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We consider an optical layer monitoring mechanism for fast link failure localization in all-optical wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) mesh networks. A novel framework of all-optical monitoring, called monitoring trail (m-trail), is introduced. It differs from the existing monitoring cycle (m-cycle) method by removing the cycle constraint. As a result, m-trail provides a general all-optical monitoring structure, which includes simple, nonsimple m-cycles, and open trails as special cases. Based on an in-depth theoretical analysis, we formulate an efficient integer linear program (ILP) for m-trail design to achieve unambiguous localization of each link failure. The objective is to minimize the monitoring cost (i.e., monitor cost plus bandwidth cost) of all m-trails in the solution. Numerical results show that the proposed m-trail scheme significantly outperforms its m-cycle-based counterpart.