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ANTS: Network Services Without the Red Tape
April 1999 (vol. 32 no. 4)
pp. 42-48

How well distributed computing systems perform depends a great deal on the network services used to move information among their machines. Yet despite this close correspondence, network services have evolved much more slowly than any other part of the distributed system environment. It's not that the networking community lacks innovative ideas: Internet Protocol version 6, Mobile IP, IP Multicast, and Integrated/ Differentiated Services aim to support multimedia applications more effectively and to accommodate more hosts, many of them mobile. Unfortunately, progress in implementing these solutions lags far behind the identified need. The main problem is the way network protocols must change. First, network protocols are the main vehicle for achieving interoperability, so any candidate internetworking protocol has to become a standard. This means possibly years between the time someone identifies a need and the time everyone agrees on how to address it. Once the new protocol has been accepted, more delays occur because it has to be deployed manually and in a way that is compatible with the existing protocols. ANTS, a new approach to deploying network services, bases interoperability on a programmable network model, not on individual networking protocols. The promise is automatic protocol upgrades, which can hasten progress toward a more responsive Internet.

Citation:
David Wetherall, John Guttag, David Tennenhouse, "ANTS: Network Services Without the Red Tape," Computer, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 42-48, April 1999, doi:10.1109/2.755004
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