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The objective of autonomic networking is to enable the autonomous formation and parametrization of nodes and networks by letting protocols sense and adapt to the networking environment at run time. Besides its dynamic aspects, a core requirement of autonomic networking is to define a structured framework and execution environment that enables algorithms to operate in a continously changing environment. This paper presents the major design principles of the Autonomic Network Architecture (ANA) and reports on a first implementation. The guiding principle of ANA is to strive for flexibility and genericity at all levels of the architecture. In our approach we explicitly avoid to impose a "one-size-fits-all" architecture (where communication protocols and paradigms are fixed by the architecture). To this end, ANA introduces generic abstractions, for example "information dispatch points" instead of addressable endpoints, as well as communication primitives that support network heterogeneity, adaptability, and evolution. These core abstractions allow for the coexistance of multiple and diverse networking styles and protocols. With the public release of the ANA prototype, we aim at federating autonomics related networking projects, enabling different actors to share, compare, and build upon each otherÂ¿s work. The ANA runtime can host clean slate network designs as well as legacy Internet technology and serves as a platform for demonstrating autonomic communication principles.
Date of Publication: January 2010