PCE Working Group D. Dhody
Internet-Draft Y. Lee
Intended status: Informational Huawei Technologies
Expires: December 31, 2017 D. Ceccarelli
June 29, 2017

Applicability of Path Computation Element (PCE) for Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN)


Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN) refers to the set of virtual network operations needed to orchestrate, control and manage large-scale multi-domain TE networks so as to facilitate network programmability, automation, efficient resource sharing, and end-to-end virtual service aware connectivity and network function virtualization services.

The Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP) provides mechanisms for Path Computation Elements (PCEs) to perform path computations in response to Path Computation Clients (PCCs) requests.

This document examines the applicability of PCE to the ACTN framework.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1. Path Computation Element (PCE)

The Path Computation Element communication Protocol (PCEP) [RFC5440] provides mechanisms for Path Computation Elements (PCEs) [RFC4655] to perform path computations in response to Path Computation Clients (PCCs) requests.

The ability to compute shortest constrained TE LSPs in Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Generalized MPLS (GMPLS) networks across multiple domains has been identified as a key motivation for PCE development.

A stateful PCE is capable of considering, for the purposes of path computation, not only the network state in terms of links and nodes (referred to as the Traffic Engineering Database or TED) but also the status of active services (previously computed paths, and currently reserved resources, stored in the Label Switched Paths Database (LSPDB).

[RFC8051] describes general considerations for a stateful PCE deployment and examines its applicability and benefits, as well as its challenges and limitations through a number of use cases.

[I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-pce] describes a set of extensions to PCEP to provide stateful control. A stateful PCE has access to not only the information carried by the network's Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP), but also the set of active paths and their reserved resources for its computations. The additional state allows the PCE to compute constrained paths while considering individual LSPs and their interactions. [I-D.ietf-pce-pce-initiated-lsp] describes the setup, maintenance and teardown of PCE-initiated LSPs under the stateful PCE model.

[I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-pce] also describes the active stateful PCE. The active PCE functionality allows a PCE to reroute an existing LSP or make changes to the attributes of an existing LSP, or a PCC to delegate control of specific LSPs to a new PCE.

1.1.1. Role of PCE in SDN

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) refers to a separation between the control elements and the forwarding components so that software running in a centralized system called a controller, can act to program the devices in the network to behave in specific ways. A required element in an SDN architecture is a component that plans how the network resources will be used and how the devices will be programmed. It is possible to view this component as performing specific computations to place flows within the network given knowledge of the availability of network resources, how other forwarding devices are programmed, and the way that other flows are routed. It is concluded in [RFC7399], that this is the same function that a PCE might offer in a network operated using a dynamic control plane. This is the function and purpose of a PCE, and the way that a PCE integrates into a wider network control system including SDN is presented in Application-Based Network Operation (ABNO) [RFC7491].

1.1.2. PCE in multi-domain and multi-layer deployments

Computing paths across large multi-domain environments require special computational components and cooperation between entities in different domains capable of complex path computation. The PCE provides an architecture and a set of functional components to address this problem space. A PCE may be used to compute end-to-end paths across multi-domain environments using a per-domain path computation technique [RFC5152]. The Backward recursive PCE based path computation (BRPC) mechanism [RFC5441] defines a PCE-based path computation procedure to compute inter-domain constrained MPLS and GMPLS TE networks. However, both per-domain and BRPC techniques assume that the sequence of domains to be crossed from source to destination is known, either fixed by the network operator or obtained by other means.

[RFC6805] describes a Hierarchical PCE (H-PCE) architecture which can be used for computing end-to-end paths for inter-domain MPLS Traffic Engineering (TE) and GMPLS Label Switched Paths (LSPs) when the domain sequence is not known. Within the Hierarchical PCE (H-PCE) architecture, the Parent PCE (P-PCE) is used to compute a multi-domain path based on the domain connectivity information. A Child PCE (C-PCE) may be responsible for a single domain or multiple domains, it is used to compute the intra-domain path based on its domain topology information.

[I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-hpce] state the considerations for stateful PCE(s) in hierarchical PCE architecture. In particular, the behavior changes and additions to the existing stateful PCE mechanisms (including PCE- initiated LSP setup and active PCE usage) in the context of networks using the H-PCE architecture.

[RFC5623] describes a framework for applying the PCE-based architecture to inter-layer to (G)MPLS TE. It provides suggestions for the deployment of PCE in support of multi-layer networks. It also describes the relationship between PCE and a functional component in charge of the control and management of the VNT, called the Virtual Network Topology Manager (VNTM).

1.2. Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN)

[I-D.ietf-teas-actn-requirements] describes the high-level ACTN requirements. [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework] describes the architecture model for ACTN including the entities (Customer Network Controller(CNC), Mult-domain Service Coordinator(MDSC), and Physical Network Controller(PNC)) and their interfaces.

The ACTN reference architecture identified a three-tier control hierarchy as depicted in Figure 1:

   +-------+                 +-------+                 +-------+
   | CNC-A |                 | CNC-B |                 | CNC-C |
   +-------+                 +-------+                 +-------+
         \                       |                        /
          ----------             |-CMI I/F     -----------
                     \           |            /
                      |         MDSC          |
                      /          |            \
            ----------           |-MMI I/F     -----------
           /                     |                        \
   +----------+              +----------+             +--------+
   |   MDSC   |              |   MDSC   |             |  MDSC  |
   +----------+              +----------+             +--------+
        |                    /     |-MPI I/F             /    \
        |                   /      |                    /      \
     +-----+           +-----+  +-----+            +-----+  +-----+
     | PNC |           | PNC |  | PNC |            | PNC |  | PNC |
     +-----+           +-----+  +-----+            +-----+  +-----+

CMI - (CNC-MDSC Interface)
MMI - (MDSC-MDSC Interface)
MPI - (MDSC-PNC Interface)

Figure 1: ACTN Hierarchy

The two interfaces with respect to the MDSC, one north of the MDSC Interface) and MPI (MDSC-PNC Interface), respectively. MMI (MDSC-MDSC interface) is used to support recursion.

[I-D.ietf-teas-actn-info-model] provides an information model for ACTN interfaces.

1.3. PCE and ACTN

This document examines the PCE and ACTN architecture and describes how the PCE architecture is applicable to ACTN. It also lists the PCEP extensions that are needed to use PCEP as an ACTN interface. This document also identifies any gaps in PCEP, that exist at the time of publication of this document.

2. Architectural Considerations

ACTN [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework] architecture is based on hierarchy and recursiveness of controllers. It defines three types of controllers (depending on the functionalities they implement). The main functionalities are -

Section 3 of [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework] describes these functions.

It should be noted that, in this document we list all possible ways in which PCEP could be used for each of the above functions, but all functions are not required to be implemented via PCEP. Operator may choose to use the PCEP for multi domain coordination via stateful H-PCE but use RestConf or BGP-LS to get the topology and support virtualization/abstraction function.

2.1. Multi domain coordination via Hierarchy

With the definition of domain being "everything that is under the control of the single logical controller", as per [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework], it is needed to have a control entity that oversees the specific aspects of the different domains and to build a single abstracted end-to-end network topology in order to coordinate end-to-end path computation and path/service provisioning.

The MDSC in ACTN framework realizes this function by coordinating the per-domain PNCs in a hierarchy of controllers. It also needs to detach from the underlying network technology and express customer concerns by business needs.

[RFC6805] and [I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-hpce] describes a hierarchy of PCE with Parent PCE coordinating multi-domain path computation function between Child PCE(s). It is easy to see how these principles align, and thus how stateful H-PCE architecture can be used to realize ACTN.

The Per domain stitched LSP in the Hierarchical stateful PCE architecture, described in Section 3.3.1 of [I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-hpce] is well suited for multi-domain coordination function. This includes domain sequence selection; E2E path computation; Controller (PCE) initiated path setup and reporting. This is also applicable to multi-layer coordination in case of IP+optical networks.

[I-D.litkowski-pce-state-sync]" describes the procedures to allow a stateful communication between PCEs for various use-cases. The procedures and extensions are also applicable to Child and Parent PCE communication and thus useful for ACTN as well.

2.2. Virtualization/Abstraction function

To realize ACTN, an abstracted view of the underlying network resources needs to be built. This includes global network-wide abstracted topology based on the underlying network resources of each domain. This also include abstract topology created as per the customer service connectivity requests and represented as a network slice allocated to each customer.

In order to compute and provide optimal paths, PCEs require an accurate and timely Traffic Engineering Database (TED). Traditionally this TED has been obtained from a link state (LS) routing protocol supporting traffic engineering extensions. PCE may construct its TED by participating in the IGP ([RFC3630] and [RFC5305] for MPLS-TE; [RFC4203] and [RFC5307] for GMPLS). An alternative is offered by BGP-LS [RFC7752].

In case of H-PCE [RFC6805], the parent PCE needs to build the domain topology map of the child domains and their interconnectivity. [RFC6805] and [I-D.ietf-pce-inter-area-as-applicability] suggest that BGP-LS could be used as a "northbound" TE advertisement from the child PCE to the parent PCE.

[I-D.dhodylee-pce-pcep-ls] proposes another approaches for learning and maintaining the Link-State and TE information as an alternative to IGPs and BGP flooding, using PCEP itself. The child PCE can use this mechanism to transport Link-State and TE information from child PCE to a Parent PCE using PCEP.

In ACTN, there is a need to control the level of abstraction based on the deployment scenario and business relationship between the controllers. The mechanism used to disseminate information from PNC (child PCE) to MDSC (parent PCE) should support abstraction. [I-D.lee-teas-actn-abstraction] describes a few alternative approaches of abstraction. The resulting abstracted topology can be encoded using the PCEP-LS mechanisms [I-D.dhodylee-pce-pcep-ls]. PCEP-LS is an attractive option when the operator would wish to have a single control plane protocol (PCEP) to achieve ACTN functions.

2.3. Customer mapping function

In ACTN, there is a need to map customer virtual network (VN) requirements into network provisioning request to the PNC. That is, the customer requests/commands are mapped into network provisioning requests that can be sent to the PNC. Specifically, it provides mapping and translation of a customer's service request into a set of parameters that are specific to a network type and technology such that network configuration process is made possible.

[I-D.ietf-pce-pce-initiated-lsp] describes the setup, maintenance and teardown of PCE-initiated LSPs under the stateful PCE model, without the need for local configuration on the PCC, thus allowing for a dynamic network that is centrally controlled and deployed. To instantiate or delete an LSP, the PCE sends the Path Computation LSP Initiate Request (PCInitiate) message to the PCC. As described in [I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-hpce], for inter-domain LSP in Hierarchical PCE architecture, the initiation operations can be carried out at the parent PCE. In which case after parent PCE finishes the E2E path computation, it can send the PCInitiate message to the child PCE, the child PCE further propagates the initiate request to the LSR. The customer request is received by the MDSC (parent PCE) and based on the business logic, global abstracted topology, network conditions and local policy, the MDSC (parent PCE) translates this into per domain LSP initiation request that a PNC (child PCE) can understand and act on. This can be done via the PCInitiate message.

PCEP extensions for associating opaque policy between PCEP peer [I-D.ietf-pce-association-policy] can be used.

2.4. Virtual Network Operations

Virtual service coordination function in ACTN incorporates customer service-related information into the virtual network service operations in order to seamlessly operate virtual networks while meeting customer's service requirements.

[I-D.leedhody-pce-vn-association] describes the need for associating a set of LSPs with a VN "construct" to facilitate VN operations in PCE architecture. This association allows the PCEs to identify which LSPs belong to a certain VN.

This association based on VN is useful for various optimizations at the VN level which can be applied to all the LSPs that are part of the VN slice. During path computation, the impact of a path for an LSP is compared against the paths of other LSPs in the VN. This is to make sure that the overall optimization and SLA of the VN rather than of a single LSP. Similarly, during re-optimization, advanced path computation algorithm and optimization technique can be considered for all the LSPs belonging to a VN/customer and optimize them all together.

3. Interface Considerations

As per [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework], to allow virtualization and multi domain coordination, the network has to provide open, programmable interfaces, in which customer applications can create, replace and modify virtual network resources and services in an interactive, flexible and dynamic fashion while having no impact on other customers. The 3 ACTN interfaces are -

PCEP is especially suitable on the MPI and MMI as it meets the requirement and the functions as set out in the ACTN framework [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework]. Its recursive nature is well suited via the multi-level hierarchy of PCE. The Section 4 describe how PCE and PCEP could help realize ACTN.

4. Realizining ACTN with PCE (and PCEP)

As per the example in the Figure 2, there are 4 domains, each with its own PNC and a MDSC at top. The PNC and MDSC need PCE as a important function. The PNC (or child PCE) already uses PCEP to communicate to the network device. It can utilize the PCEP as the MPI to communicate between controllers too.

             .            ****** ..                   MPI    .
          .                .        .                        .
       .                   .          .                      .
     .                    .             .                    .
    .                    .                .                  .
   .                    .                  .                 .
  .                    .                    .                .
  v                    v                    v                .
******               ******               ******             .    
*PNC1*               *PNC2*               *PNC4*             .
******               ******               ******             .
+---------------+    +---------------+    +---------------+  .
|A              |----|               |----|              C|  .
|               |    |               |    |               |  .
|DOMAIN 1       |----|DOMAIN 2       |----|DOMAIN 4       |  .
+------------B13+    +---------------+    +B43------------+  .
                \                         /                  .
                 \   ******              /                   .
                  \  *PNC3*<............/.....................
                   \ ******            /
                     B31           B34
                     |               |
                     |DOMAIN 3      B|

MDSC -> Parent PCE
PNC  -> Child  PCE
MPI  -> PCEP            

Figure 2: ACTN with PCE

5. Relationship to PCE based central control

[I-D.ietf-teas-pce-central-control] introduces the architecture for PCE as a central controller (PCECC), it further examines the motivations and applicability for PCEP as a southbound interface, and introduces the implications for the protocol. The section 2.1.3 of [I-D.ietf-teas-pce-central-control] describe an hierarchy of PCE-based controller as per the Hierarchy of PCE framework defined in [RFC6805]. Both ACTN and PCECC is based on the same basic framework and thus compatible with each other.

6. IANA Considerations

This is an informational document and thus does not have any IANA allocations to be made.

7. Security Considerations

The ACTN framework described in [I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework] defines key components and interfaces for managed traffic engineered networks. It also list various security considerations such as request and control of resources, confidentially of the information, and availability of function which should be taken into consideration.

When PCEP is used on the MPI/MMI, this interface needs to be secured, use of [I-D.ietf-pce-pceps] is RECOMENDED. Each PCEP extension listed in this document, presents its individual security considerations, which continue to apply.

8. Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Jonathan Hardwick for the inspiration behind this document. Further thanks to Avantika for her comments with suggested text.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

[RFC5440] Vasseur, JP. and JL. Le Roux, "Path Computation Element (PCE) Communication Protocol (PCEP)", RFC 5440, DOI 10.17487/RFC5440, March 2009.

9.2. Informative References

[RFC3630] Katz, D., Kompella, K. and D. Yeung, "Traffic Engineering (TE) Extensions to OSPF Version 2", RFC 3630, DOI 10.17487/RFC3630, September 2003.
[RFC4203] Kompella, K. and Y. Rekhter, "OSPF Extensions in Support of Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS)", RFC 4203, DOI 10.17487/RFC4203, October 2005.
[RFC4655] Farrel, A., Vasseur, J. and J. Ash, "A Path Computation Element (PCE)-Based Architecture", RFC 4655, DOI 10.17487/RFC4655, August 2006.
[RFC5152] Vasseur, JP., Ayyangar, A. and R. Zhang, "A Per-Domain Path Computation Method for Establishing Inter-Domain Traffic Engineering (TE) Label Switched Paths (LSPs)", RFC 5152, DOI 10.17487/RFC5152, February 2008.
[RFC5305] Li, T. and H. Smit, "IS-IS Extensions for Traffic Engineering", RFC 5305, DOI 10.17487/RFC5305, October 2008.
[RFC5307] Kompella, K. and Y. Rekhter, "IS-IS Extensions in Support of Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS)", RFC 5307, DOI 10.17487/RFC5307, October 2008.
[RFC5441] Vasseur, JP., Zhang, R., Bitar, N. and JL. Le Roux, "A Backward-Recursive PCE-Based Computation (BRPC) Procedure to Compute Shortest Constrained Inter-Domain Traffic Engineering Label Switched Paths", RFC 5441, DOI 10.17487/RFC5441, April 2009.
[RFC5623] Oki, E., Takeda, T., Le Roux, JL. and A. Farrel, "Framework for PCE-Based Inter-Layer MPLS and GMPLS Traffic Engineering", RFC 5623, DOI 10.17487/RFC5623, September 2009.
[RFC6805] King, D. and A. Farrel, "The Application of the Path Computation Element Architecture to the Determination of a Sequence of Domains in MPLS and GMPLS", RFC 6805, DOI 10.17487/RFC6805, November 2012.
[RFC7399] Farrel, A. and D. King, "Unanswered Questions in the Path Computation Element Architecture", RFC 7399, DOI 10.17487/RFC7399, October 2014.
[RFC7491] King, D. and A. Farrel, "A PCE-Based Architecture for Application-Based Network Operations", RFC 7491, DOI 10.17487/RFC7491, March 2015.
[RFC7752] Gredler, H., Medved, J., Previdi, S., Farrel, A. and S. Ray, "North-Bound Distribution of Link-State and Traffic Engineering (TE) Information Using BGP", RFC 7752, DOI 10.17487/RFC7752, March 2016.
[RFC8051] Zhang, X. and I. Minei, "Applicability of a Stateful Path Computation Element (PCE)", RFC 8051, DOI 10.17487/RFC8051, January 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-pce] Crabbe, E., Minei, I., Medved, J. and R. Varga, "PCEP Extensions for Stateful PCE", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-stateful-pce-21, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-pce-initiated-lsp] Crabbe, E., Minei, I., Sivabalan, S. and R. Varga, "PCEP Extensions for PCE-initiated LSP Setup in a Stateful PCE Model", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-pce-initiated-lsp-10, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-stateful-hpce] Dhody, D., Lee, Y., Ceccarelli, D., Shin, J., King, D. and O. Dios, "Hierarchical Stateful Path Computation Element (PCE).", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-stateful-hpce-00, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-teas-pce-central-control] Farrel, A., Zhao, Q., Li, Z. and C. Zhou, "An Architecture for Use of PCE and PCEP in a Network with Central Control", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-teas-pce-central-control-03, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-teas-actn-requirements] Lee, Y., Dhody, D., Belotti, S., Pithewan, K., Ceccarelli, D., Miyasaka, T. and J. Shin, "Requirements for Abstraction and Control of TE Networks", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-teas-actn-requirements-05, May 2017.
[I-D.ietf-teas-actn-framework] Ceccarelli, D. and Y. Lee, "Framework for Abstraction and Control of Traffic Engineered Networks", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-teas-actn-framework-06, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-teas-actn-info-model] Lee, Y., Belotti, S., Dhody, D., Ceccarelli, D. and B. Yoon, "Information Model for Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN)", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-teas-actn-info-model-01, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-inter-area-as-applicability] King, D., Meuric, J., Dugeon, O., Zhao, Q., Dhody, D. and O. Dios, "Applicability of the Path Computation Element to Inter-Area and Inter-AS MPLS and GMPLS Traffic Engineering", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-inter-area-as-applicability-06, July 2016.
[I-D.dhodylee-pce-pcep-ls] Dhody, D., Lee, Y. and D. Ceccarelli, "PCEP Extension for Distribution of Link-State and TE Information.", Internet-Draft draft-dhodylee-pce-pcep-ls-08, June 2017.
[I-D.leedhody-pce-vn-association] Lee, Y., Dhody, D., Zhang, X. and D. Ceccarelli, "PCEP Extensions for Establishing Relationships Between Sets of LSPs and Virtual Networks", Internet-Draft draft-leedhody-pce-vn-association-02, March 2017.
[I-D.litkowski-pce-state-sync] Litkowski, S., Sivabalan, S. and D. Dhody, "Inter Stateful Path Computation Element communication procedures", Internet-Draft draft-litkowski-pce-state-sync-01, February 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-association-policy] Dhody, D., Sivabalan, S., Litkowski, S., Tantsura, J. and J. Hardwick, "Path Computation Element communication Protocol extension for associating Policies and LSPs", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-association-policy-01, June 2017.
[I-D.ietf-pce-pceps] Lopez, D., Dios, O., Wu, Q. and D. Dhody, "Secure Transport for PCEP", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-pce-pceps-14, May 2017.
[I-D.lee-teas-actn-abstraction] Lee, Y., Dhody, D., Ceccarelli, D. and O. Dios, "Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN) Abstraction Methods", Internet-Draft draft-lee-teas-actn-abstraction-02, June 2017.
[I-D.lee-pce-lsp-stitching-hpce] Lee, Y., Dhody, D. and D. Ceccarelli, "PCEP Extensions for Stitching LSPs in Hierarchical Stateful PCE Model", Internet-Draft draft-lee-pce-lsp-stitching-hpce-00, June 2017.

Authors' Addresses

Dhruv Dhody Huawei Technologies Divyashree Techno Park, Whitefield Bangalore, Karnataka 560066 India EMail: dhruv.ietf@gmail.com
Young Lee Huawei Technologies 5340 Legacy Drive, Building 3 Plano, TX 75023 USA EMail: leeyoung@huawei.com
Daniele Ceccarelli Ericsson Torshamnsgatan,48 Stockholm, Sweden EMail: daniele.ceccarelli@ericsson.com