Re: WG Review: NETCONF Data Modeling Language (netmod)

David Partain <david.partain@ericsson.com> Thu, 24 April 2008 09:17 UTC

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From: David Partain <david.partain@ericsson.com>
Organization: Ericsson AB
To: ietf@ietf.org, "Tom.Petch" <sisyphus@dial.pipex.com>
Subject: Re: WG Review: NETCONF Data Modeling Language (netmod)
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 11:15:29 +0200
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Hi all,

On Thursday 24 April 2008 09.22.22 Tom.Petch wrote:
> > The people who believe that YANG is more expressive and better suited
> > for this poarticular purpose include contributors to the design of
> > SMIv2, MIB Doctors, members of the NMRG who helped develop the SMING
> > information and data modeling language,  contributors to the SMIng WG
> > which worked on developing a proposed SMIv3 to converge the SMIv2
> > standard and the SPPI data modeling language standard and the NMRG
> > SMING approach, and engineers who have multiple independent
> > implementations of running code for Netconf data modeling.
>
> Sounds magnificent but who are these people and where are they?

Do you want me to list them?  If you want to know who's going to work on the 
topic, I suggest you first look at the list of people on 
http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ngo/current/msg00745.html
and thereafter add people like Andy Bierman and Jürgen Schönwälder.

I don't think it's particularly strange that most of the YANG traffic has been 
from a small group of people.  We have had zero official status in the IETF 
up to now, although the list has been hosted on ietf.org.  The document has 
been worked on by the people behind YANG, so they're obviously the ones who 
know it best.

If you want numbers... the YANG gang itself is 6 people, from 4 companies and 
one university.  The internal discussions have been intense.  The charter 
discussion group included 11 other people representing a bunch of other 
interests.  That group sent 575 mail messages from March 14 through April 7 
and everyone participated.

Do I think everyone's going to be very active in an eventual WG?  No.  But do 
I think we'll have critical mass?  Absolutely.

The O&M community _really_ cares about this issue.  Frankly, I haven't seen 
the kind of energy in this particular part of the IETF in many many years.

We _must_ get a standard in place so we can stop answering this question, "How 
do I model in NETCONF?" with, "Do whatever you want since there's no 
standard."  

> I do track the YANG and NGO mailing lists and what I see there worries me. 
> I see a significant number of questions along the lines; of what does this
> mean, how can this ever work, how can I do ... and the questions are all
> very reasonable and need answers - which they mostly get, even if they are
> somewhat too often along the lines of 'oh dear', or 'more work needed'.

Naturally, more work is needed.  That's why we want a working group...

> But they are the sort of questions I, for all I have done with SMI, ASN.1
> and other languages, would not have thought to ask; they come from someone
> at the sharp end writing code for today's boxes.  Yet these questions are
> almost all coming from just one person with a specific market place, and if
> he can find so many doubts and queries, how many more are there waiting to
> be discovered?
>
> That one person - hi, Andy! - is doing a magnificent job but for a new
> language to live up to its billing, we need half a dozen such people, from
> different parts of O&M to find the holes; and I just do not see them, at
> least not on the YANG and NGO mailing lists.

There are at least three NETCONF implementers on the list (in the YANG gang), 
plus a large cross-section of the O&M community at the IETF.  See the numbers 
above.  Perhaps I'm thick, but I don't see how this _doesn't_ qualify as 
critical mass.

> The answers, likewise, mostly come from the same three or so people; again,
> I am concerned that there are not more, given the claims of yang.
>
> This causes me to doubt that we, the IETF, really has the community of
> interest to undertake such a challenging assignment.

And, given the above, I have no doubt whatsoever.

Cheers,

David
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