Re: [Int-area] IP Protocol number allocation request for Transparent Inter Process Communication (TIPC) protocol

Jon Maloy <> Mon, 23 March 2020 14:31 UTC

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To: Joseph Touch <>
Cc: int-area <>, Suresh Krishnan <>
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From: Jon Maloy <>
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Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2020 10:31:17 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Int-area] IP Protocol number allocation request for Transparent Inter Process Communication (TIPC) protocol
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On 3/20/20 11:04 AM, Joseph Touch wrote:
>> On Mar 20, 2020, at 7:09 AM, Jon Maloy < 
>> <>> wrote:
>> Adding cc, since I forgot that in my original 
>> response.
>> On 3/19/20 9:18 PM, Joseph Touch wrote:
>>>> On Mar 19, 2020, at 4:46 PM, Jon Maloy < 
>>>> <>> wrote:
>>>>>> IP addresses are no good in the *user API*, because they are 
>>>>>> location bound.
>>>>>> That is also why DNS was invented, I believe. 
>>>>> DNS names are intended to be a human-rememberable alias to an IP 
>>>>> address. They do not indicate a location any more than an IP 
>>>>> address does or does not.
>>>> Exactly. Read what I wrote again.
>>> IP addresses are no good in the USER API because they are location 
>>> bound.
>>> False. DNS names are provided as an alternative for the user API 
>>> because they are easier for people to remember and type.
>> Then I should probably rephrase this so saying that "IP addresses AND 
>> DNS names and are no good in the user API...", although I don't quite 
>> agree with that. DNS names are of course much more convenient for a 
>> user to deal with than IP addresses.
> Type in <>
> Now type in its IPv6 address.
> Now see if you remember google’s website DNS or its IPv6 address. 
> That’s what the DNS was originally intended for.
Yes. But in this case also demonstrates that both DNS names and the IP 
address may be location independent. We have no clue whether a call will 
end up in a server farm in the US or Europe, let alone which server it 
will be handled on. So, even though the original purpose of DNS may have 
been something else, it has clearly followed the obvious path of 
becoming a tool for location independence. This is good, but not good 
enough for our purposes.
>>> DNS names are no more or less location-independent than IP addresses.
>>> This is also why DNS was invented...
>>> False. The reason the DNS exists has nothing to do with location. 
>>> It’s simply string substitution for convenience, or at least was 
>>> ONLY that originally.
>> I think you just supported my case for a location independent 
>> addressing scheme.
> I am - but then I’m baffled why you want to run direct over IP. 
> Ethernet has location independent addresses; IP does not* (see next part).

When I am talking about location independence I am always talking about 
what the socket programmer/user sees. We don't want him to handle IP 
addresses, and we probably don't want him to hard code DNS names either.

But, at some level further down in the stack we never get around 
translating location independent addresses to some form of location 
dependent ditto in order to transmit the packets to the right node and 
socket. Be it MAC, IPc4, IPv6 or anything else.

This is what we do in TIPC :

Socket Layer:            {service type, service 
instance}                 {port number}
|                                                          A
v                                                          |
TIPC Binding Table:  {port number, node 
number}                                   |
|                                                          |
v                                                          |
TIPC Link Layer:            {UDP port, IP address}                       
{UDP port, IP address}
-----------------------             or {MAC 
address}                                or {MAC address}
|                                                          A
v                                                          |

The {UDP port, IP address} tuple (or MAC address) at the link layer are 
never visible to the user, and may change on-the-fly without him ever 
The same is true for the {port number, node number} tuple, although the 
user here has the option to use those directly, at the expense of 
location transparency.
So, our request is simply about enabling us to use a third mapping at 
the link layer, an IP address only. This does not in any way interfere 
with the location transparency that is already provided at the socket level.

>> This was one of the original motivations for developing TIPC in the 
>> first place.  A programmer using TIPC can hard code his service 
>> addresses if he wants to, ignoring the number of or location of the 
>> corresponding endpoints, even as those move around or scale up/down 
>> quite fast.
> Anycast gives you location independent addresses at the cost of doing 
> discovery “inside the network layer”.

Yes, and that is what we do. But for this to be of any use, that 
discovery/translation has to be blistering fast, and that is also what 
we do.

> However, even if you have those addresses, you still need to identify 
> the service types (which is what we use ports for).

UDP (at the link level) has only one service type in this case: "TIPC"
At the socket level we are using TIPC service addresses for this, i.e., 
a {service type, service instance} tuple, each element being a 32-bit 
> ——
> I’m still stuck at why you want to run direct over IP. If you want 
> Ethernet that bridges across routers, GRE does that.

Yes, we could use VxLAN or Geneve or whatever. But that always comes to 
a cost both in performance and maintenance.
We want TIPC to be both performant and really simple to use.

> If you want loc-independent addresses for services, UDP over IP using 
> anycast does that.

Again yes, but IP is normally not location independent inside clusters. may be perceived as location independent, but is 
typically not. And UDP has well-known limitations:

1) - UDP has 16-bit port numbers, a number space which has to be 
strictly managed.
     - TIPC has a 32-bit+32-bit service address instead. This is what we 
       to extend to 128+128 bits, so that nobody ever needs to register a
       well-known address for TIPC. At least not for the purpose of
       avoiding collisions.
2) - UDP is best effort.
     - Standard TIPC anycast is "better than best" effort, because 
packets will
       never be lost in transport. Due to lack of socket level flow 
control, there
       is still a risk of seeing messages being dropped, though.
     - Group anycast DOES have end-to-end flow control, so such messages
       will never be lost or disordered.
3) Furthermore, we have reliable multicast and broadcast using the same
     address type. There is no way you can get that with UDP.
> What is the specific gain of needing IP but not allowing a transport? 
> AFAICT, it’s all down to GSO - which is an implementation. If GSO 
> doesn’t do what you want, it would be useful to take your issues there 
> or edit the code yourself and submit the patches.

In that respect this is only an implementation issue, as you say, but it 
is not a TIPC only one.
The slides referred to me by Tom Herbert describe GSO on large UDP 
messages, but they don´t describe how we go one step further and do it 
on the inner messages, or how we identify those as being TIPC in the 
first place. Furthermore, we would have to re-write the host level GSO 
support, which am highly uncertain that the Linux network community 
would accept, given that everything needed already is there (i.e., if we 
only have a proper protocol number.)

GSO is only one of the reasons for our request. There are more reasons:
- Performance. The difference is not dramatic, but clearly measurable.
   Terminating sockets in kernel space comes at a cost.
- The need to be able to register a new socket type, which will map down
   to a (compatible) TIPC v3 protocol.
- Acceptance. We want to have TIPC recognized as a part of the IP protocol
   family, controlled by IETF, like most other protocols.


> Joe