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Re: snmpconf BCP re: policy layering

Actually Wayne, I have spoken up on the list before.
In fact, while the early proposal was to treat "instance" as a completely 
orthogonal  dimension, the current proposal is more to make it separate but 
not necessarily universally applicable.  part of the point is that while 
making it universally applicable makes for odd dead boxes, the current 
approach does not allow for any combinations at all.
     I think that you actually highlighted why this separation is useful in 
your discussion.  It is very helpful for comprehensibility if the end MIB 
objects actually fit into the framework.  Leaving them completely out (as 
you suggest you did) leaves out the piece that an SNMP orient reader is 
going to need.
Joel M. Halpern

At 03:27 PM 7/19/01 -0400, you wrote:

>Greetings all...
>I'm wondering where we are at on this issue, as the discussion on it 
>seemed to die except for a lively discussion between myself, Steve (W.), 
>and Jon.
>To briefly summarize, Steve (W.) had a concern that the taxonomy as 
>presented in the most recent versions of the BCP lacked sufficient 
>sophistication, or rather, had an error in its relative 
>one-dimensionality.  Specfically, where the taxonomy listed the notions of 
>specificity at levels (from most general to least general): a) 
>service-level-specific, b) domain-specific, c) mechanism-specific, d) 
>implementation-specific, and e) instance-specific, Steve did not find that 
>a particularly meaningful abstraction without one significant 
>change.  That change is to take a) through d) above, and draw them into 
>two categories, being that content which is instance specific and that 
>which is instance-independent.  Steve (W.), I'm trying to be objective 
>here, please correct me if my summary of your point is inaccurate as presented.
>For my own purposes, while I'll stipulate it's *possible* for me to 
>contort my mental model to adjust to this core redefinition or refinement, 
>I don't find it particularly useful or necessary.  I think it creates a 
>significant number of "dead spots" in the model matrix (to coin a phrase), 
>and any problems this "fixes" can be accommodated by relaxing any inferred 
>or explicit rules in how one interprets the model.  Let history record 
>that for just this once, I'm arguing the case for simplicity :), 
>particularly in the face of where we stand now with the Best Current 
>Practices draft and moving it forward.
>Now, I had a lengthy and illuminating one-on-one conversation with Steve 
>week before last on this topic and at the very least, I do understand one 
>reason he sees the world as defined by this taxonomy differently than I do.
>Let me start with that difference in the Steve (W.) perspective from my 
>own.  To the extent one appreciates working deployment of practices before 
>one advances them to the iesg :), we have actually come to use the terms 
>in the taxonomy *including* the instance-specific notion here at Gold Wire 
>for the particular purpose for which I see this entire taxonomy as being 
>most directly pertinent.  That is, to describe the scope of policy content 
>and operational impact upon application of that policy.  To understand the 
>significance, imagine a policy-based configuration manager which is *not* 
>resident on a single managed element but on a server system which 
>transcends many managed elements and nodes (up to the point of the 
>snmpconf/pm-based architecture, I think this describes most 
>implementations).  So, I may have a policy that describes 
>neighbor-hello-intervals and link metrics for OSPF for my entire 
>enterprise as a default.  That is scope specific to a  mechanism (OSPF), 
>under the auspices of a greater domain (Intra-Gateway routing).  Now, I 
>may have a lower hello interval and higher link metric defined for those 
>interfaces on my OSPF backbone area.  That is overriding my prior scope 
>with values which are specific to an *instance* of the protocol--a 
>specific interface.  Hence, we have simply refined the specification to 
>that instance-level containment.
>Now, if you buy this example, what Steve (W.) may get excited about :) is 
>that I've effectively "skipped" a level there, and did so intentionally 
>for this example.  Specifically, there is nothing refined in an 
>intermediate "implementation-specific" way--I'm assuming that, e.g., the 
>integers I use for intervals and metrics will be portable between IOS and 
>JunOS, I suppose.  What I specifically see, however, is that there is 
>nothing to *preclude* the idea of a level of policy containment 
>specificity being "hopped" or "bypassed" in the spiral-of-specificity 
>which the taxonomy prescribes.
>There is a lot of precedent for this.  The grandpappy of all taxonomies, 
>the OSI Reference Model, for all of its warts and bruises, does have 
>significant parallels (in specifying an application-level entity, how many 
>times do I completely bypass the presentation or session layers in 
>describing the instance architecture in OSI terms?).  For whatever reason, 
>I've been assuming this same capability was present in the 
>policy-specificity-taxonomy from the very first time I even heard about 
>it, long before I read or started my dubious editing contributions on the BCP.
>I said earlier that I understand a difference in perspective between 
>myself and Steve (W.)--briefly, I now understand he wants the same 
>taxonomy to pertain to the very *MIB objects* acting as parameters to 
>policy.  In other words (and he can explain this better than I), that 
>ifInOctets is a rather broad notion whose values are meaningless outside 
>of the context of a specific instance.
>I have never tried to make this connection, perhaps just because I've been 
>living so long in policy-based configuration environments that are only 
>partially (if at all) SNMP based, and as I said earlier, those which 
>transcend the single managed element (consider *anything* needing to do 
>end-to-end circuit setup based upon QoS parameters, for example).  It's 
>not the *MIB Objects* (which act as parameters or output bindings to the 
>policies) that I believe the taxonomy covers, however, it's the content of 
>the *policy* itself...in the network engineering sense, how broadly is a 
>policy defined?  The answer, without failure in my experience, can be 
>found in one discrete value, or rather path of values to be formalized, 
>from the enumerated levels of the taxonomy.
>Briefly, here's a few more practical and perhaps utterly subjective 
>reasons I find this need to expand the taxonomy at this time less than 
>-- I personally have never needed to draw this to be such a "two 
>dimensional" distinction otherwise.  I warned you I'd be subjective. :)
>-- We have had well over a year of this document being pored over without 
>this need for fundamental refinement.  Mind you, we've discussed this 
>taxonomy a lot, so it's not like people just never bothered to read that 
>far into the thing.  People smarter than myself like Joel Halpern, R. E. 
>Bob Moore, Jeff Case, and Dan Romanescu, who probably will forget more 
>about reference modelling in a bad week than I'll ever know, haven't 
>advanced or chimed in on this need for greater sophistication/complication 
>(although if you folks have just been watching this constructive debate 
>and avoiding comment, now's your time to jump in :).
>-- I will advance (upon request :), how I think boring this out to be "two 
>dimensions" does in fact create a number of awkward "undefined" squares in 
>the matrix.  Briefly, I don't know what it means to have that which is 
>service-level-specific-without-regard-to-underlying-refinements *but* 
>instance specific, vs. that which is not.  And I wouldn't know as I sit 
>here now how to write text into the BCP to describe that.
>-- When in times of trouble, I draw on precedent.  My best precedent here, 
>the OSI (work with me on this one, OK? :), only had one legitimate case 
>that I recall for network functionality which truly "transcended" all of 
>the layers of the model, and whose absence really hurt the model.  As most 
>people here know, that was the network management "layer" which really 
>needed to be a bolt-on  column in the whole reference model and with its 
>own potential bolted-row-column to bolted-row-column interface 
>concerns.  I don't see anything in this instance-specific thing which 
>bodes a similarly profound resonance through the model.
>Anyways, with all respect to Steve (W.) and the constructive advancement 
>of his argument he has made, this is the reason I don't see needing to 
>uncork this now to introduce this new ingredient.  With my name on the 
>masthead, though, I'm not an ideal source of refutation of the argument, 
>and I'd appreciate any other commentary on this which has been silently 
>festering so we can figure out how to deal with this one way or another 
>and advance this puppy.
>Sorry for the length of this, but it's hard to subdivide my arguments on this.
>Wayne F. Tackabury              Internet: wayne@goldwiretech.com
>Gold Wire Technology            Phone: (781) 398-8819
>411 Waverley Oaks Rd., Ste 304
>Waltham, MA  02452             Cell: (617) 699-6156