The Network Management Research Group (NMRG) provides a forum for researchers to explore new technologies for the management of the Internet. In particular, the NMRG will work on solutions for problems that are not yet considered well understood enough for engineering work within the IETF.
The focus of the NMRG will be on management services that interface with the current Internet management framework. This includes communication services between management systems, which may belong to different management domains, as well as customer-oriented management services. The NMRG is expected to identify and document requirements, to survey possible approaches, to consider new architectural frameworks, to provide specifications for proposed solutions, and to prove concepts with prototype implementations that can be tested in large-scale real-world environments.
The IETF Operations and Management Area Directors are members of the NMRG mailing list and invited to NMRG meetings in order to ensure free flow of information in both directions, and to avoid duplication of work with the various IETF working groups.
The group will report its progress through a publicly accessible web site and presentations at IETF meetings. Specifications developed by the NMRG will be submitted for publication as Experimental or Informational RFCs.
Membership in the NMRG is open to all interested parties.
Regular working meetings are held about three to five times per year at locations convenient to the majority of the participants. Working meetings vary from hours-long working sessions (typically when held as part of IETF meetings) to days-long meetings when co-located with conferences or events related to network management.
Regular virtual meetings are also organized on a monthly or per-need basis.
The constant evolution of networking technologies, in scale, versatility, and heterogeneity, generates operational complexity and demands novel disruptive management solutions to address it. The NMRG will prioritize investigation of three related topics: 1) self-driving/-managing networks, 2) intent-based networking and 3) artificial intelligence in network management. Note: beyond these three topics, the NMRG remains open to presentation of other topics of interest.
While the ultimate goal of self-driving/-managing networks is fully autonomous network operations, there will be intermediate levels where the human users remain “in the loop” and are progressively assisted and replaced by more and more intelligent mechanisms. Interfaces between humans and a self-driving system are important and required to allow bidirectional communications. On one hand, the user must be able to express guidance and its needs without having to handle the full complexity of the underlying infrastructures. On the other hand, users must understand the decisions which were taken and the reasons why, be informed about the future actions the system will initiate and also be provided with recommendations.
In this area, Intent-Based Networking (IBN) provides high-level, user-friendly abstractions to describe business and operational goals, and alleviates the need for the user to know and derive the technical details on how to achieve those goals. IBN is an essential component of self-driving networks but requires the introduction of intelligent mechanisms to properly process intents with as little human involvement as possible.
Certainly, some of those intelligent mechanisms can rely on advances in (but should not be limited to) Artificial Intelligence (AI). While different forms of AI have been used for decades in network management, the combined progress in amount of data, computing power, AI algorithms and flexible capabilities of networks in recent years makes highly relevant to re-examine in depth the coupling between AI and network management.
Documents and meeting materials for the NMRG can be found on the IETF datatracker.
Additional NMRG information is available at https://trac.ietf.org/trac/nmrg/wiki/WikiStart.
The NMRG was chartered on 1999-03-14.