The Network Management Research Group of the Internet Research Task Force got 20 years old, it was approved on March 14th, 1999. We had a short retrospective at the 104th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force in Prague today. It is interesting to reflect on which problems we made progress and which problems are still largely unsolved. We surely have much better network management technologies in place today compared to what we had 20 years back. If we, however, look at high level abstractions to express how a network should provide its services, we still seem to be searching for the holy grail.
There was a lot of work on policy-based network management in the late 1990s. Nowadays, we talk about technologies to express intent, but we likely still mean the same. Network monitoring is called telemetry today. Sure, we have better technology in place to stream and process monitoring data (but more data is not always better). Despite the new modern terms, the fundamental problems to be solved have not changed. We are still in the early stages of building large-scale networks that essentially can manage themself and that are able to adapt to changing workloads and which are robust again anomalies and attacks.