Re: [cso] Some thoughts from the CSO Bar BOF...

Greg Bernstein <> Mon, 06 December 2010 18:45 UTC

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Subject: Re: [cso] Some thoughts from the CSO Bar BOF...
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Hi Mirja, lots of good questions.  See comments below. Note when some of 
us were (and still are) working on WSON efforts in the CCAMP working 
group we had very good interactions with researchers at Universities and 
other institutes.

Best Regards

Greg B.

On 12/3/2010 6:37 AM, Mirja Kühlewind wrote:
> Hi,
> I participated in both Bar BoFs and I believe that in the area of Cross-Layer
> Optimization is still a lot of space to do thing better but I don't believe
> in a generic approach.
--> Our job in trying to develop standards is to find the "common 
ground" between various approaches not to constrain solutions. For 
example in the (Path computation entity) PCE working group various 
mechanisms were put in place to support problems of a particular type 
(e.g. concurrent optimization of paths), however no algorithms are 
specified as part of that effort. In GMPLS routing various types of 
useful information for path computation can be distributed, e.g., a 
shared risk link group (SRLG) indicator for a link, however a network 
using GMPLS may or may not distribute SRLG information via routing.
> I would like to response to the points below and also give some feedback to
> the charter. First the points below:
> (a) If you would have the global system view which has all the information
> about the application and the network state, I'm sure its possible to
> optimize the system such that all players will benefit. But we are talking
> here about a distributed system where every player tries to maximize its own
> benefit. I would say even if you provide the needed information you can't be
> sure that automatically everybody will benefit. Moreover, you would have to
> give for every player the right incentives to actually make a decision that
> will optimize the whole system and not only the benefit of one single player.
--> Hmm, I know that Kathy M. responded to this point and her response 
made sense to me, but this brings up an interesting issue concerning the 
entities (or actors) involved.  I see three main sets of actors: (a) the 
application service provider (possibly distributed in locations around a 
"network"), (b) the "network" (in its most complicated an interconnected 
set of independently managed domains, in its simplest a LAN under a 
single administration), (c) users of the application service (lots of 
them in different places around the network).
Hence I guess I primarily see interactions between the application 
service provider and the "network" on behalf of the application 
service's users rather than a competition between all three to maximize 
some type of individual benefit.
> Moreover, if you have several entities/different point in different layers
> which make decisions based on the same information, you have to be very
> careful that those decisions will not be counterproductive. E.g. an
> application changes the coding to lower bitrate and the network reserves more
> capacity at the same time. It's basically impossible to show the stability of
> such a complex system. It's already hard to make any stability investigations
> about multi-protocol networks.
--> Lots of good points in here and this hits the notion of what 
"timescales" are we talking about optimizing over. Efficiently planning 
and provisioning a multi-layer network is a non-trivial task.  It 
usually starts with some type of information on traffic demand (traffic 
matrix historical information and estimates). This is done for rather 
long timescales, while various forms of congestion control work on 
shorter time scales.  I would say that we are trying to do something in 
between, kind of like Connection Admission Control, but taking into 
account application service flexibility too.
> (b) I still don't get your point here. As you say 'best effort' means that you
> always try to get the maximum but you never know what the maximum is/what you
> get. This doesn't go in-line for me with any kind of services guarantees. If
> you want guarantees you can use e.g. resource reservation. But than you know
> exactly what you get and you don't need any further cross-layer state
> information.
--> Kathy M. addressed this...
> (c) You say: '... definition of a "data center" as something like "a location
> within the network where application resources maybe aggregated". What?
> Is 'the network' in your case the Internet? I would say a data center is not
> in the Internet. It maybe is at the border of the Internet but its a
> completely separated network were one entity has the control over all the
> physical devices within this network. That makes it easier to solve certain
> problems in a data center than in the Internet. But I don't see how it help
> to define the problem of CSO any better.
--> Hmm, I thought in one of our documents or discussions we discussed 
that we are interested in: (a) user to data center networking, (b) 
intra-data center networking (the data center applications making good 
use of the data centers local network), and (c) inter-data center 
networking.  In all cases we are interested in application quality and 
networking resources.  See the papers by A. Greenberg's group on data 
center networks (things are changing...).
> (d) Can you provide the pointers to all this material? But for me this
> examples look already so different that I wouldn't wanne try to find one
> generic solution for all of them. We just wrote an project proposal where the
> original idea was to do something about cross-layer optimization. But as we
> couldn't define the problem clearly, we thought it might make more sense to
> look at specific problems (one certain application in one network scenario)
> and find a solution for those problems in such a that it is generic enough to
> be used by other applications as well. (I have to say I'm working on
> transport protocols, so we were mainly focusing on solutions in the transport
> layer with application layer information/for one specific application type).
--> See end of e-mail for references...
> Some remarks about the charter:
> - I still don't see which information you want to exchange. Whenever I asked
> this question, I got the same two examples like delay and bandwidth. But I
> don't believe that any application developer does understand what to do with
> these information.
-->  This is a bit of an application "traffic engineering" problem hence 
a "general" application developer probably wouldn't know what to do with 
it today, but they are getting more sophisticated and have been dealing 
with server performance issues for quite some time so I don't see this 
as preventing CSO being used.
> Btw. you can ask your socket interface for the congestion
> window and the RTT. These information are basically similar but completely
> useless for the application. You could maybe use these information aggregated
> over a certain time. This could give you an impression about the link state
> but still doesn't give you any guaranteed information for the future as the
> link state changes permanently.
--> Current CDNs do a lot of these types of measurements but in a bit 
more sophisticated way to estimate bandwidth and delay.
> It's a really complicated task to define an interface in such a that not only
> the right information can be exchanged but they are also represented in the
> right what. It's not only what but also how.
--> Folks at the IETF and other standards bodies are always challenged 
with this issue, can't escape it.
> - From the Bar BoF I had the impression that the problem is more about which
> information should be exchanged but the charter is talking about a whole
> protocol. I would say to exchange information in one point between the layers
> you don't need a protocol but an inferface.
--> Its a bit early to say.  At the IETF we try to reuse as much as 
possible.  First step is always getting a good handle on the problem 
space, from that everything seems to flow...
> I don't believe that you can find
> a generic interface here that will address all problems (and will be
> implemented by all kind of applications).
--> Our goal isn't to address all problems or to enable some type of 
"global optimization" to occur. Our goal is to enable better (improved) 
use of network and application resources through the sharing of a 
limited amount of information between these two entities.  For example 
reference [33] shows how an application overlay network and server 
selection can be performed based on relatively limited information and 
how this is an improvement over no information sharing.
>   I would assume that you have to
> change/extend the interface for every problem separately.
> If you want a protocol to expose certain information within the same layer,
> this is completely different problem. This also goes in the direction of
> measuring and monitoring network state. There are tons of proposal for
> measuring all different kind of thing. And again I would say the solution
> differ a lot depending on what information you are aiming for.
> - One more general comment: Whenever you talk about CSO I have the feeling
> that you basically want to provide more information for the application. Why
> not providing more information for the lower layers about the traffic
> characteristics, requirements and maybe even user preferences of the
> application? Should the information actually go in both directions or will
> this increase the possibility of counterproductive decision?
-->  Good question. We've had some discussions about where a CSO entity 
would be located (application layer or network layer) and hence who 
should be sharing what kind of information. It currently seems that 
application services and their internal structure are changing at a 
rapid pace and hence may be hard to come up with a generic abstract 
model. While for those of us in the networking field it seems like we've 
been dealing with links, nodes, bandwidth, delay, jitter models for 
quite some time ;-)
> Just my thoughts. I would like to start this discussion on the list, as I
> think this is an intresting topic but your proposal it not concrete enough
> for me to see the action points in the IETF. I'm an academic and do research
> on this topic up to now.
--> Remember that as a standards effort we are very constrained into 
what aspects of this area we would actually take on.  From a research & 
development point of view things are wide open.
> Mirja
> On Tuesday 09 November 2010 21:28:20 Greg Bernstein wrote:
>> snip
--> references

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Dr Greg Bernstein, Grotto Networking (510) 573-2237