[ih] inter-network communication history
Jack Haverty via Internet-history
internet-history at elists.isoc.org
Thu Nov 7 15:33:13 PST 2019
On 11/7/19 1:35 PM, Vint Cerf wrote:
> Don't forget CMIP, HEMS AND SNMP
Hmmm. Well, what I remember is:
SNMP was instantiated as a first step toward a comprehensive NMP
(Network Management Protocol). As I recall, NMP was more of a concept
than a protocol. It was an umbrella covering a lot of pieces.
As we were struggling to make the Internet 24x7, we did a lot of
cogitating about what it meant to manage a network, which went well
beyond basic real-time monitoring and control. In addition to the
Internet "core gateways", at BBN we were managing and/or operating a
variety of networks, so we had a fairly broad view of the issues that
crop as you operate and evolve networks over 5 or 10 years.
One dimension of that exploration was into life-cycle management. That
involved things like how to measure traffic statistics and patterns,
identify and predict trends, plan for topology alterations to handle
future traffic, plan for changes needed to add new users or
It also included operational disturbances. How do you deploy a new
major software release without disrupting users' activities? How do you
add a large number of new users with a new application without
disrupting current activity? How do you debug problems, without
disrupting other users?
In the DDN context, a memorable one of those was the release of a major
new IMP version. To make that run smoothly, we had to create a lot of
mechanisms and processes even beyond those needed within the IMPs
themselves to smoothly convert to the new release. E.G., we created a
service product called "TestNet" which allowed systems integrators to
test and debug their software in the new environment via a dial-up link
and get it all running smoothly before going live in the users' environment.
I recall one motivation for that was some Army system -- the one that
provided payroll services and issued the soldiers' checks. If it didn't
work the week after the software transition.... well, those guys have
some serious capability to protest such disrespect.
At one point an ARPANET clone was involved in the systems that are used
by the officers at points of entry into the US. When something was
wrong... well, it seemed like having a BBN identifier on your paperwork
made you much more likely to be randomly selected for extra scrutiny at
Another dimension of network management was into management of resources
- i.e., respecting the "boundaries" Dave mentioned. This came up in the
context of SATNET and the VAN Gateway (ARPANET connected to the public
X.25 world). Whoever owned something, and paid for its operation,
wanted it used for their purposes only. So ARPA research traffic could
use SATNET, but other stuff should use the X.25 service (and getting the
bill to go to the right place depended on quirky details like which side
"dialed the phone" to establish the X.25 connection between gateways.)
In the technical environment, this requirement appeared as "policy
routing" and related technologies, protocols, etc.
Resource management extended into the security world as well, i.e.,
making sure that only authorized "people" (humans, computers, software,
whatever) were able to access only the appropriate resources. It also
impacted functionality like TOS - how do you make traffic go down the
most appropriate path for the kind of service it required.
All of that kind of "management" was folded under "Network Management".
It was, and is, a huge area. It went far beyond the basic
monitoring/control of SNMP. But to get something quickly for the
network we were trying to operate, SNMP was created.
SNMP was Simple Network Management Protocol. I remember we had
discussions about exactly which noun the adjective "Simple" was
modifying. My thought was that it really should have been Simple
Protocol for Simple Management of Simple Networks - i.e., SPSMSN or
something like that.
Anyway, SNMP was an "interim" solution while the larger issues were
sorted out. I recall that Bob Kahn and I circa 1983 initiated a new
project area called "Automated Network Management" where we would
explore the more esoteric resource management ideas aligned with ARPA's
charter. We also put together (got funded) projects from several of the
various "operational" clients we had, who were pretty desperate for
near-term pragmatic tools to help them manage their own stuff (those
research guys never write the Users' Manual!). All of that combined
would make a foundation project for further NMP development.
Sometime in late 1983, I lost track of the "NMP" work. BBN reorganized
and those various projects and contracts ended up scattered around to
different divisions after the upheavals settled. I think that
separation of the "research" and "operational" worlds might have had a
noticeable effect on the history of the Internet, by breaking the
"pipeline" from research to operations that Vint started when he moved
the gateways to become 24x7 services.
I don't know anything about HEMS. It may be what later came out of the
Automated Network Management project as a protocol part of NMP, but I'm
not sure if it ever got deployed or transitioned and used in any of the
operational network environments.
I know even less about CMIP. I could never get my teeth into ISO
technology. There wasn't any code to play with, and every time I tried
to read those stacks of documents I'd fall asleep.
Fun times though,
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