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Simplifying multi-layer network management with RINA

Computer networks are made of multiple co-operating layers that perform different functions implemented by a diverse set of protocols. The current approach of one function per layer implemented via one or more protocols contributes to increasing the complexity of multi-layer network management systems, causing them to be more expensive, error-prone and less automated that they could be. RINA is a network architecture featuring a single type of layer that recurses as many times as needed by the network designer. This layer, called a DIF, provides Inter Process Communication (IPC) services over a certain scope and ranges of bandwidth, QoS and scale. This paper performs a comparative analysis in the complexity of managing an IP-based and a RINA-based large-scale multi-tenant data centre networks. Configuration management is the main target of the analysis although some hints on performance and security management are also provided. The analysis shows that the commonality built into the RINA architecture and the single type of recursive layer with a uniform API greatly reduces the complexity of the models the Network Management System (NMS) uses to understand the state of the managed network. RINA opens the door not to an unprecedented degree of automation in Network Management, enabling the NMS to perform sophisticated configuration changes in multiple layers of the network at once while minimizing the risk of causing service downtime. The talk will also highlight the main features of the prototype RINA Network Management System under development in the FP7 PRISTINE project, and introduce the NMS demo that will be performed during the conference.

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