Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) S. Kiesel, Ed. Request for Comments: 6708 University of Stuttgart Category: Informational S. Previdi ISSN: 2070-1721 Cisco Systems, Inc. M. Stiemerling NEC Europe Ltd. R. Woundy Comcast Corporation Y. Yang Yale University September 2012 Application-Layer Traffic Optimization (ALTO) Requirements
AbstractMany Internet applications are used to access resources, such as pieces of information or server processes that are available in several equivalent replicas on different hosts. This includes, but is not limited to, peer-to-peer file sharing applications. The goal of Application-Layer Traffic Optimization (ALTO) is to provide guidance to applications that have to select one or several hosts from a set of candidates capable of providing a desired resource. This guidance shall be based on parameters that affect performance and efficiency of the data transmission between the hosts, e.g., the topological distance. The ultimate goal is to improve performance or Quality of Experience in the application while reducing the utilization of the underlying network infrastructure. This document enumerates requirements for specifying, assessing, or comparing protocols and implementations. Status of This Memo This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is published for informational purposes. This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Not all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741. Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6708.
Copyright Notice Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved. This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License. 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. Terminology and Architectural Framework . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.1. Requirements Notation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.2. ALTO Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.3. Architectural Framework for ALTO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3. ALTO Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3.1. ALTO Client Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3.1.1. General Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3.1.2. Host-Group Descriptor Support . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3.1.3. Rating Criteria Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.1.4. Placement of Entities and Timing of Transactions . . . 9 3.1.5. Protocol Extensibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 3.1.6. Error Handling and Overload Protection . . . . . . . . 11 3.2. ALTO Server Discovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 3.3. Security and Privacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 4. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 5. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 5.1. High-Level Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 5.2. Information Disclosure Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 5.2.1. Classification of Information Disclosure Scenarios . . 14 5.2.2. Discussion of Information Disclosure Scenarios . . . . 16 5.3. ALTO Server Discovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 5.4. Security Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 6. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 6.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 6.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Appendix A. Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Appendix B. Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
RFC5693]. The goal of ALTO is to provide information that can help peer-to-peer (P2P) applications make better decisions with respect to peer selection. However, ALTO may be useful for non-P2P applications as well. For example, clients of client-server applications may use information provided by ALTO to select one of several servers or information replicas. As another example, ALTO information could be used to select a media relay needed for NAT traversal. The goal of these informed decisions is to improve performance or Quality of Experience in the application while reducing the utilization of the underlying network infrastructure. Usually, it would be difficult or even impossible for application entities to acquire this information by other mechanisms, e.g., using measurements between the peers of a P2P overlay, because of complexity or because it is based on network topology information, network operational costs, or network policies, which the respective network provider does not want to disclose in detail. The functional entities that provide the ALTO service do not take part in the actual user-data transport, i.e., they do not implement functions for relaying user data. These functional entities may be placed on various kinds of physical nodes, e.g., on dedicated servers, as auxiliary processes in routers, on "trackers" or "super peers" of a P2P application, etc. RFC2119]. RFC5693]: Application, Peer, P2P, Resource, Resource Identifier, Resource Provider, Resource Consumer, Transport Address, Overlay Network, Resource Directory, ALTO Service, ALTO Server, ALTO Client, ALTO
Query, ALTO Response, ALTO Transaction, Local Traffic, Peering Traffic, Transit Traffic, Application Protocol, ALTO Client Protocol, and Provisioning Protocol. Furthermore, the following additional terms will be used: o Host-Group Descriptor: Information used to describe one or more Internet hosts (such as the resource consumer that seeks ALTO guidance, or one or more candidate resource providers) and their location within the network topology. There can be several different types of host-group descriptors, for example, a single IP address, an address prefix or address range that contains the host(s), or an Autonomous System (AS) number. Different host- group descriptor types may provide different levels of detail. Depending on the system architecture, this may have implications on the quality of the guidance ALTO is able to provide, on whether recommendations can be aggregated, and on how much privacy- sensitive information about users might be disclosed to additional parties. o Rating Criterion: The condition or relation that defines the "better" in "better-than-random peer selection", which is the ultimate goal of ALTO. Examples may include "host's Internet access is not subject to volume-based charging (flat rate)" or "low topological distance". Some rating criteria, such as "low topological distance", need to include a reference point, e.g., "low topological distance from a given resource consumer". This reference point can be described by means of a host-group descriptor. o Host-Characteristics Attribute: Properties of a host, other than the host-group descriptor. It may be evaluated according to one or more rating criteria. This information may be stored in an ALTO server and transmitted via an ALTO protocol. One example for a host-characteristics attribute would be a data field indicating whether a host's Internet access is subject to volume-based charging or not (flat rate). o Target-Aware Query Mode: In this mode of operation, an ALTO client performs the ALTO query when the desired resource and a set of candidate resource providers are already known, i.e., after Distributed Hash Table (DHT) lookups, queries to the resource directory, etc. To this end, the ALTO client transmits a list of host-group descriptors and optionally one or more rating criteria to the ALTO server. The ALTO server evaluates the host-group descriptors according to the indicated criteria or a default
criterion. It returns a list of these host-group descriptors to the ALTO client, which is sorted according to the rating criteria and/or enriched with host-characteristics attributes. o Target-Independent Query Mode: In this mode of operation, ALTO queries are performed in advance or periodically, in order to receive comprehensive guidance. The ALTO client indicates the desired host-characteristics attributes in the ALTO query. The ALTO server answers with a list that indicates for all known host- group descriptors (possibly subject to the server's policies) the desired host-characteristics attributes. These lists will be cached locally and evaluated later, when a resource is to be accessed. Section 2 of [RFC5693] and Section 2.2 of this document), [RFC5693] presents a figure that gives a high-level overview of protocol interaction between these components. This document itemizes requirements for the following components: ALTO client protocols, ALTO server discovery mechanisms, host-group descriptors, rating criteria, and host-characteristics attributes. Furthermore, requirements regarding the overall architecture, especially with respect to security and privacy issues, are presented. Note that the detailed specification of such protocols and mechanisms is out of the scope of this document. In fact, this document does not even assume that there will be only one single specification for each of these components, respectively. However, this document enumerates requirements for ALTO to be considered when specifying, assessing, or comparing protocols and implementations.
implement an ALTO client protocol. An ALTO client protocol MUST be able to transmit ALTO queries from an ALTO client to an ALTO server, and it MUST be able to transmit the corresponding ALTO replies from the ALTO server to the ALTO client. The detailed specification of an ALTO client protocol is out of the scope of this document. In fact, this document does not even assume that there will be only one single protocol specification. However, this document enumerates requirements for ALTO, to be considered when specifying, assessing, or comparing protocols and implementations. Req. AR-2: An ALTO client protocol MUST provide adequate mechanisms for operations and management support, as outlined in RFC 5706 [RFC5706].
Req. AR-8: Protocol functions for mapping other host-group descriptor types to IPv4/IPv6 address prefixes SHOULD be designed and specified as part of an ALTO client protocol, and the corresponding address mapping information SHOULD be made available by the same entity that wants to use these host-group descriptors within an ALTO client protocol. However, an ALTO server or an ALTO client MAY also send a reference to an external mapping facility, e.g., a translation table to be obtained via an alternative mechanism. Rationale for the previous two requirements: The preferred type of host-group descriptors are IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes. However, in some situations, one party may prefer to use another type, e.g., AS numbers. Usually, applications seeking ALTO guidance work with IP addresses, e.g., when establishing connections. Understanding guiding information that is based on other host-group descriptor types, i.e., mapping from these other types to IP prefixes and back, may be a non-trivial task. Therefore, before a party may use other host-group descriptor types, they must provide a mapping mechanism to IP prefixes. Req. AR-9: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST define mechanisms that can be used by the ALTO server to indicate that a host-group descriptor used by the ALTO client is of an unsupported type, or that the indicated mapping mechanism could not be used. Req. AR-10: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST define mechanisms that can be used by the ALTO client to indicate that a host-group descriptor used by the ALTO server is of an unsupported type, or that the indicated mapping mechanism could not be used.
Req. AR-12: An ALTO client protocol MUST be extensible to enable future support of other rating criteria types. An ALTO client protocol specification MUST define an appropriate procedure for adding new rating criteria types, e.g., by establishing an IANA registry. Req. AR-13: ALTO client protocol specifications MUST NOT define rating criteria closely related to the instantaneous network congestion state, i.e., rating criteria that have the primary aim to serve as an alternative to established congestion control strategies, such as using TCP-based transport. Req. AR-14: Applications using ALTO guidance MUST NOT rely solely on the ALTO guidance to avoid causing network congestion. Instead, they MUST use other appropriate means, such as TCP-based transport, to avoid causing excessive congestion. Rationale for the previous requirement: One design assumption for ALTO is that it is acceptable for the host-characteristics attributes, which are stored and processed in the ALTO servers for giving guidance, to be updated rather infrequently. Typical update intervals may be several orders of magnitude longer than the typical network-layer packet round-trip time (RTT). Therefore, ALTO cannot be a replacement for TCP-like congestion control mechanisms. Req. AR-15: In the target-independent query mode, the ALTO query message SHOULD allow the ALTO client to express which host- characteristics attributes should be returned. Req. AR-16: In the target-aware query mode, the ALTO query message SHOULD allow the ALTO client to express which rating criteria should be considered by the server, as well as their relative relevance for the specific application that will eventually make use of the guidance. The corresponding ALTO response message SHOULD allow the ALTO server to express which rating criteria have been considered when generating the response. Req. AR-17: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST define mechanisms that can be used by the ALTO client and the ALTO server to indicate that a rating criteria used by the other party is of an unsupported type.
ALTO clients and ALTO servers. Furthermore, it MUST specify an appropriate protocol mechanism for negotiating between the ALTO client and ALTO server, which query mode to use. Req. AR-24: An ALTO client protocol SHOULD support version numbering, TTL (time-to-live) attributes, and/or similar mechanisms in ALTO transactions, in order to enable time validity checking for caching, and to enable comparisons of multiple recommendations obtained through redistribution. Req. AR-25: An ALTO client protocol SHOULD allow the ALTO server to add information about appropriate modes of reuse to its ALTO responses. Reuse may include redistributing an ALTO response to other parties, as well as using the same ALTO information in a resource directory to improve the responses to different resource consumers within the specified lifetime of the ALTO response. The ALTO server SHOULD be able to express that o no reuse should occur. o reuse is appropriate for a specific "target audience", i.e., a set of resource consumers explicitly defined by a list of host-group descriptors. The ALTO server MAY specify a "target audience" in the ALTO response that is only a subset of the known actual "target audience", e.g., if required by operator policies. o reuse is appropriate for any resource consumer that would send (or cause a third party to send on behalf of it) the same ALTO query (i.e., with the same query parameters, except for the resource consumer ID, if applicable) to this ALTO server. o reuse is appropriate for any resource consumer that would send (or cause a third party to send on behalf of it) the same ALTO query (i.e., with the same query parameters, except for the resource consumer ID, if applicable) to any other ALTO server that was discovered (using an ALTO discovery mechanism) together with this ALTO server. o reuse is appropriate for any resource consumer that would send (or cause a third party to send on behalf of it) the same ALTO query (i.e., with the same query parameters, except for the resource consumer ID, if applicable) to any ALTO server in the whole network. Req. AR-26: An ALTO client protocol MUST support the transport of ALTO transactions, even if the ALTO client is located in the private address realm behind a network address translator (NAT). There are different types of NAT, see [RFC4787] and [RFC5382].
RFC2616], Section 14.37)). Another simple option is to actually answer the query with the desired information, but adding an indication that the ALTO client should not send further queries to this ALTO server before an indicated period of time has elapsed. Req. AR-31: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST specify mechanisms for an ALTO server to inform clients about its inability to answer queries due to technical problems or system maintenance, or how to leverage appropriate mechanisms provided by underlying protocol layers. The mechanisms MUST provide all of the following options to the server: o terminate the conversation with the client, o redirect the client to another ALTO server, and o request that the client retry the query later.
Note: The existence of the above-mentioned protocol mechanisms does not imply that an ALTO server must use them when facing an overload, technical problem, or maintenance situation, respectively. Some servers may be unable to use them in that situation, or they may prefer to simply refuse the connection or not to send any answer at all.
Req. AR-38: Every ALTO server discovery mechanism SHOULD be able to return the respective contact information for multiple ALTO servers. Req. AR-39: Every ALTO server discovery mechanism SHOULD be able to indicate preferences for each returned ALTO server contact information. Section 5.2. Req. AR-40: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST specify mechanisms for the authentication of ALTO servers or specify how to leverage appropriate mechanisms provided by underlying protocol layers. Req. AR-41: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST specify mechanisms for the authentication of ALTO clients or specify how to leverage appropriate mechanisms provided by underlying protocol layers. Req. AR-42: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST specify mechanisms for the encryption of messages or specify how to leverage appropriate mechanisms provided by underlying protocol layers. Req. AR-43: An ALTO client is not required to implement mechanisms or to comply with rules that limit its ability to redistribute information retrieved from the ALTO server to third parties. Req. AR-44: An ALTO client protocol MUST support different levels of detail in queries and responses in order to protect the privacy of users, to ensure that the operators of ALTO servers and other users of the same application cannot derive sensitive information. Req. AR-45: An ALTO client protocol MAY include mechanisms that can be used by the ALTO client when requesting guidance to specify the resource (e.g., content identifiers) it wants to access. An ALTO server MUST provide adequate guidance, even if the ALTO client prefers not to specify the desired resource (e.g., keeps the data field empty). The mechanism MUST be designed in a way that the operator of the ALTO server cannot easily deduce the resource identifier (e.g., file name in P2P file sharing) if the ALTO client prefers not to specify it.
Req. AR-46: An ALTO client protocol specification MUST specify appropriate mechanisms for protecting the ALTO service against Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks or specify how to leverage appropriate mechanisms provided by underlying protocol layers. RFC5693].
(2) Disclosure of the ALTO server operator's data (e.g., network topology information) to an unauthorized third party. There are three subcases here: (2a) An ALTO server receives and answers queries originating from an unauthorized ALTO client. (2b) An unauthorized party snoops on the data transmission from the ALTO server to an authorized ALTO client. (2c) An authorized ALTO client knowingly forwards the information it has received from the ALTO server to an unauthorized party. (3) Excess retrieval of the ALTO server operator's data by collaborating ALTO clients. Several authorized ALTO clients could ask one or more ALTO servers for guidance, possibly several times during an extended period of time, and redistribute the responses among each other (see also case 2c). By aggregating and correlating the ALTO responses, they could find out more information than intended to be disclosed by the ALTO server operator(s). The following issues may be considered a risk for the user of an ALTO client, depending on the specific deployment scenario: (4) Disclosure of the application behavior or other user private data to the (authorized) ALTO server. The operator of an ALTO server could infer the application behavior (e.g., content identifiers in P2P file sharing applications, or lists of resource providers that are considered for establishing a connection) from the ALTO queries sent by an ALTO client. (5) Disclosure of the application behavior or other user private data to an unauthorized third party. There are three subcases here: (5a) An ALTO client willingly sends queries directly to an untrusted or malicious ALTO server, possibly due to a forged response of the ALTO server discovery mechanism. (5b) An unauthorized party snoops on the data transmission from the ALTO client to an authorized ALTO server. (5c) An authorized ALTO server knowingly forwards the information it has received from the ALTO client to an unauthorized party.
(6) One or several collaborating (see case 5c) ALTO servers could try to infer the application behavior or other user private data by aggregating and correlating queries from one or more ALTO clients, possibly over an extended period of time.
the ALTO client is embedded in a third party (e.g., a resource directory), which issues ALTO requests on behalf of resource consumers, it is possible to hide the exact addresses of the resource consumers from the ALTO server, e.g., by zeroing out or randomizing the last few bits of IP addresses. However, there is the potential side effect of yielding inaccurate results. The disclosure of candidate resource providers' addresses to the ALTO server can be avoided by allowing ALTO clients to use the target-independent query mode. In this mode of operation, guiding information (e.g., "maps") is retrieved from the ALTO server and used entirely locally by the ALTO client, i.e., without sending host-location attributes of candidate resource providers to the ALTO server. In the target-aware query mode, this issue can be addressed by ALTO clients through obfuscating the identity of candidate resource consumers, e.g., by specifying a broader address range (i.e., a shorter prefix length) than a group of hosts in question actually uses, or by zeroing out or randomizing the last few bits of IP addresses. However, there is the potential side effect of yielding inaccurate results. o (5a) may be addressed by mandating that the ALTO server discovery procedure, as a whole, must be secure against spoofing. Note: Given that this document does not mandate a specific system architecture, it is difficult to specify more details than that the discovery procedure, as a whole, should be secure against spoofing. There are many different architectural options, e.g., have an insecure discovery mechanism and use server certificates to later verify its response (cf. the DNS + HTTPS security model widely used in the World Wide Web). Therefore, at this requirements stage, it is not mandatory for the discovery mechanism itself to be secure against spoofing attacks. o (5b) may be addressed by encryption schemes for the ALTO client protocol. However, the effort vs. benefit should be evaluated for any specific deployment scenario, while also considering the risks and solution approaches for issues (4), (5c), and (6). o Straightforward authentication and encryption schemes will not help solving (5c) and (6). However, potential risks can be mitigated using the same approaches as used for issue (4), see above. These insights are reflected in the requirements in this document.
Section 3.3 of this document. [RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997. [RFC5693] Seedorf, J. and E. Burger, "Application-Layer Traffic Optimization (ALTO) Problem Statement", RFC 5693, October 2009. [RFC2616] Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H., Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, "Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1", RFC 2616, June 1999. [RFC4787] Audet, F. and C. Jennings, "Network Address Translation (NAT) Behavioral Requirements for Unicast UDP", BCP 127, RFC 4787, January 2007. [RFC5382] Guha, S., Biswas, K., Ford, B., Sivakumar, S., and P. Srisuresh, "NAT Behavioral Requirements for TCP", BCP 142, RFC 5382, October 2008. [RFC5706] Harrington, D., "Guidelines for Considering Operations and Management of New Protocols and Protocol Extensions", RFC 5706, November 2009.
http://www.coast-fp7.eu), a research project supported by the European Commission under its 7th Framework Program (contract no. 248036). The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the COAST project or the European Commission.
http://www.rus.uni-stuttgart.de/nks/ Stefano Previdi Cisco Systems, Inc. EMail: email@example.com Martin Stiemerling NEC Laboratories Europe EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org URI: http://ietf.stiemerling.org Richard Woundy Comcast Corporation EMail: Richard_Woundy@cable.comcast.com Yang Richard Yang Yale University EMail: email@example.com