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RFC 136 - Host accounting and administrative procedures


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Network Working Group                                            R. Kahn
Request for Comments: 136                                            BBN
NIC: 6713                                                  29 April 1971

             Host Accounting and Administrative Procedures

   A plan must be formulated and agreed upon for the development of a
   Host accounting system in the ARPA Network.  Such a plan should take
   into consideration both current Host accounting practices and new
   technical contributions.  This document is an early attempt to
   identify the issues concerning Host accounting.  It is being
   distributed as a working document on which further discussions may be
   based and, as such, does not represent, nor is intended to represent,
   a position on any of these issues.

   The method of network operation and the potential for its growth are
   relevant factors to be considered in formulating a plan for Host
   accounting.  For example, the answers to the following questions
   provide a useful background for reference:

      1.  Who or what operates the Network?

      2.  What is the criteria upon which new sites should be
          incorporated into the Network?

      3.  What regulations, if any, apply to the connection of non-ARPA
          sites?

      4.  What is the relation, if any, between the ARPA Network and
          common carrier services?

      5.  What procedures are required to bring new sites on board and
          up to speed?

      6.  What is the most effective way to characterize their
          resources?

      7.  What usage of other Network resources do they anticipate?

      8.  What procedures will be required for a typical user to obtain
          access to that Host?

      9.  What is their charging policy and for what items?

      10.  Are their rates in accordance with government standards?

Assumptions Regarding the Network

   I have made several assumptions in this presentation that should
   simplify and, hopefully, clarify the framework in which the
   accounting issues reside.  Any one of these assumptions may be
   subject to challenge.

   1. Subnet Considerations

      1.1 That some entity, government or private, will undertake to
          operate the subnet and will act as a cost center for the
          subnet.

      1.2 That the total cost of operating the subnet (equipment,
          development, maintenance, service and other administrative
          costs) will be assumed by the cost center which will be
          reimbursed by the Host sites or directly by ARPA on both a
          connect and usage basis.

      1.3 That the subnet will be initially operated as part of a
          private government-sponsored resource-sharing network for the
          use of its participants in obtaining computer services and not
          as a common carrier for the sale of communication services.

      1.4 That both ARPA and non-ARPA supported contractors will
          eventually be allowed to connect.  The use of the subnet may
          be administered to support resource-sharing activities.

   2. Host Considerations

      2.1 That each serving Host will make arrangements for use of its
          facilities and arrange to obtain payment either from its own
          ARPA contract, directly from the using Host, or from the using
          Host via an intermediate mechanism.

      2.2 That each prospective Host site will make available (in some
          way to be designated) figures on cost of usage for relevant
          facilities such as cpu, storage, connect time, peripherals,
          etc.  It will further indicate, where appropriate, the status
          of equipment (such as government-furnished, leased, or
          privately owned) and whether the rates are in accord with
          government standards.

      2.3 That the implementation of standard automated accounting
          procedures involving the use of the Network will be deferred
          until non-automated procedures have been understood and
          stabilized.  Early experimentation in this area is
          appropriate, however.

      2.4 That no major change in current Host accounting procedures
          should be required initially.

   3. Both Host and Subnet Considerations

      3.1 That two kinds of traffic into the Network will be measured by
          the network, namely traffic to Hosts at other sites and
          traffic to Hosts at the same site.

      3.2 The Network cost center will record traffic out of each Host
          but will not initially keep records of traffic on a Host/Host
          basis or on a link or socket basis.  Each Host will be
          responsible for distributing the cost of Network usage among
          the appropriate users.

      3.3 That some form of duplication, verification, or backup of
          accounting information may become desirable.

      3.4 Understanding the relationship between service, improvement,
          reliability and cost should be the responsibility of the
          Network operator, but that feedback from the Host sites in
          this area is absolutely essential.

Suggested Topics

   The following set of topics are introduced for discussion among the
   network community.

   1. Current Practices

      1.1 What constitutes current Host accounting procedures? How is it
          accomplished and what is accounted for?

   2. Administrative Procedures

      2.1 What access arrangements for network users are either planned
          or envisioned at each site?

      2.2 Are security or authenticity provisions required for network
          usage and if so, what is the nature of that requirement?

      2.3 Should Host accounting and network accounting be completely
          independent of each other or not? If not, in what way should
          they be made independent?

      2.4 What long range billing procedures are desirable?

   3. Charging Policies

      3.1 What procedures are required for a Host to determine the most
          cost effective way to run a job on the Network? In this
          regard, is it helpful to try to categorize resources for
          costing purposes?

      3.2 Should some classes of Host activity be exempt from
          accounting?

      3.3 Is it desirable to achieve standardized rates for specific
          classes of activity, and if so how should those rates be
          determined?

   4. Technical Aspects

      4.1 Should Host accounting information eventually flow via the
          Network? Should it be accessible to a user or a Host in real-
          time? If so, what should flow online?

      4.2 What accounting mechanisms, if any, are needed to deal with
          events, from which recovery or continuation is not possible
          that result from use of the Network and lack of proximity to
          the computer? To what extent are the procedures in current use
          for remote users from the dial-up network applicable?

      4.3 For what classes of Host Network activity, if any, is
          conventional logging-in not a desirable long-range strategy?

   This list of topics is not intended to be complete or even very
   specific.  Suggestions for additional topics are not only welcomed
   but encouraged.

         [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
             [ into the online RFC archives by Sergio Kleiman]

 

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