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While networked systems hold and generate vast amounts of configuration and operational data, this data is not accessible through a simple, uniform mechanism. Rather, it must be gathered using a range of different protocols and interfaces. Our vision is to make all this data available in a simple format through a realtime search process which runs within the network and aggregates the data into a form needed by applications - a concept we call network search. We believe that such an approach, though challenging, is technically feasible and will enable rapid development of new management applications and advanced network functions. This paper motivates and formulates the concept of network search, compares it to related concepts like web search, outlines a search architecture, describes the design space and research challenges, and reports on a testbed implementation with management applications built for exploratory purposes of this new paradigm.
Date of Conference: 16-20 April 2012