faqs.org - Internet FAQ Archives

RFC 5472 - IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) Applicability


Or Display the document by number




Network Working Group                                           T. Zseby
Request for Comments: 5472                              Fraunhofer FOKUS
Category: Informational                                        E. Boschi
                                                          Hitachi Europe
                                                             N. Brownlee
                                                                   CAIDA
                                                               B. Claise
                                                     Cisco Systems, Inc.
                                                              March 2009

            IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) Applicability

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents in effect on the date of
   publication of this document (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info).
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

   This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF
   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
   material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow
   modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process.
   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
   the copyright in such materials, this document may not be modified
   outside the IETF Standards Process, and derivative works of it may
   not be created outside the IETF Standards Process, except to format
   it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other
   than English.

Abstract

   In this document, we describe the applicability of the IP Flow
   Information eXport (IPFIX) protocol for a variety of applications.
   We show how applications can use IPFIX, describe the relevant
   Information Elements (IEs) for those applications, and present
   opportunities and limitations of the protocol.  Furthermore, we
   describe relations of the IPFIX framework to other architectures and
   frameworks.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................4
      1.1. Terminology ................................................4
   2. Applications of IPFIX ...........................................4
      2.1. Accounting .................................................4
           2.1.1. Example .............................................5
      2.2. Traffic Profiling ..........................................7
      2.3. Traffic Engineering ........................................8
      2.4. Network Security ...........................................9
      2.5. QoS Monitoring ............................................11
           2.5.1. Correlating Events from Multiple
                  Observation Points .................................12
           2.5.2. Examples ...........................................12
      2.6. Inter-Domain Exchange of IPFIX Data .......................14
      2.7. Export of Derived Metrics .................................14
      2.8. Summary ...................................................15
   3. Relation of IPFIX to Other Frameworks and Protocols ............16
      3.1. IPFIX and IPv6 ............................................16
      3.2. IPFIX and PSAMP ...........................................16
      3.3. IPFIX and RMON ............................................16
      3.4. IPFIX and IPPM ............................................18
      3.5. IPFIX and AAA .............................................18
           3.5.1. Connecting via a AAA Client ........................20
           3.5.2. Connecting via an Application Specific
                  Module (ASM) .......................................21
      3.6. IPFIX and RTFM ............................................21
           3.6.1. Architecture .......................................21
           3.6.2. Flow Definition ....................................22
           3.6.3. Configuration and Management .......................22
           3.6.4. Data Collection ....................................22
           3.6.5. Data Model Details .................................23
           3.6.6. Transport Protocol .................................23
           3.6.7. Summary ............................................23
   4. Limitations ....................................................24
      4.1. Using IPFIX for Other Applications than Listed in
           RFC 3917 ..................................................24
      4.2. Using IPFIX for Billing (Reliability Limitations) .........24
      4.3. Using a Different Transport Protocol than SCTP ............25
      4.4. Push vs. Pull Mode ........................................25
      4.5. Template ID Number ........................................26
      4.6. Exporting Bidirectional Flow Information ..................26
      4.7. Remote Configuration ......................................27
   5. Security Considerations ........................................27
   6. Acknowledgements ...............................................28
   7. Normative References ...........................................28
   8. Informative References .........................................28

1.  Introduction

   The IPFIX protocol defines how IP Flow information can be exported
   from routers, measurement probes, or other devices.  IP Flow
   information provides important input data for a variety of
   applications.  The IPFIX protocol is a general data transport
   protocol that is easily extensible to suit the needs of such
   applications.  In this document, we describe how typical applications
   can use the IPFIX protocol and show opportunities and limitations of
   the protocol.  Furthermore, we describe the relationship of IPFIX to
   other frameworks and architectures.  Although examples in this
   document are shown for IPv4 only, the applicability statements apply
   to IPv4 and IPv6.  IPFIX provides appropriate Information Elements
   for both IP versions.

1.1.  Terminology

   IPFIX-specific terminology used in this document is defined in
   Section 2 of [RFC5101].  In this document, as in [RFC5101], the first
   letter of each IPFIX-specific term is capitalized.

2.  Applications of IPFIX

   IPFIX data enables several critical applications.  The IPFIX target
   applications and the requirements that originate from those
   applications are described in [RFC3917].  Those requirements were
   used as basis for the design of the IPFIX protocol.  This section
   describes how these target applications can use the IPFIX protocol.
   Considerations for using IPFIX for other applications than those
   described in [RFC3917] can be found in Section 4.1.

2.1.  Accounting

   Usage-based accounting is one of the target applications for IPFIX as
   defined in [RFC3917].  IPFIX records provide fine-grained measurement
   results for highly flexible and detailed usage reporting.  Such data
   is used to realize usage-based accounting.  Nevertheless, IPFIX does
   not provide the reliability required by usage-based billing systems
   as defined in [RFC2975] (see Section 4.2).  The accounting scenarios
   described in this document only provide limited reliability as
   explained in Section 4.2 and should not be used in environments where
   reliability as demanded by [RFC2975] is mandatory.

   In order to realize usage-based accounting with IPFIX, the Flow
   definition has to be chosen in accordance to the accounting purpose,
   such as trend analysis, capacity planning, auditing, or billing and
   cost allocation where some loss of data can be tolerated (see Section
   4.2).

   Flows can be distinguished by various IEs (e.g., packet header
   fields) from [RFC5102].  Due to the flexible IPFIX Flow definition,
   arbitrary Flow-based accounting models can be realized without
   extensions to the IPFIX protocol.

   Accounting can, for instance, be based on individual end-to-end
   Flows.  In this case, it can be realized with a Flow definition
   determined by the quintuple consisting of source address
   (sourceIPv4Address), destination address (destinationIPv4Address),
   protocol (protocolIdentifier), and port numbers (udpSourcePort,
   udpDestinationPort).  Another example is class-dependent accounting
   (e.g., in a Diffserv network).  In this case, Flows could be
   distinguished just by the Diffserv codepoint (DSCP)
   (ipDiffServCodePoint) and IP addresses (sourceIPv4Address,
   destinationIPv4Address).  The essential elements needed for
   accounting are the number of transferred packets and bytes per Flow,
   which can be represented by the per-flow counter IEs (e.g.,
   packetTotalCount, octetTotalCount).

   For accounting purposes, it would be advantageous to have the ability
   to use IPFIX Flow Records as accounting input in an Authentication,
   Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) infrastructure.  AAA servers then
   could provide the mapping between user and Flow information.  Again
   for such scenarios the limited reliability currently provided by
   IPFIX has to be taken into account.

2.1.1.  Example

   Please note: As noted in [RFC3330], the address block 192.0.2.0/24
   may be used for example addresses.  In the example below, we use two
   example networks.  In order to be conformant to [RFC3330], we divide
   the given address block into two networks by subnetting with a 25-bit
   netmask (192.0.2.0/25) as follows:

   Network A: 192.0.2.0 ...  192.0.2.127
   Network B: 192.0.2.128 ...  192.0.2.255

   Let's suppose someone needs to monitor the individual Flows in a
   Diffserv network in order to compare traffic amount trend with the
   terms outlined in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).  Flows are
   distinguished by source and destination address.  The information to
   export in this case is:

      - IPv4 source IP address: sourceIPv4Address in [RFC5102], with a
        length of 4 octets

      - IPv4 destination IP address: destinationIPv4Address in
        [RFC5102], with a length of 4 octets

      - DSCP: ipDiffServCodePoint in [RFC5102], with a length of 1 octet

      - Number of octets of the Flow: octetDeltaCount in [RFC5102], with
        a length of 4 octets

   The Template set will look as follows:

      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |         Set ID = 2            |      Length = 24 octets       |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |       Template ID 256         |       Field Count = 4         |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |0|    sourceIPv4Address = 8    |       Field Length = 4        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |0| destinationIPv4Address = 12 |       Field Length = 4        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |0|  ipDiffServCodePoint = 195  |       Field Length = 1        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |0|     octetDeltaCount = 1     |       Field Length = 4        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

   The information to be exported might be as listed in the following
   example table:

      Src. IP addr. | Dst. IP addr. |  DSCP  | Octets Number
      --------------+---------------+--------+--------------
      192.0.2.12    |  192.0.2.144  |   46   |   120868
      192.0.2.24    |  192.0.2.156  |   46   |   310364
      192.0.2.36    |  192.0.2.168  |   46   |   241239

   In the example we use Diffserv codepoint 46, recommended for the
   Expedited Forwarding Per Hop Behavior (EF PHB) in [RFC3246].

   The Flow Records will then look as follows:

       0                   1                   2                   3
       0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |          Set ID = 256         |          Length = 43          |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                          192.0.2.12                           |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                          192.0.2.144                          |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |      46       |               120868                          |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |               |               192.0.2.24                      |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |               |               192.0.2.156                     |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |               |       46      |                 310364        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                               |         192.0.2.36            |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                               |         192.0.2.168           |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                               |       46      |               |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |                   241239                      |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

2.2.  Traffic Profiling

   Measurement results reported in IPFIX records can provide useful
   input for traffic profiling.  IPFIX records captured over a long
   period of time can be used to track and anticipate network growth and
   usage.  Such information is valuable for trend analysis and network
   planning.

   The parameters of interest are determined by the profiling
   objectives.  Example parameters for traffic profiling are Flow
   duration, Flow volume, burstiness, the distribution of used services
   and protocols, the amount of packets of a specific type, etc.
   [RFC3917].

   The distribution of services and protocols in use can be analyzed by
   configuring appropriate Flows Keys for Flow discrimination.
   Protocols can be distinguished by the protocolIdentifier IE.
   Portnumbers (e.g., udpDestinationPort) often provide information
   about services in use.  Those Flow Keys are defined in [RFC5102].  If

   portnumbers are not sufficient for service discrimination, further
   parts of the packet may be needed.  Header fields can be expressed by
   IEs from [RFC5102].

   Packet payload can be reported by using the IE ipPayloadPacketSection
   in [RFC5477].

   The Flow duration can be calculated from the Flow Timestamp IEs
   defined in [RFC5102] (e.g., flowEndMicroseconds -
   flowStartMicroseconds).  The number of packets and number of bytes of
   a Flow are represented in the per-flow counter IEs (e.g.,
   packetTotalCount, octetTotalCount).  The burstiness of a Flow can be
   calculated from the Flow volume measured at different time intervals.

2.3.  Traffic Engineering

   Traffic engineering aims at the optimization of network resource
   utilization and traffic performance [RFC2702].  Typical parameters
   are link utilization, load between specific network, nodes, number,
   size and entry/exit points of active Flows, and routing information
   [RFC3917].

   The size of Flows in packets and bytes can be reported by the IEs
   packetTotalCount and octetTotalCount.  Utilization of a physical link
   can be reported by using a coarse-grained Flow definition (e.g.,
   based on identifier IEs such as egressInterface or ingressInterface)
   and per-flow counter IEs (e.g., packetTotalCount, octetTotalCount)
   defined in [RFC5102].

   The load between specific network nodes can be reported in the same
   way if one interface of a network node receives only traffic from
   exactly one neighbor node (as is usually the case).  If the ingress
   interface is not sufficient for an unambiguous identification of the
   neighbor node, sub-IP header fields IEs (like sourceMacAddress) can
   be added as Flow Keys.

   The IE observedFlowTotalCount provides the number of all Flows
   exported for the Observation Domain since the last initialization of
   the Metering Process [RFC5102].  If this IE is exported at subsequent
   points in time, one can derive the number of active Flows in a
   specific time interval from the difference of the reported counters.
   The configured Flow termination criteria have to be taken into
   account to interpret those numbers correctly.

   Entry and exit points can be derived from Flow Records if Metering
   Processes are installed at all edges of the network and results are
   mapped in accordance to Flow Keys.  For this and other analysis
   methods that require the mapping of records from different

   Observation Points, the same Flow Keys should be used at all
   Observation Points.  The path that packets take through a network can
   be investigated by using hash-based sampling techniques as described
   in [DuGr00] and [RFC5475].  For this, IEs from [RFC5477] are needed.

   Neither [RFC5102] nor [RFC5477] defines IEs suitable for exporting
   routing information.

2.4.  Network Security

   Attack and intrusion detection are among the IPFIX target
   applications described in [RFC3917].  Due to the enormous amount of
   different network attack types, only general requirements could be
   addressed in [RFC3917].

   The number of metrics useful for attack detection is as diverse as
   attack patterns themselves.  Attackers adapt rapidly to circumvent
   detection methods and try to hide attack patterns using slow or
   stealth attacks.  Furthermore, unusual traffic patterns are not
   always caused by malicious activities.  A sudden traffic increase may
   be caused by legitimate users who seek access to a recently published
   web content.  Strange traffic patterns may also be caused by
   misconfiguration.

   IPFIX can export Flow information for arbitrary Flow definitions as
   defined in [RFC5101].  Packet information can be exported with IPFIX
   by using the additional Information Elements described in [RFC5477].
   With this, theoretically all information about traffic in the network
   at the IP layer and above is accessible.  This data either can be
   used directly to detect anomalies or can provide the basis for
   further post-processing to generate more complex attack detection
   metrics.

   Depending on the attack type, different metrics are useful.  A sudden
   increase of traffic load can be a hint that an attack has been
   launched.  The overall traffic at an Observation Point can be
   monitored using per-flow counter IEs like packetTotalCount or
   octetTotalCount as described in Section 2.3.  The number of active
   Flows can be monitored by regular reporting of the
   observedFlowTotalCount defined in [RFC5102].

   A sudden increase of Flows from different sources to one destination
   may be caused by an attack on a specific host or network node using
   spoofed addresses.  The number of Flows from or to specific networks
   or hosts can be observed by using source and destination addresses as
   Flow Keys and observing the number of active Flows as explained
   above.  Many Flows to the same machine, but on different ports, or
   many Flows to the same port and different machines may be an

   indicator for vertical or horizontal port scanning activities.  The
   number of Flows to different ports can be reported by using the
   portnumber Information Elements (udpSourcePort, udpDestinationPort,
   tcpSourcePort, tcpDestinationPort) defined in [RFC5102] as Flow Keys.

   An unusual ratio of TCP-SYN to TCP-FIN packets can refer to SYN-
   flooding.  The number of SYN and FIN packets in a Flow can be
   reported with the IPFIX Information Elements tcpSynTotalCount and
   tcpFinTotalCount defined in [RFC5102].

   Worms may leave signatures in traffic patterns.  Detecting such
   events requires more detailed measurements and post-processing than
   detecting simple changes in traffic volumes.

   A difficult task is the separation of good from bad packets to
   prepare and launch counteraction.  This may require a deeper look
   into packet content by using further header field IEs from [RFC5102]
   and/or packet payloads from IE ipPayloadPacketSection in [RFC5477].

   Furthermore, the amount of resources needed for measurement and
   reporting increases with the level of granularity required to detect
   an attack.  Multi-step analysis techniques may be useful, e.g., to
   launch an in-depth analysis (e.g., based on packet information) in
   case the Flow information shows suspicious patterns.  In order to
   supervise traffic to a specific host or network node, it is useful to
   apply filtering methods such as those described in [RFC5475].

   Mapping the two directions of communication is often useful for
   checking correct protocol behavior (see Section 4.6).  A correlation
   of IPFIX data from multiple Observation Points (see Section 2.5.1)
   allows assessing the propagation of an attack and can help to locate
   its source.

   The integration of previous measurement results helps to review
   traffic changes over time for detection of traffic anomalies and
   provides the basis for forensic analysis.  A standardized storage
   format for IPFIX data would support the offline analysis of data from
   different operators.

   Nevertheless, capturing full packet traces at all Observation Points
   in the network is not viable due to resource limitations and privacy
   concerns.  Therefore, metrics should be chosen wisely to allow a
   solid detection with minimal resource consumption.  Resources can be
   saved, for instance, by using coarser-grained Flow definitions,
   reporting pre-processed metrics (e.g., with additional Information
   Elements), or deploying sampling methods.

   In many cases, only derived metrics provide sufficient evidence about
   security incidents.  For example, comparing the number of SYN and FIN
   packets for a specific time interval can reveal an ongoing SYN
   attack, which is not obvious from unprocessed packet and Flow data.
   Further metrics like the cumulated sum of various counters,
   distributions of packet attributes, or spectrum coefficients have
   been used to identify a variety of attacks.

   In order to detect attacks early, it is useful to process the data as
   soon as possible in order to generate significant metrics for the
   detection.  Pre-processing of raw packet and Flow data already at the
   measurement device can speed up the detection process and reduces the
   amount of data that need to be exported.  Furthermore, it is possible
   to directly report derived metrics by defining appropriate
   Information Elements.  Immediate data export in case of a potential
   incident is desired.  IPFIX supports such source-triggered exporting
   of information due to the push model approach.  Nevertheless, further
   exporting criteria have to be implemented to export IPFIX records
   upon incident detection events and not only upon flow-end or fixed-
   time intervals.

   Intrusion detection would profit from the combination of IPFIX
   functions with AAA functions (see Section 3.5).  Such an
   interoperation enables further means for attacker detection, advanced
   defense strategies, and secure inter-domain cooperation.

2.5.  QoS Monitoring

   Quality of service (QoS) monitoring is one target application of the
   IPFIX protocol [RFC3917].  QoS monitoring is the passive observation
   of the transmission quality for single Flows or traffic aggregates in
   the network.  One example of its use is the validation of QoS
   guarantees in service level agreements (SLAs).  Typical QoS
   parameters are loss [RFC2680], one-way [RFC2679] and round-trip delay
   [RFC2681], and delay variation [RFC3393].  Whenever applicable, the
   IP Performance Metrics (IPPM) definitions [RFC4148] should be used
   when reporting QoS metrics.

   The calculation of those QoS metrics requires per-packet processing.
   Reporting packet information with IPFIX is possible by simply
   considering a single packet as Flow.  [RFC5101] also allows the
   reporting of multiple identical Information Elements in one Flow
   Record.  Using this feature for reporting information about multiple
   packets in one record would require additional agreement on semantics
   regarding the order of Information Elements (e.g., which timestamp
   belongs to which packet payload in a sequence of Information
   Elements).  [RFC5477] defines useful additional Information Elements
   for exporting per-packet information with IPFIX.

2.5.1.  Correlating Events from Multiple Observation Points

   Some QoS metrics require the correlation of data from multiple
   Observation Points.  For this, the clocks of the involved Metering
   Processes must be synchronized.  Furthermore, it is necessary to
   recognize that the same packet was observed at different Observation
   Points.

   This can be done by capturing parts of the packet content (packet
   header and/or parts of the payload) that do not change on the way to
   the destination.  Based on the packet content, it can be recognized
   when the same packet arrived at another Observation Point.  To reduce
   the amount of measurement data, a unique packet ID can be calculated
   from the packet content, e.g., by using a Cyclic Redundancy Check
   (CRC) or hash function instead of transferring and comparing the
   unprocessed content.  Considerations on collision probability and
   efficiency of using such packet IDs are described in [GrDM98],
   [DuGr00], and [ZsZC01].

   IPFIX allows the reporting of several IP and transport header fields
   (see Sections 5.3 and 5.4 in [RFC5102]).  Using only those fields for
   packet recognition or ID generation can be sufficient in scenarios
   where those header fields vary a lot among subsequent packets, where
   a certain amount of packet ID collisions are tolerable, or where
   packet IDs need to be unique only for a small time interval.

   For including packet payload information, the Information Element
   ipPayloadPacketSection defined in [RFC5477] can be used.  The
   Information Element ipHeaderPacketSection can also be used.  However,
   header fields that can change on the way from source to destination
   have to be excluded from the packet ID generation because they may
   differ at different Observation Points.

   For reporting packet IDs generated by a CRC or hash function, the
   Information Element digestHashValue defined in [RFC5477] can be used.

2.5.2.  Examples

   The following examples show which Information Elements need to be
   reported by IPFIX to generate specific QoS metrics.  As an
   alternative, the metrics can be generated directly at the exporter
   and IPFIX can be used to export the metrics (see Section 2.7).

2.5.2.1.  RTT Measurements with Packet Pair Matching (Single-Point)

   The passive measurement of round-trip time (RTT) can be performed by
   using packet pair matching techniques as described in [Brow00].  For
   the measurements, request/response packet pairs from protocols such

   as DNS, ICMP, SNMP or TCP (SYN/SYN_ACK, DATA/ACK) are utilized to
   passively observe the RTT [Brow00].  This technique requires the
   correlation of data from both directions.

   Required Information Elements per packet (DNS example):
   - Packet arrival time: observationTimeMicroseconds [RFC5477]
   - DNS header: ipPayloadPacketSection [RFC5477]

   Required functions:
   - Recognition of request/response packet pairs

   Remarks:
   - Requires Information Elements from [RFC5477].
   - observationTimeMicroseconds can be substituted by
     flowStartMicroseconds [RFC5102] because a single packet can be
     represented as a Flow.
   - If time values with a finer granularity are needed,
     observationTimeNanoseconds can be used.

2.5.2.2.  One-Way Delay Measurements (Multi-Point)

   Passive one-way delay measurements require the collection of data at
   two Observation Points.  As mentioned above, synchronized clocks are
   needed to avoid time-differences at the involved Observation Points.

   The recognition of packets at the second Observation Point can be
   based on parts of the packet content directly.  A more efficient way
   is to use a packet ID (generated from packet content).

   Required Information Elements per packet (with packet ID):
   - Packet arrival time: observationTimeMicroseconds [RFC5477]
   - Packet ID: digestHashValue [RFC5477]

   Required functions:
   - Packet ID generation
   - Delay calculation (from arrival times at the two Observation
     Points)

   Remarks:
   - Requires Information Elements from [RFC5477].
   - observationTimeMicroseconds can be substituted by
     flowStartMicroseconds [RFC5102], because a single packet can be
     represented as a Flow.
   - If time values with a finer granularity are needed,
     observationTimeNanoseconds can be used.

   - The amount of content used for ID generation influences the number
     of collisions (different packets that map to the same ID) that can
     occur.  Investigations on this and other considerations on packet
     ID generation can be found in [GrDM98], [DuGr00], and [ZsZC01].

2.6.  Inter-Domain Exchange of IPFIX Data

   IPFIX data can be used to share information with neighbor providers.
   A few recommendations should be considered if IPFIX records travel
   over the public Internet, compared to its usage within a single
   domain.  First of all, security threat levels are higher if data
   travels over the public Internet.  Protection against disclosure or
   manipulation of data is even more important than for intra-domain
   usage.  Therefore, Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Datagram
   Transport Layer Security should be used as described in [RFC5101].

   Furthermore, data transfer should be congestion-aware in order to
   allow untroubled coexistence with other data Flows in public or
   foreign networks.  That means transport over Stream Control
   Transmission Protocol (SCTP) or TCP is required.

   Some ISPs are still reluctant to share information due to concerns
   that competing ISPs might exploit network information from neighbor
   providers to strengthen their own position in the market.
   Nevertheless, technical needs have already triggered the exchange of
   data in the past (e.g., exchange of routing information by BGP).  The
   need to provide inter-domain guarantees is one big incentive to
   increase inter-domain cooperation.  The necessity to defend networks
   against current and future threats (denial-of-service attacks, worm
   distributions, etc.) will hopefully increase the willingness to
   exchange measurement data between providers.

2.7.  Export of Derived Metrics

   The IPFIX protocol is used to transport Flow and packet information
   to provide the input for the calculation of a variety of metrics
   (e.g., for QoS validation or attack detection).  IPFIX can also be
   used to transfer these metrics directly, e.g., if the metric
   calculation is co-located with the Metering and Exporting Processes.

   It doesn't matter which measurement and post-processing functions are
   applied to generate a specific metric.  IPFIX can be used to
   transport the results from passive and active measurements and from
   post-processing operations.  For the reporting of derived metrics,
   additional Information Elements need to be defined.

   For most QoS metrics like loss, delay, delay variation, etc.,
   standard IPPM definitions exist.  In case such metrics are reported
   with IPFIX, the IPPM standard definition should be used.

2.8.  Summary

   The following table shows an overview of the Information Elements
   required for the target applications described in [RFC3917]
   (M-mandatory, R-recommended, O-optional).

      | Application |  [RFC5102] |   [RFC5477]  | additional IEs  |
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+
      | Accounting  |     M      |      -       |       -         |
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+
      | Traffic     |     M      |      O       |       -         |
      | Profiling   |            |              |                 |
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+
      | Traffic     |     M      |      -       |       O         |
      | Engineering |            |              | (routing info)  |
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+
      | Attack      |     M      |      R       |       R         |
      | Detection   |            |              |(derived metrics)|
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+
      | QoS         |     M      |      M       |       O         |
      | Monitoring  |            |(most metrics)|(derived metrics)|
      +-------------+------------+--------------+-----------------+

   For accounting, the IEs in [RFC5102] are sufficient.  As mentioned
   above, IPFIX does not conform to the reliability requirements
   demanded by [RFC2975] for usage-based billing systems (see Section
   4.2).  For traffic profiling, additional IEs from [RFC5477] can be
   useful to gain more insight into the traffic.  For traffic
   engineering, Flow information from [RFC5102] is sufficient, but it
   would profit from routing information, which could be exported by
   IPFIX.  Attack detection usually profits from further insight into
   the traffic.  This can be achieved with IEs from [RFC5477].
   Furthermore, the reporting of derived metrics in additional IEs would
   be useful.  Most QoS metrics require the use of IEs from [RFC5477].
   IEs from [RFC5477] are also useful for the mapping of results from
   different Observation Points as described in Section 2.5.1.

3.  Relation of IPFIX to Other Frameworks and Protocols

3.1.  IPFIX and IPv6

   From the beginning, IPFIX has been designed for IPv4 and IPv6.
   Therefore, IPFIX can be used in IPv4 and IPv6 networks without
   limitations.  The usage of IPFIX in IPv6 networks has two aspects:

   - Generation and reporting of IPFIX records about IPv6 traffic
   - Exporting IPFIX records over IPv6

   The generation and reporting of IPFIX records about IPv6 traffic is
   possible.  Appropriate Information Elements for the reporting of IPv6
   traffic are defined in [RFC5102].  Exporting IPFIX records over IPv6
   is not explicitly addressed in [RFC5101].  Since IPFIX runs over a
   transport protocol (SCTP, PR-SCTP, UDP, or TCP) and all potential
   IPFIX transport protocols can run in IPv6 networks, one just needs to
   provide the chosen transport protocol in the IPv6 network to run
   IPFIX over IPv6.

3.2.  IPFIX and PSAMP

   PSAMP defines packet selection methods, their configuration at
   routers and probes, and the reporting of packet information.

   PSAMP uses IPFIX as a basis for exporting packet information
   [RFC5476].  [RFC5477] describes further Information Elements for
   exporting packet information and reporting configuration information.

   The main difference between IPFIX and PSAMP is that IPFIX addresses
   the export of Flow Records, whereas PSAMP addresses the export of
   packet records.  Furthermore, PSAMP explicitly addresses remote
   configuration.  It defines a MIB for the configuration of packet
   selection processes.  Remote configuration is not (yet) addressed in
   IPFIX, but one could consider extending the PSAMP MIB to also allow
   configuration of IPFIX processes.

3.3.  IPFIX and RMON

   Remote Monitoring (RMON) [RFC3577] is a widely used monitoring system
   that gathers traffic data from RMON Agents in network devices.  One
   major difference between RMON and IPFIX is that RMON uses SNMP for
   data export, whereas IPFIX defines its own push-oriented protocol.
   RMON defines MIBs that contain the information to be exported.  In
   IPFIX, the data to be exported is defined as Information Elements.

   The most relevant MIBs for comparison with IPFIX are the Application
   Performance Measurement MIB (APM-MIB) [RFC3729] and the Transport
   Performance Metrics MIB (TPM-MIB) [RFC4150].  The APM-MIB has a
   complex system for tracking user application performance, with
   reporting about transactions and SLA threshold notification-trigger
   configuration, and persistence across DHCP lease expirations.  It
   requires a full RMON2-MIB protocolDirTable implementation.

   The APM-MIB reports the performance of transactions.  A transaction
   is a service-oriented term and describes the data exchange from the
   transaction start (when a user requests a service) until its
   completion.  The performance parameters include response times,
   throughput, streaming responsiveness, and availability of services.

   The RMON transaction concept differs from the IPFIX Flow concept.  A
   Flow is a very generic term that allows one to group IP packets in
   accordance with common properties.  In contrast to this, the term
   transaction is service-oriented and contains all data exchange
   required for service completion.

   In order to report such data with IPFIX, one would probably need a
   specific combination of multiple Flows and the ability to map those
   to the transaction.  Due to the service-oriented focus of APM, the
   required metrics also differ.  For instance, the RMON APM requires a
   metric for the responsiveness of services.  Such metrics are not
   addressed in IPFIX.

   Furthermore, the APM-MIB allows the configuration of the transaction
   type to be monitored, which is currently not addressed in IPFIX.

   The APM MIB could be considered as an extension of the IPFIX Metering
   Process where the application performance of a combination of
   multiple Flows is measured.  If appropriate, IEs would be defined in
   the IPFIX information model and the IPFIX Device would support the
   APM MIB data collection, the solutions could be complementary.  That
   means one could use IPFIX to export APM MIB transaction information.

   The TPM-MIB breaks out the APM-MIB transactions into sub-application
   level transactions.  For instance, a web request is broken down into
   DNS, TCP, and HTTP sub-transactions.  Such sub-transactions can be
   considered as bidirectional Flows.  With an appropriate Flow
   definition and the ability to map both directions of a Flow (see
   Section 4.6), one could measure and report Flow characteristics of
   such sub-application level transaction with IPFIX.

   The TPM-MIB requires APM-MIB and RMON2-MIB.

3.4.  IPFIX and IPPM

   The IPFIX protocol can be used to carry IPPM network performance
   metrics or information that can be used to calculate those metrics
   (see Sections 2.5 and 2.7 for details and references).

3.5.  IPFIX and AAA

   AAA defines a protocol and architecture for authentication,
   authorization, and accounting for service usage [RFC2903].  The
   DIAMETER protocol [RFC3588] is used for AAA communication, which is
   needed for network access services (Mobile IP, NASREQ, and ROAMOPS).
   The AAA architecture [RFC2903] provides a framework for extending AAA
   support to other services.  DIAMETER defines the exchange of messages
   between AAA entities, e.g., between AAA clients at access devices and
   AAA servers, and among AAA servers.  DIAMETER is used for the
   transfer of accounting records.  In order to form accounting records
   for usage-based accounting measurement, data from the network is
   required.  IPFIX defines a protocol to export such data from routers,
   measurement probes, and other devices.  Therefore, it looks promising
   to connect those two architectures.

   For all scenarios described here, one has to keep in mind that IPFIX
   does not conform to the reliability requirements for usage-based
   billing described in [RFC2975] (see Section 4.2).  Using IPFIX
   without reliability extensions together with AAA would result in
   accounting scenarios that do not conform to usage-based billing
   requirements described in [RFC2975].

   As shown in Section 2.1, accounting applications can directly
   incorporate an IPFIX Collecting Process to receive IPFIX records with
   information about the transmitted volume.  Nevertheless, if a AAA
   infrastructure is in place, the cooperation between IPFIX and AAA
   provides many valuable synergistic benefits.  IPFIX records can
   provide the input for AAA accounting functions and provide the basis
   for the generation of DIAMETER accounting records.  However, as
   stated in Section 4.2, the use of IPFIX as described in [RFC5101] is
   currently limited to situations where the purpose of the accounting
   does not require reliability.

   Further potential features include the mapping of a user ID to Flow
   information (by using authentication information) or using the secure
   authorized exchange of DIAMETER accounting records with neighbor
   domains.  The last feature is especially useful in roaming scenarios
   where the user connects to a foreign network and the home provider
   generates the invoice.

   Coupling an IPFIX Collecting Process with AAA functions also has high
   potential for intrusion and attack detection.  AAA controls network
   access and maintains data about users and nodes.  AAA functions can
   help to identify the source of malicious traffic.  Authorization
   functions are able to deny access to suspicious users or nodes.
   Therefore, coupling those functions with an IPFIX Collecting Process
   can provide an efficient defense against network attacks.

   Sharing IPFIX records (either directly or encapsulated in DIAMETER)
   with neighbor providers allows an efficient inter-domain attack
   detection.  For this, it would be useful to allow remote
   configuration of measurement and record generation in order to
   provide information in the required granularity and accuracy.  Since
   remote configuration is currently not addressed in IPFIX, this would
   require additional work.  The AAA infrastructure itself may be used
   to configure measurement functions in the network as proposed in
   [RFC3334].

   Furthermore, the transport of IPFIX records with DIAMETER would
   require the translation of IPFIX Information Elements into DIAMETER
   attribute value pairs (AVPs) defined in [RFC3588].  Since the
   DIAMETER AVPs do not comprise all IPFIX Information Elements, it is
   necessary to define new AVPs to transport them over DIAMETER.

   Two possibilities exist to connect IPFIX and AAA:

   - Connecting via a AAA Client
   - Connecting via an Application Specific Module (ASM)

   Both are explained in the following sections.  The approaches only
   require a few additional functions.  They do not require any changes
   to IPFIX or DIAMETER.

3.5.1.  Connecting via a AAA Client

   One possibility of connecting IPFIX and AAA is to run a AAA client on
   the IPFIX Collector.  This client can generate DIAMETER accounting
   messages and send them to a AAA server.  The mapping of the Flow
   information to a user ID can be done in the AAA server by using data
   from the authentication process.  DIAMETER accounting messages can be
   sent to the accounting application or to other AAA servers (e.g., in
   roaming scenarios).

                    +---------+  DIAMETER    +---------+
                    |  AAA-S  |------------->|  AAA-S  |
                    +---------+              +---------+
                         ^
                         | DIAMETER
                         |
                         |
                  +--+--------+--+
                  |  |  AAA-C |  |
                  +  +--------+  |
                  |              |
                  |  Collector   |
                  +--------------+
                         ^
                         | IPFIX
                         |
                   +------------+
                   |  Exporter  |
                   +------------+

      Figure 1: IPFIX Collector connects to AAA server via AAA client

3.5.2.  Connecting via an Application Specific Module (ASM)

   Another possibility is to directly connect the IPFIX Collector with
   the AAA server via an application specific module (ASM).  Application
   specific modules have been proposed by the IRTF AAA architecture
   research group (AAARCH) in [RFC2903].  They act as an interface
   between AAA server and service equipment.  In this case, the IPFIX
   Collector is part of the ASM.  The ASM acts as an interface between
   the IPFIX protocol and the input interface of the AAA server.  The
   ASM translates the received IPFIX data into an appropriate format for
   the AAA server.  The AAA server then can add information about the
   user ID and generate a DIAMETER accounting record.  This accounting
   record can be sent to an accounting application or to other AAA
   servers.

                       +---------+  DIAMETER    +---------+
                       |  AAA-S  |------------->|  AAA-S  |
                       +---------+              +---------+
                            ^
                            |
                    +------------------+
                    |     ASM          |
                    |  +------------+  |
                    |  |  Collector |  |
                    +------------------+
                            ^
                            | IPFIX
                            |
                      +------------+
                      |  Exporter  |
                      +------------+

            Figure 2: IPFIX connects to AAA server via ASM

3.6.  IPFIX and RTFM

   The Realtime Traffic Flow Measurement (RTFM) working group defined an
   architecture for Flow measurement [RFC2722].  This section compares
   the RTFM framework with the IPFIX framework.

3.6.1.  Architecture

   The RTFM architecture [RFC2722] is very similar to the IPFIX
   architecture.  It defines meter, meter reader, and a manager as
   building blocks of the measurement architecture.  The manager
   configures the meter, and the meter reader collects data from the
   meter.  In RTFM, the building blocks communicate via SNMP.

   The IPFIX architecture [RFC5470] defines Metering, Exporting, and
   Collecting Processes.  IPFIX speaks about processes instead of
   devices to clarify that multiple of those processes may be co-located
   on the same machine.

   These definitions do not contradict each other.  One could see the
   Metering Process as part of the meter, and the Collecting Process as
   part of the meter reader.

   One difference is that IPFIX currently does not define a managing
   process because remote configuration was (at least initially) out of
   scope for the working group.

3.6.2.  Flow Definition

   RTFM and IPFIX both consider Flows as a group of packets that share a
   common set of properties.  A Flow is completely specified by that set
   of values, together with a termination criterion (like inactivity
   timeout).

   A difference is that RTFM defines Flows as bidirectional.  An RTFM
   meter matches packets from B to A and A to B as separate parts of a
   single Flow, and it maintains two sets of packet and byte counters,
   one for each direction.

   IPFIX does not explicitly state whether Flows are uni- or
   bidirectional.  Nevertheless, Information Elements for describing
   Flow properties were defined for only one direction in [RFC5102].
   There are several solutions for reporting bidirectional Flow
   information (see Section 4.6).

3.6.3.  Configuration and Management

   In RTFM, remote configuration is the only way to configure a meter.
   This is done by using SNMP and a specific Meter MIB [RFC2720].  The
   IPFIX group currently does not address IPFIX remote configuration.

   IPFIX Metering Processes export the layout of data within their
   Templates, from time to time.  IPFIX Collecting Processes use that
   Template information to determine how they should interpret the IPFIX
   Flow data they receive.

3.6.4.  Data Collection

   One major difference between IPFIX and RTFM is the data collection
   model.  RTFM retrieves data in pull mode, whereas IPFIX uses a push
   mode model to send data to Collecting Processes.

   An RTFM meter reader pulls data from a meter by using SNMP.  SNMP
   security on the meter determines whether a reader is allowed to pull
   data from it.  An IPFIX Exporting Process is configured to export
   records to a specified list of IPFIX Collecting Processes.  The
   condition of when to send IPFIX records (e.g., Flow termination) has
   to be configured in the Exporting or Metering Process.

3.6.5.  Data Model Details

   RTFM defines all its attributes in the RTFM Meter MIB [RFC2720].
   IPFIX Information Elements are defined in [RFC5102].

   RTFM uses continuously-incrementing 64-bit counters for the storage
   of the number of packets of a Flow.  The counters are never reset and
   just wrap back to zero if the maximum value is exceeded.  Flows can
   be read at any time.  The difference between counter readings gives
   the counts for activity in the interval between readings.

   IPFIX allows absolute (totalCounter) and relative counters
   (deltaCounter) [RFC5102].  The totalCounter is never reset and just
   wraps to zero if values are too large, exactly as the counters used
   in RTFM.  The deltaCounter is reset to zero when the associated Flow
   Record is exported.

3.6.6.  Transport Protocol

   RTFM has a Standards-Track Meter MIB [RFC2720], which is used both to
   configure a meter and to store metering results.  The MIB provides a
   way to read lists of attributes with a single Object Identifier
   (called a 'package'), which reduces the SNMP overhead for Flow data
   collection.  SNMP, of course, normally uses UDP as its transport
   protocol.  Since RTFM requires a reliable Flow data transport system,
   an RTFM meter reader must time out and resend unanswered SNMP
   requests.  Apart from being clumsy, this can limit the maximum data
   transfer rate from meter to meter reader.

   IPFIX is designed to work over a variety of different transport
   protocols.  SCTP [RFC4960] and PR-SCTP [RFC3758] are mandatory.  UDP
   and TCP are optional.  In addition, the IPFIX protocol encodes data
   much more efficiently than SNMP does, hence IPFIX has lower data
   transport overheads than RTFM.

3.6.7.  Summary

   IPFIX exports Flow information in a push model by using SCTP, TCP, or
   UDP.  It currently does not address remote configuration.  RTFM data
   collection is using the pull model and runs over SNMP.  RTFM

   addresses remote configuration, which also runs over SNMP.  Both
   frameworks allow a very flexible Flow definition, although RTFM is
   based on a bidirectional Flow definition.

4.  Limitations

   The goal of this section is to show the limitations of IPFIX and to
   give advice where not to use IPFIX or in which cases additional
   considerations are required.

4.1.  Using IPFIX for Other Applications than Listed in RFC 3917

   IPFIX provides a generic export mechanism.  Due to its Template-based
   structure, it is a quite flexible protocol.  Network operators and
   users may want to use it for other applications than those described
   in [RFC3917].

   Apart from sending raw Flow information, it can be used to send per-
   packet data, aggregated or post-processed data.  For this, new
   Templates and Information Elements can be defined if needed.  Due to
   its push mode operation, IPFIX is also suited to send network
   initiated events like alarms and other notifications.  It can be used
   for exchanging information among network nodes to autonomously
   improve network operation.

   Nevertheless, the IPFIX design is based on the requirements that
   originate only from the target applications stated in [RFC3917].
   Using IPFIX for other purposes requires a careful checking of IPFIX
   capabilities against application requirements.  Only with this, one
   can decide whether IPFIX is a suitable protocol to meet the needs of
   a specific application.

4.2.  Using IPFIX for Billing (Reliability Limitations)

   The reliability requirements defined in [RFC3917] are not sufficient
   to guarantee the level of reliability that is needed for usage-based
   billing systems as described in [RFC2975].  In particular, IPFIX does
   not support the following features required by [RFC2975]:

   - Record loss: IPFIX allows the usage of different transport
     protocols for the transfer of data records.  Resilience against the
     loss of IPFIX data records can be only provided if TCP or SCTP is
     used for the transfer of data records.

   - Network or device failures: IPFIX does allow the usage of multiple
     Collectors for one Exporter, but it neither specifies nor demands
     the use of multiple Collectors for the provisioning of fault
     tolerance.

   - Detection and elimination of duplicate records: This is currently
     not supported by IPFIX.

   - Application layer acknowledgements: IPFIX does not support the
     control of measurement and Exporting Processes by higher-level
     applications.  Application layer acknowledgements are necessary,
     e.g., to inform the Exporter in case the application is not able to
     process the data exported with IPFIX.  Such acknowledgements are
     not supported in IPFIX.

   Further features like archival accounting and pre-authorization are
   out of scope of the IPFIX specification but need to be realized in
   billing system architectures as described in [RFC2975].

4.3.  Using a Different Transport Protocol than SCTP

   SCTP is the preferred protocol for IPFIX, i.e., a conforming
   implementation must work over SCTP.  Although IPFIX can also work
   over TCP or UDP, both protocols have drawbacks [RFC5101].  Users
   should make sure they have good reasons before using protocols other
   than SCTP in a specific environment.

4.4.  Push vs. Pull Mode

   IPFIX works in push mode.  That means IPFIX records are automatically
   exported without the need to wait for a request.  The responsibility
   for initiating a data export lies with the Exporting Process.

   Criteria for exporting data need to be configured at the Exporting
   Process.  Therefore, push mode has more benefits if the trigger for
   data export is related to events at the Exporting Process (e.g., Flow
   termination, memory shortage due to large amount of Flows, etc.).  If
   the protocol used pull mode, the Exporting Process would need to wait
   for a request to send the data.  With push mode, it can send data
   immediately, e.g., before memory shortage would require a discarding
   of data.

   With push mode, one can prevent the overloading of resources at the
   Exporting Process by simply exporting the information as soon as
   certain thresholds are about to be exceeded.  Therefore, exporting
   criteria are often related to traffic characteristics (e.g., Flow
   timeout) or resource limitations (e.g., size of Flow cache).
   However, traffic characteristics are usually quite dynamic and often
   impossible to predict.  If they are used to trigger Flow export, the
   exporting rate and the resource consumption for Flow export becomes
   variable and unpredictable.

   Pull mode has advantages if the trigger for data export is related to
   events at the Collecting Process (e.g., a specific application
   requests immediate input).

   In a pull mode, a request could simply be forwarded to the Exporting
   Process.  In a push mode, the exporting configuration must be changed
   to trigger the export of the requested data.  Furthermore, with pull
   mode, one can prevent the overloading of the Collecting Process by
   the arrival of more records than it can process.

   Whether this is a relevant drawback depends on the flexibility of the
   IPFIX configuration and how IPFIX configuration rules are
   implemented.

4.5.  Template ID Number

   The IPFIX specification limits the different Template ID numbers that
   can be assigned to the newly generated Template records in an
   Observation Domain.  In particular, Template IDs up to 255 are
   reserved for Template or option sets (or other sets to be created)
   and Template IDs from 256 to 65535 are assigned to data sets.  In the
   case of many exports requiring many different Templates, the set of
   Template IDs could be exhausted.

4.6.  Exporting Bidirectional Flow Information

   Although IPFIX does not explicitly state that Flows are
   unidirectional, Information Elements that describe Flow
   characteristics are defined only for one direction in [RFC5102].
   [RFC5101] allows the reporting of multiple identical Information
   Elements in one Flow Record.  With this, Information Elements for
   forward and reverse directions can be reported in one Flow Record.

   However, this is not sufficient.  Using this feature for reporting
   bidirectional Flow information would require an agreement on the
   semantics of Information Elements (e.g., first counter is the counter
   for the forward direction, the second counter for the reverse
   direction).

   Another option is to use two adjacent Flow Records to report both
   directions of a bidirectional Flow separately.  This approach
   requires additional means for mapping those records and is quite
   inefficient due to the redundant reporting of Flow Keys.

4.7.  Remote Configuration

   Remote configuration was initially out of scope of the IPFIX working
   group in order to concentrate on the protocol specification.
   Therefore, there is currently no standardized way to configure IPFIX
   processes remotely.  Nevertheless, due to the broad need for this
   feature, it is quite likely that solutions for this will be
   standardized soon.

5.  Security Considerations

   This document describes the usage of IPFIX in various scenarios.
   Security requirements for IPFIX target applications and security
   considerations for IPFIX are addressed in [RFC3917] and [RFC5101].
   Those requirements have to be met for the usage of IPFIX for all
   scenarios described in this document.  To our current knowledge, the
   usage scenarios proposed in Section 2 do not induce further security
   hazards.

   The threat level to IPIFX itself may depend on the usage scenario of
   IPFIX.  The usage of IPFIX for accounting or attack detection may
   increase the incentive to attack IPFIX itself.  Nevertheless,
   security considerations have to be taken into account in all
   described scenarios.

   As described in the security considerations in [RFC5101], security
   incidents can become a threat to IPFIX processes themselves, even if
   IPIFX is not the target of the attack.  If an attack generates a
   large amount of Flows (e.g., by sending packets with spoofed
   addresses or simulating Flow termination), Exporting and Collecting
   Processes may get overloaded by the immense amount of records that
   are exported.  A flexible deployment of packet or Flow sampling
   methods can be useful to prevent the exhaustion of resources.

   Section 3 of this document describes how IPFIX can be used in
   combination with other technologies.  New security hazards can arise
   when two individually secure technologies or architectures are
   combined.  For the combination of AAA with IPFIX, an application
   specific module (ASM) or an IPFIX Collector can function as a transit
   point for the messages.  One has to ensure that at this point the
   applied security mechanisms (e.g., encryption of messages) are
   maintained.

6.  Acknowledgements

   We would like to thank the following people for their contributions,
   discussions on the mailing list, and valuable comments:

      Sebastian Zander
      Robert Loewe
      Reinaldo Penno
      Lutz Mark
      Andy Biermann

   Part of the work has been developed in the research project 6QM,
   co-funded with support from the European Commission.

7.  Normative References

   [RFC4148]  Stephan, E., "IP Performance Metrics (IPPM) Metrics
              Registry", BCP 108, RFC 4148, August 2005.

   [RFC5101]  Claise, B., Ed., "Specification of the IP Flow Information
              Export (IPFIX) Protocol for the Exchange of IP Traffic
              Flow Information", RFC 5101, January 2008.

   [RFC5102]  Quittek, J., Bryant, S., Claise, B., Aitken, P., and J.
              Meyer, "Information Model for IP Flow Information Export",
              RFC 5102, January 2008.

   [RFC5477]  Dietz, T., Claise, B., Aitken, P., Dressler, F., and G.
              Carle, "Information Model for Packet Sampling Exports",
              RFC 5477, March 2009.

8.  Informative References

   [Brow00]   Brownlee, N., "Packet Matching for NeTraMet
              Distributions", <http://www.caida.org/tools/measurement/
              netramet/packetmatching/>.

   [DuGr00]   Duffield, N. and M. Grossglauser, "Trajectory Sampling for
              Direct Traffic Observation", Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM
              2000, Stockholm, Sweden, August 28 - September 1, 2000.

   [GrDM98]   Graham, I., Donnelly, S., Martin, S., Martens, J., and J.
              Cleary, "Nonintrusive and Accurate Measurement of
              Unidirectional Delay and Delay Variation on the Internet",
              INET'98, Geneva, Switzerland, 21-24 July, 1998.

   [RFC2679]  Almes, G., Kalidindi, S., and M. Zekauskas, "A One-way
              Delay Metric for IPPM", RFC 2679, September 1999.

   [RFC2680]  Almes, G., Kalidindi, S., and M. Zekauskas, "A One-way
              Packet Loss Metric for IPPM", RFC 2680, September 1999.

   [RFC2681]  Almes, G., Kalidindi, S., and M. Zekauskas, "A Round-trip
              Delay Metric for IPPM", RFC 2681, September 1999.

   [RFC2702]  Awduche, D., Malcolm, J., Agogbua, J., O'Dell, M., and J.
              McManus, "Requirements for Traffic Engineering Over MPLS",
              RFC 2702, September 1999.

   [RFC2720]  Brownlee, N., "Traffic Flow Measurement: Meter MIB", RFC
              2720, October 1999.

   [RFC2722]  Brownlee, N., Mills, C., and G. Ruth, "Traffic Flow
              Measurement: Architecture", RFC 2722, October 1999.

   [RFC2903]  de Laat, C., Gross, G., Gommans, L., Vollbrecht, J., and
              D. Spence, "Generic AAA Architecture", RFC 2903, August
              2000.

   [RFC2975]  Aboba, B., Arkko, J., and D. Harrington, "Introduction to
              Accounting Management", RFC 2975, October 2000.

   [RFC3246]  Davie, B., Charny, A., Bennet, J., Benson, K., Le Boudec,
              J., Courtney, W., Davari, S., Firoiu, V., and D.
              Stiliadis, "An Expedited Forwarding PHB (Per-Hop
              Behavior)", RFC 3246, March 2002.

   [RFC3330]  IANA, "Special-Use IPv4 Addresses", RFC 3330, September
              2002.

   [RFC3334]  Zseby, T., Zander, S., and C. Carle, "Policy-Based
              Accounting", RFC 3334, October 2002.

   [RFC3393]  Demichelis, C. and P. Chimento, "IP Packet Delay Variation
              Metric for IP Performance Metrics (IPPM)", RFC 3393,
              November 2002.

   [RFC3577]  Waldbusser, S., Cole, R., Kalbfleisch, C., and D.
              Romascanu, "Introduction to the Remote Monitoring (RMON)
              Family of MIB Modules", RFC 3577, August 2003.

   [RFC3588]  Calhoun, P., Loughney, J., Guttman, E., Zorn, G., and J.
              Arkko, "Diameter Base Protocol", RFC 3588, September 2003.

   [RFC3729]  Waldbusser, S., "Application Performance Measurement MIB",
              RFC 3729, March 2004.

   [RFC3758]  Stewart, R., Ramalho, M., Xie, Q., Tuexen, M., and P.
              Conrad, "Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)
              Partial Reliability Extension", RFC 3758, May 2004.

   [RFC3917]  Quittek, J., Zseby, T., Claise, B., and S. Zander,
              "Requirements for IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX)", RFC
              3917, October 2004.

   [RFC4150]  Dietz, R. and R. Cole, "Transport Performance Metrics
              MIB", RFC 4150, August 2005.

   [RFC4960]  Stewart, R., Ed., "Stream Control Transmission Protocol",
              RFC 4960, September 2007.

   [RFC5470]  Sadasivan, G., Brownlee, N., Claise, B., and J. Quittek,
              "Architecture for IP Flow Information Export", RFC 5470,
              March 2009.

   [RFC5475]  Zseby, T., Molina, M., Duffield, N., Niccolini, S., and F.
              Raspall, "Sampling and Filtering Techniques for IP Packet
              Selection", RFC 5475, March 2009.

   [RFC5476]  Claise, B., Ed., "Packet Sampling (PSAMP) Protocol
              Specifications", RFC 5476, March 2009.

   [ZsZC01]   Zseby, T., Zander, S., and G. Carle, "Evaluation of
              Building Blocks for Passive One-way-delay Measurements",
              Proceedings of Passive and Active Measurement Workshop
              (PAM 2001), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 23-24, 2001

Authors' Addresses

   Tanja Zseby
   Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS)
   Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 31
   10589 Berlin, Germany
   Phone: +49 30 3463 7153
   EMail: tanja.zseby@fokus.fraunhofer.de

   Elisa Boschi
   Hitachi Europe
   c/o ETH Zurich
   Gloriastrasse 35
   8092 Zurich
   Switzerland
   Phone: +41 44 6327057
   EMail: elisa.boschi@hitachi-eu.com

   Nevil Brownlee
   CAIDA (UCSD/SDSC)
   9500 Gilman Drive
   La Jolla, CA 92093-0505
   Phone: +1 858 534 8338
   EMail: nevil@caida.org

   Benoit Claise
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   De Kleetlaan 6a b1
   1831 Diegem
   Belgium
   Phone: +32 2 704 5622
   EMail: bclaise@cisco.com

 

User Contributions:

Comment about this RFC, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA