Global Lambda Integrated Facility

first draft proposal for Global Identifiers

  • Subject: first draft proposal for Global Identifiers
  • From: Ronald van der Pol <Ronald.vanderPol@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 16:36:01 +0200


Attached is the first version of a proposal. Tom, can you provide
text about the domain local part of the Internet2 scheme?

Comments welcome.


Attachment: global-identifiers.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document


\title{Global Lightpath Identifiers Proposal}
\author{Lars Fischer \and Tom Lehman \and Ronald van der Pol
\and Thomas Tam}
\date{Draft 0.1 \\ April, 2008}




Currently, each domain uses its own identifiers for lightpaths that
apn multiple domains. This makes it difficult to refer to the same
lightpath during the provisioning phase, in case of outages or when
announcing planned work.

At the GLIF Working Group Meeting in January 2008 the GLIF community
decided to set up a task force to work on a global lightpath
identifier scheme. The task force consists of Ronald van der Pol
(leader), Lars Fischer, Tom Lehman and Thomas Tam.

Global identifiers complement the local naming schemes that
are in use in the various domains. It is assumed that most
domains will use the global identifiers as aliases for their
local names. The global identifiers are used in communication
with other domains.

In this document a couple of proposals are described. We have
defined a couple of criteria that can be used to compare
the various naming schemes. These criteria are described in
section~\ref{sec:criteria}. The recommendation
of the task force is described in section~\ref{sec:recommendation}.

\section{Examples Naming Schemes}

\subsection{DANTE Naming Scheme}

In projects like the LHCOPN and DEISA a naming scheme for the
end-to-end monitoring of lightpaths with perfSONAR is used.
It consists of the two end points, the project name and a
sequence number. E.g., CERN-TRIUMF-LHCOPN-001. In this naming
scheme a couple of names have to be agreed upon. Each end
site must have a globally unique identifier and a central
registry with these identifiers must be set up. The same
is true for the project names. The sequence number also
needs a central registry in order to find the next
available sequence number.

\subsection{Internet2 Naming Scheme}

The naming scheme used in Internet2 consists of two parts.
The identifier starts with the DNS domain name of one of the
end points. 
(Tom, can you correct and expand this part? What does the domain
local part look like?)

\subsection{Hierarchical Naming Schemes}

During the GLIF meeting in January many working group members
were in favour of a scheme that is similar to the one used
by Internet2. So, a name consisting of a unique domain
identifier, followed by a second part that is unique
within that domain.

A unique domain identifier could be an abbreviation for
a GOLE. This will be the originating GOLE for that lightpath.
These GOLE abbreviations will be kept in a central
registry, e.g. the GLIF website. Each GOLE uses a naming
scheme for the second part that uniquely identifies each lightpath.

Other possibilities for the domain part are city abbreviations,
like IATA airport codes or UN LOCODEs~\cite{locode}.

\subsection{Flat Naming Schemes}

Another type of identifiers are strings without hierarchy. These
could be unique numbers or unique alpha-numeric strings. These
identifiers can be kept in a central registry to make sure
that they are unique. Another possibility is to have statistically
unique identifiers. In this case the chance of randomly picking an
identifier that is already in use is very small. When using a
8 character alpha-numeric string, the chances of a clash are 1 in
2,821,109,907,456. When there are 500,000 lightpaths in use in GLIF,
the chance of picking a new identifier that is already in use
is 1 in 5,642,220.


The following criteria are used to compare the various naming
\item Is a global registry needed?
\item Is a central registry per domain needed?
\item Does the identifier have a fixed length?
\item Can the identifier be generated by provisioning software?
\item Is the identifier unique or only statistically unique?

Other things to consider are the allowed characters in the name.
The global identifiers may end up in various places, like
management systems, interface descriptions, databases, (dynamic)
provisioning systems, path or section traces, VLAN names, etc.
Therefore, it seems wise to be conservative and restrict
the allowed character set to the rules for ARPANET host names. 
They must start with a letter, end with a letter or digit, and
have as interior characters only letters, digits, and hyphen. 

It also seems wise to restrict the names to a certain maximum length.
Otherwise they will be cut off when using them for one of the
things mentioned in the previous paragraph. After cut off the
identifier may not be unique anymore.


Global or domain registries have several drawbacks. They need to
be set up. It has to be decided who runs and maintains them. And
dynamic provisioning software needs to build identifiers by
querying these registries. So the registries need an API for that.

The DANTE naming scheme needs a lot of coordination. E.g., a list of
end site identifiers needs to be kept. Also, a list of project names
needs to be kept. This will not work well in the GLIF community
because of the many different sites and projects.

The Internet2 naming scheme needs no global registry. The sourcing
organization picks its own DNS domain name and chooses a domain
local part ...... (Tom?)

A problem with the Internet2 naming scheme is the overall length
of the identifier because the DNS domain name can be quite long.

Using a hierarchical naming scheme that starts with a GOLE identifier
needs a central repository with GOLE abbreviations. It makes more
sense to use an existing registry like DNS, IATA or UNLOCODE.

Using a hierarchical naming scheme with the IATA airport of UN
LOCODE as domain identifier solves the problem of long and variable
domain names.

IATA codes are restricted to three characters, so
they are short and have fixed length. However, they are only defined
for aiports and some railway stations and not quite applicable for
the GLIF community.

UN LOCODEs consist of a two characters for the country and three
characters for the city. So they have also a fixed short length.
LOCODEs exist for far more places than IATA codes, but it is
still difficult to find a proper LOCODE for some small villages.

When a flat naming scheme with guarenteed uniqueness is used, a
global registry is needed. This is not the case for statistically
unique identifiers. These can also have a fixed short length that
can also be generated by dynamic provisioning software.

The DANTE and unique flat naming scheme need a global registry.
Therefore we do not recommend these schemes.

The Internet2 DNS domain can be too large which causes trouble
when storing it.

IATA codes do not exist for all places, so we do not recommend
them either.

This leaves us with a hierarchical scheme starting with a UN LOCODE
or a statistically unique flat namespace.

A hierarchical naming scheme has the advantage that each domain
can decide for itself how it uses the domain local part. Although
we recommend to restict the length of it. A disadvantage is that
all dynamic provisioning systems need to know how they must build
the domain local part of global identifiers. Statistically unique
flat naming schemes do not have this disadvantage. For dynamic
provisioning systems they are the easiest to deal with.



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