RS client may then respond to the situation as it sees
In the interest of simplicity, the I2RS architecture does not include
multi-message atomicity and rollback mechanisms. Rather, it includes
a small range of error handling for a set of operations included in a
single message. An I2RS client may indicate one of the following
three methods of error handling for a given message with multiple
operations that it sends to an I2RS agent:
Perform all or none: This traditional SNMP semantic indicates that
the I2RS agent will keep enough state when handling a single
message to roll back the operations within that message. Either
all the operations will succeed, or none of them will be applied,
and an error message will report the single failure that caused
them not to be applied. This is useful when there are, for
example, mutual dependencies across operations in the message.
Perform until error: In this case, the operations in the message are
applied in the specified order. When an error occurs, no further
operations are applied, and an error is returned indicating the
failure. This is useful if there are dependencies among the
operations and they can be topologically sorted.
Perform all storing errors: In this case, the I2RS agent will
attempt to perform all the operations in the message and will
return error indications for each one that fails. This is useful
when there is no dependency across the operation or when the I2RS
client would prefer to sort out the effect of errors on its own.
In the interest of robustness and clarity of protocol state, the
protocol will include an explicit reply to modification or write
operations even when they fully succeed.
8. Operational and Manageability Considerations
In order to facilitate troubleshooting of routing elements
implementing I2RS agents, the routing elements should provide for a
mechanism to show actively provisioned I2RS state and other I2RS
agent internal information. Note that this information may contain
highly sensitive material subject to the security considerations of
any data models implemented by that agent and thus must be protected
according to those considerations. Preferably, this mechanism should
use a different privileged means other than simply connecting as an
I2RS client to learn the data. Using a different mechanism should
improve traceability and failure management.
Manageability plays a key aspect in I2RS. Some initial examples
Resource Limitations: Using I2RS, applications can consume
resources, whether those be operations in a time frame, entries in
the RIB, stored operations to be triggered, etc. The ability to
set resource limits based upon authorization is important.
Configuration Interactions: The interaction of state installed via
I2RS and via a router's configuration needs to be clearly defined.
As described in this architecture, a simple priority that is
configured is used to provide sufficient policy flexibility.
Traceability of Interactions: The ability to trace the interactions
of the requests received by the I2RS agent's and actions taken by
the I2RS agents is needed so that operations can monitor I2RS
agents during deployment, and troubleshoot software or network
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