The NETCONF protocol defines a simple mechanism through which a network device can be managed, configuration data information can be retrieved, and new configuration data can be uploaded and manipulated. The protocol allows the device to expose a full, formal application programming interface (API). Applications can use this straightforward API to send and receive full and partial configuration data sets.
The NETCONF protocol uses a remote procedure call (RPC) paradigm. A client encodes an RPC in XML [W3C.REC-xml-20001006] and sends it to aserver using a secure, connection-oriented session. The server responds with a reply encoded in XML. The contents of both the request and the response are fully described in XML DTDs or XML schemas, or both, allowing both parties to recognize the syntax constraints imposed on the exchange.
A key aspect of NETCONF is that it allows the functionality of the management protocol to closely mirror the native functionality of the device. This reduces implementation costs and allows timely access to new features. In addition, applications can access both the syntactic and semantic content of the device’s native user interface.
NETCONF allows a client to discover the set of protocol extensions supported by a server. These “capabilities” permit the client to adjust its behavior to take advantage of the features exposed by the device. The capability definitions can be easily extended in a noncentralized manner. Standard and non-standard capabilities can be defined with semantic and syntactic rigor. Capabilities are discussed in Section 8.
The NETCONF protocol is a building block in a system of automated configuration. XML is the lingua franca of interchange, providing a flexible but fully specified encoding mechanism for hierarchical content. NETCONF can be used in concert with XML-based transformation technologies, such as XSLT [W3C.REC-xslt-19991116], to provide a system for automated generation of full and partial configurations. The system can query one or more databases for data about networking topologies, links, policies, customers, and services. This data can be transformed using one or more XSLT scripts from a task-oriented, vendor-independent data schema into a form that is specific to the vendor, product, operating system, and software release. The resulting data can be passed to the device using the NETCONF protocol.
|Author||Rob Enns Martin Bjorklund Juergen Schoenwaelder Andy Bierman|
|Documentation||Network Configuration Protocol|
|Categories||Networking > Control & Management Software > NMS, EMS, OSS, BSS, Management and Orchestration|
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