RFC 9378

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                 F. Brockners, Ed.
Request for Comments: 9378                                         Cisco
Category: Informational                                 S. Bhandari, Ed.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                              Thoughtspot
                                                              D. Bernier
                                                             Bell Canada
                                                         T. Mizrahi, Ed.
                                                              April 2023

In Situ Operations, Administration, and Maintenance (IOAM) Deployment


   In situ Operations, Administration, and Maintenance (IOAM) collects
   operational and telemetry information in the packet while the packet
   traverses a path between two points in the network.  This document
   provides a framework for IOAM deployment and provides IOAM deployment
   considerations and guidance.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are candidates for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Conventions
   3.  IOAM Deployment: Domains and Nodes
   4.  Types of IOAM
     4.1.  Per-Hop Tracing IOAM
     4.2.  Proof of Transit IOAM
     4.3.  E2E IOAM
     4.4.  Direct Export IOAM
   5.  IOAM Encapsulations
     5.1.  IPv6
     5.2.  NSH
     5.3.  BIER
     5.4.  GRE
     5.5.  Geneve
     5.6.  Segment Routing
     5.7.  Segment Routing for IPv6
     5.8.  VXLAN-GPE
   6.  IOAM Data Export
   7.  IOAM Deployment Considerations
     7.1.  IOAM-Namespaces
     7.2.  IOAM Layering
     7.3.  IOAM Trace Option-Types
     7.4.  Traffic-Sets That IOAM Is Applied To
     7.5.  Loopback Flag
     7.6.  Active Flag
     7.7.  Brown Field Deployments: IOAM-Unaware Nodes
   8.  IOAM Manageability
   9.  IANA Considerations
   10. Security Considerations
   11. Informative References

   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   In situ Operations, Administration, and Maintenance (IOAM) collects
   OAM information within the packet while the packet traverses a
   particular network domain.  The term "in situ" refers to the fact
   that the OAM data is added to the data packets rather than being sent
   within packets specifically dedicated to OAM.  IOAM complements
   mechanisms such as Ping, Traceroute, or other active probing
   mechanisms.  In terms of "active" or "passive" OAM, IOAM can be
   considered a hybrid OAM type.  In situ mechanisms do not require
   extra packets to be sent.  IOAM adds information to the already
   available data packets and, therefore, cannot be considered passive.
   In terms of the classification given in [RFC7799], IOAM could be
   portrayed as Hybrid Type I.  IOAM mechanisms can be leveraged where
   mechanisms using, e.g., ICMP do not apply or do not offer the desired
   results.  These situations could include:

   *  proving that a certain traffic flow takes a predefined path,

   *  verifying the Service Level Agreement (SLA) verification for the
      live data traffic,

   *  providing detailed statistics on traffic distribution paths in
      networks that distribute traffic across multiple paths, or

   *  providing scenarios in which probe traffic is potentially handled
      differently from regular data traffic by the network devices.

2.  Conventions

   Abbreviations used in this document:

   BIER:      Bit Index Explicit Replication [RFC8279]

   Geneve:    Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation [RFC8926]

   GRE:       Generic Routing Encapsulation [RFC2784]

   IOAM:      In situ Operations, Administration, and Maintenance

   MTU:       Maximum Transmission Unit

   NSH:       Network Service Header [RFC8300]

   OAM:       Operations, Administration, and Maintenance

   POT:       Proof of Transit

   VXLAN-GPE:  Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network - Generic Protocol
              Extension [VXLAN-GPE]

3.  IOAM Deployment: Domains and Nodes

   [RFC9197] defines the scope of IOAM as well as the different types of
   IOAM nodes.  For improved readability, this section provides a brief
   overview of where IOAM applies, along with explaining the main roles
   of nodes that employ IOAM.  Please refer to [RFC9197] for further

   IOAM is focused on "limited domains", as defined in [RFC8799].  IOAM
   is not targeted for a deployment on the global Internet.  The part of
   the network that employs IOAM is referred to as the "IOAM-Domain".
   For example, an IOAM-Domain can include an enterprise campus using
   physical connections between devices or an overlay network using
   virtual connections or tunnels for connectivity between said devices.
   An IOAM-Domain is defined by its perimeter or edge.  The operator of
   an IOAM-Domain is expected to put provisions in place to ensure that
   packets that contain IOAM data fields do not leak beyond the edge of
   an IOAM-Domain, e.g., using packet filtering methods.  The operator
   should consider the potential operational impact of IOAM on
   mechanisms such as ECMP load-balancing schemes (e.g., load-balancing
   schemes based on packet length could be impacted by the increased
   packet size due to IOAM), path MTU (i.e., ensure that the MTU of all
   links within a domain is sufficiently large enough to support the
   increased packet size due to IOAM), and ICMP message handling.

   An IOAM-Domain consists of "IOAM encapsulating nodes", "IOAM
   decapsulating nodes", and "IOAM transit nodes".  The role of a node
   (i.e., encapsulating, transit, decapsulating) is defined within an
   IOAM-Namespace (see below).  A node can have different roles in
   different IOAM-Namespaces.

   An IOAM encapsulating node incorporates one or more IOAM Option-Types
   into packets that IOAM is enabled for.  If IOAM is enabled for a
   selected subset of the traffic, the IOAM encapsulating node is
   responsible for applying the IOAM functionality to the selected

   An IOAM transit node updates one or more of the IOAM-Data-Fields.  If
   both the Pre-allocated and the Incremental Trace Option-Types are
   present in the packet, each IOAM transit node will update at most one
   of these Option-Types.  Note that in case both Trace Option-Types are
   present in a packet, it is up to the IOAM data processing systems
   (see Section 6) to integrate the data from the two Trace Option-Types
   to form a view of the entire journey of the packet.  A transit node
   does not add new IOAM Option-Types to a packet and does not change
   the IOAM-Data-Fields of an IOAM Edge-to-Edge (E2E) Option-Type.

   An IOAM decapsulating node removes any IOAM Option-Types from

   The role of an IOAM encapsulating, IOAM transit, or IOAM
   decapsulating node is always performed within a specific IOAM-
   Namespace.  This means that an IOAM node that is, e.g., an IOAM
   decapsulating node for IOAM-Namespace "A" but not for IOAM-Namespace
   "B" will only remove the IOAM Option-Types for IOAM-Namespace "A"
   from the packet.  An IOAM decapsulating node situated at the edge of
   an IOAM-Domain removes all IOAM Option-Types and associated
   encapsulation headers for all IOAM-Namespaces from the packet.

   IOAM-Namespaces allow for a namespace-specific definition and
   interpretation of IOAM-Data-Fields.  Please refer to Section 7.1 for
   a discussion of IOAM-Namespaces.

            Export of      Export of      Export of     Export of
            IOAM data      IOAM data      IOAM data     IOAM data
            (optional)     (optional)     (optional)     (optional)
                ^              ^              ^              ^
                |              |              |              |
                |              |              |              |
   User     +---+----+     +---+----+     +---+----+     +---+----+
   packets  |Encapsu-|     | Transit|     | Transit|     |Decapsu-|
   -------->|lating  |====>| Node   |====>| Node   |====>|lating  |-->
            |Node    |     | A      |     | B      |     |Node    |
            +--------+     +--------+     +--------+     +--------+

                       Figure 1: Roles of IOAM Nodes

   IOAM nodes that add or remove the IOAM-Data-Fields can also update
   the IOAM-Data-Fields at the same time.  Or, in other words, IOAM
   encapsulating or decapsulating nodes can also serve as IOAM transit
   nodes at the same time.  Note that not every node in an IOAM-Domain
   needs to be an IOAM transit node.  For example, a deployment might
   require that packets traverse a set of firewalls that support IOAM.
   In that case, only the set of firewall nodes would be IOAM transit
   nodes rather than all nodes.

4.  Types of IOAM

   IOAM supports different modes of operation.  These modes are
   differentiated by the type of IOAM data fields that are being carried
   in the packet, the data being collected, the type of nodes that
   collect or update data, and if and how nodes export IOAM information.

   Per-hop tracing:  OAM information about each IOAM node a packet
      traverses is collected and stored within the user data packet as
      the packet progresses through the IOAM-Domain.  Potential uses of
      IOAM per-hop tracing include:

      *  Understanding the different paths that different packets
         traverse between an IOAM encapsulating node and an IOAM
         decapsulating node in a network that uses load balancing, such
         as Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP).  This information could be
         used to tune the algorithm for ECMP for optimized network
         resource usage.

      *  With regard to operations and troubleshooting, understanding
         which path a particular packet or set of packets take as well
         as what amount of jitter and delay different IOAM nodes in the
         path contribute to the overall delay and jitter between the
         IOAM encapsulating node and the IOAM decapsulating node.

   Proof of Transit:  Information that a verifier node can use to verify
      whether a packet has traversed all nodes that it is supposed to
      traverse is stored within the user data packet.  For example,
      Proof of Transit could be used to verify that a packet indeed
      passes through all services of a service function chain (e.g.,
      verify whether a packet indeed traversed the set of firewalls that
      it is expected to traverse) or whether a packet indeed took the
      expected path.

   Edge-to-Edge (E2E):  OAM information that is specific to the edges of
      an IOAM-Domain is collected and stored within the user data
      packet.  E2E OAM could be used to gather operational information
      about a particular network domain, such as the delay and jitter
      incurred by that network domain or the traffic matrix of the
      network domain.

   Direct Export:  OAM information about each IOAM node a packet
      traverses is collected and immediately exported to a collector.
      Direct Export could be used in situations where per-hop tracing
      information is desired, but gathering the information within the
      packet -- as with per-hop tracing -- is not feasible.  Rather than
      automatically correlating the per-hop tracing information, as done
      with per-hop tracing, Direct Export requires a collector to
      correlate the information from the individual nodes.  In addition,
      all nodes enabled for Direct Export need to be capable of
      exporting the IOAM information to the collector.

4.1.  Per-Hop Tracing IOAM

   "IOAM tracing data" is expected to be collected at every IOAM transit
   node that a packet traverses to ensure visibility into the entire
   path that a packet takes within an IOAM-Domain.  In other words, in a
   typical deployment, all nodes in an IOAM-Domain would participate in
   IOAM and, thus, be IOAM transit nodes, IOAM encapsulating nodes, or
   IOAM decapsulating nodes.  If not all nodes within a domain are IOAM
   capable, IOAM tracing information (i.e., node data, see below) will
   only be collected on those nodes that are IOAM capable.  Nodes that
   are not IOAM capable will forward the packet without any changes to
   the IOAM-Data-Fields.  The maximum number of hops and the minimum
   path MTU of the IOAM-Domain are assumed to be known.

   IOAM offers two different Trace Option-Types: the "Incremental" Trace
   Option-Type and the "Pre-allocated" Trace Option-Type.  For a
   discussion about which of the two option types is the most suitable
   for an implementation and/or deployment, see Section 7.3.

   Every node data entry holds information for a particular IOAM transit
   node that is traversed by a packet.  The IOAM decapsulating node
   removes any IOAM Option-Types and processes and/or exports the
   associated data.  All IOAM-Data-Fields are defined in the context of
   an IOAM-Namespace.

   IOAM tracing can, for example, collect the following types of

   *  Identification of the IOAM node.  An IOAM node identifier can
      match to a device identifier or a particular control point or
      subsystem within a device.

   *  Identification of the interface that a packet was received on,
      i.e., ingress interface.

   *  Identification of the interface that a packet was sent out on,
      i.e., egress interface.

   *  Time of day when the packet was processed by the node as well as
      the transit delay.  Different definitions of processing time are
      feasible and expected, though it is important that all devices of
      an IOAM-Domain follow the same definition.

   *  Generic data, which is format-free information, where the syntax
      and semantics of the information are defined by the operator in a
      specific deployment.  For a specific IOAM-Namespace, all IOAM
      nodes should interpret the generic data the same way.  Examples
      for generic IOAM data include geolocation information (location of
      the node at the time the packet was processed), buffer queue fill
      level or cache fill level at the time the packet was processed, or
      even a battery charge level.

   *  Information to detect whether IOAM trace data was added at every
      hop or whether certain hops in the domain weren't IOAM transit

   *  Data that relates to how the packet traversed a node (transit
      delay, buffer occupancy in case the packet was buffered, and queue
      depth in case the packet was queued).

   The Incremental Trace Option-Type and Pre-allocated Trace Option-Type
   are defined in [RFC9197].

4.2.  Proof of Transit IOAM

   The IOAM Proof of Transit Option-Type is to support path or service
   function chain [RFC7665] verification use cases.  Proof of transit
   could use methods like nested hashing or nested encryption of the
   IOAM data.

   The IOAM Proof of Transit Option-Type consists of a fixed-size "IOAM
   Proof of Transit Option header" and "IOAM Proof of Transit Option
   data fields".  For details, see [RFC9197].

4.3.  E2E IOAM

   The IOAM E2E Option-Type is to carry the data that is added by the
   IOAM encapsulating node and interpreted by IOAM decapsulating node.
   The IOAM transit nodes may process the data but must not modify it.

   The IOAM E2E Option-Type consists of a fixed-size "IOAM Edge-to-Edge
   Option-Type header" and "IOAM Edge-to-Edge Option-Type data fields".
   For details, see [RFC9197].

4.4.  Direct Export IOAM

   Direct Export is an IOAM mode of operation within which IOAM data are
   to be directly exported to a collector rather than be collected
   within the data packets.  The IOAM Direct Export Option-Type consists
   of a fixed-size "IOAM direct export option header".  Direct Export
   for IOAM is defined in [RFC9326].

5.  IOAM Encapsulations

   IOAM data fields and associated data types for IOAM are defined in
   [RFC9197].  The IOAM data field can be transported by a variety of
   transport protocols, including NSH, Segment Routing, Geneve, BIER,
   IPv6, etc.

5.1.  IPv6

   IOAM encapsulation for IPv6 is defined in [IOAM-IPV6-OPTIONS], which
   also discusses IOAM deployment considerations for IPv6 networks.

5.2.  NSH

   IOAM encapsulation for NSH is defined in [IOAM-NSH].

5.3.  BIER

   IOAM encapsulation for BIER is defined in [BIER-IOAM].

5.4.  GRE

   IOAM encapsulation for GRE is outlined as part of the "EtherType
   Protocol Identification of In-situ OAM Data" in [IOAM-ETH].

5.5.  Geneve

   IOAM encapsulation for Geneve is defined in [IOAM-GENEVE].

5.6.  Segment Routing

   IOAM encapsulation for Segment Routing is defined in [MPLS-IOAM].

5.7.  Segment Routing for IPv6

   IOAM encapsulation for Segment Routing over IPv6 is defined in


   IOAM encapsulation for VXLAN-GPE is defined in [IOAM-VXLAN-GPE].

6.  IOAM Data Export

   IOAM nodes collect information for packets traversing a domain that
   supports IOAM.  IOAM decapsulating nodes, as well as IOAM transit
   nodes, can choose to retrieve IOAM information from the packet,
   process the information further, and export the information using,
   e.g., IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX).

   Raw data export of IOAM data using IPFIX is discussed in
   [IOAM-RAWEXPORT].  "Raw export of IOAM data" refers to a mode of
   operation where a node exports the IOAM data as it is received in the
   packet.  The exporting node does not interpret, aggregate, or
   reformat the IOAM data before it is exported.  Raw export of IOAM
   data is to support an operational model where the processing and
   interpretation of IOAM data is decoupled from the operation of
   encapsulating/updating/decapsulating IOAM data, which is also
   referred to as "IOAM data-plane operation".  Figure 2 shows the
   separation of concerns for IOAM export.  Exporting IOAM data is
   performed by the "IOAM node", which performs IOAM data-plane
   operation, whereas the interpretation of IOAM data is performed by
   one or several IOAM data processing systems.  The separation of
   concerns is to offload interpretation, aggregation, and formatting of
   IOAM data from the node that performs data-plane operations.  In
   other words, a node that is focused on data-plane operations, i.e.,
   forwarding of packets and handling IOAM data, will not be tasked to
   also interpret the IOAM data.  Instead, that node can leave this task
   to another system or a set of systems.  For scalability reasons, a
   single IOAM node could choose to export IOAM data to several systems
   that process IOAM data.  Similarly, several monitoring systems or
   analytics systems can be used to further process the data received
   from the IOAM preprocessing systems.  Figure 2 shows an overview of
   IOAM export, including IOAM data processing systems and monitoring
   and analytics systems.

                                +-------------+ |
                                | Monitoring/ | |
                                | Analytics   | |
                                | system(s)   |-+
                                       |  Processed/interpreted/
                                       |  aggregated IOAM data
                                +-------------+ |
                                | IOAM data   | |
                                | processing  | |
                                | system(s)   |-+
                                       |  Raw export of
                                       |  IOAM data
                |              |              |              |
                |              |              |              |
   User     +---+----+     +---+----+     +---+----+     +---+----+
   packets  |Encapsu-|     | Transit|     | Transit|     |Decapsu-|
   -------->|lating  |====>| Node   |====>| Node   |====>|lating  |-->
            |Node    |     | A      |     | B      |     |Node    |
            +--------+     +--------+     +--------+     +--------+

                 Figure 2: IOAM Framework with Data Export

7.  IOAM Deployment Considerations

   This section describes several concepts of IOAM and provides
   considerations that need to be taken into account when implementing
   IOAM in a network domain.  This includes concepts like IOAM-
   Namespaces, IOAM Layering, traffic-sets that IOAM is applied to, and
   IOAM Loopback.  For a definition of IOAM-Namespaces and IOAM
   Layering, please refer to [RFC9197].  IOAM Loopback is defined in

7.1.  IOAM-Namespaces

   IOAM-Namespaces add further context to IOAM Option-Types and
   associated IOAM-Data-Fields.  IOAM-Namespaces are defined in
   Section 4.3 of [RFC9197].  The Namespace-ID is part of the IOAM
   Option-Type definition.  See Section 4.4 of [RFC9197] for IOAM Trace
   Option-Types or Section 4.6 of [RFC9197] for the IOAM E2E Option-
   Type.  IOAM-Namespaces support several uses:

   *  IOAM-Namespaces can be used by an operator to distinguish between
      different operational domains.  Devices at domain edges can filter
      on Namespace-IDs to provide for proper IOAM-Domain isolation.

   *  IOAM-Namespaces provide additional context for IOAM-Data-Fields;
      thus, they ensure that IOAM-Data-Fields are unique and can be
      interpreted properly by management stations or network
      controllers.  While, for example, the node identifier field does
      not need to be unique in a deployment (e.g., an operator may wish
      to use different node identifiers for different IOAM layers, even
      within the same device; or node identifiers might not be unique
      for other organizational reasons, such as after a merger of two
      formerly separated organizations), the combination of node_id and
      Namespace-ID should always be unique.  Similarly, IOAM-Namespaces
      can be used to define how certain IOAM-Data-Fields are
      interpreted.  IOAM offers three different timestamp format
      options.  The Namespace-ID can be used to determine the timestamp
      format.  IOAM-Data-Fields (e.g., buffer occupancy) that do not
      have a unit associated are to be interpreted within the context of
      an IOAM-Namespace.  The Namespace-ID could also be used to
      distinguish between different types of interfaces.  An interface-
      id could, for example, point to a physical interface (e.g., to
      understand which physical interface of an aggregated link is used
      when receiving or transmitting a packet).  Whereas, in another
      case, an interface-id could refer to a logical interface (e.g., in
      case of tunnels).  Namespace-IDs could be used to distinguish
      between the different types of interfaces.

   *  IOAM-Namespaces can be used to identify different sets of devices
      (e.g., different types of devices) in a deployment.  If an
      operator desires to insert different IOAM-Data-Fields based on the
      device, the devices could be grouped into multiple IOAM-
      Namespaces.  This could be due to the fact that the IOAM feature
      set differs between different sets of devices, or it could be for
      reasons of optimized space usage in the packet header.  It could
      also stem from hardware or operational limitations on the size of
      the trace data that can be added and processed, preventing
      collection of a full trace for a flow.

      -  Assigning different IOAM Namespace-IDs to different sets of
         nodes or network partitions and using the Namespace-ID as a
         selector at the IOAM encapsulating node, a full trace for a
         flow could be collected and constructed via partial traces in
         different packets of the same flow.  For example, an operator
         could choose to group the devices of a domain into two IOAM-
         Namespaces in a way that, on average, only every second hop
         would be recorded by any device.  To retrieve a full view of
         the deployment, the captured IOAM-Data-Fields of the two IOAM-
         Namespaces need to be correlated.

      -  Assigning different IOAM Namespace-IDs to different sets of
         nodes or network partitions and using a separate instance of an
         IOAM Option-Type for each Namespace-ID, a full trace for a flow
         could be collected and constructed via partial traces from each
         IOAM Option-Type in each of the packets in the flow.  For
         example, an operator could choose to group the devices of a
         domain into two IOAM-Namespaces in a way that each IOAM-
         Namespace is represented by one of two IOAM Option-Types in the
         packet.  Each node would record data only for the IOAM-
         Namespace that it belongs to, ignoring the other IOAM Option-
         Type with an IOAM-Namespace it doesn't belong to.  To retrieve
         a full view of the deployment, the captured IOAM-Data-Fields of
         the two IOAM-Namespaces need to be correlated.

7.2.  IOAM Layering

   If several encapsulation protocols (e.g., in case of tunneling) are
   stacked on top of each other, IOAM-Data-Fields could be present in
   different protocol fields at different layers.  Layering allows
   operators to instrument the protocol layer they want to measure.  The
   behavior follows the ships-in-the-night model, i.e., IOAM-Data-Fields
   in one layer are independent of IOAM-Data-Fields in another layer.
   Or in other words, even though the term "layering" often implies
   there is some form of hierarchy and relationship, in IOAM, layers are
   independent of each other and don't assume any relationship among
   them.  The different layers could, but do not have to, share the same
   IOAM encapsulation mechanisms.  Similarly, the semantics of the IOAM-
   Data-Fields can, but do not have to, be associated to cross different
   layers.  For example, a node that inserts node-id information into
   two different layers could use "node-id=10" for one layer and "node-
   id=1000" for the second layer.

   Figure 3 shows an example of IOAM Layering.  The figure shows a
   Geneve tunnel carried over IPv6, which starts at node A and ends at
   node D.  IOAM information is encapsulated in IPv6 as well as in
   Geneve.  At the IPv6 layer, node A is the IOAM encapsulating node
   (into IPv6), node D is the IOAM decapsulating node, and nodes B and C
   are IOAM transit nodes.  At the Geneve layer, node A is the IOAM
   encapsulating node (into Geneve), and node D is the IOAM
   decapsulating node (from Geneve).  The use of IOAM at both layers, as
   shown in the example here, could be used to reveal which nodes of an
   underlay (here the IPv6 network) are traversed by a tunneled packet
   in an overlay (here the Geneve network) -- which assumes that the
   IOAM information encapsulated by nodes A and D into Geneve and IPv6
   is associated to each other.

            +---+----+                                   +---+----+
   User     |Geneve  |                                   |Geneve  |
   packets  |Encapsu-|                                   |Decapsu-|
   -------->|lating  |==================================>|lating  |-->
            |  Node  |                                   |  Node  |
            |   A    |                                   |   D    |
            +--------+                                   +--------+
                ^                                            ^
                |                                            |
                v                                            v
            +--------+     +--------+     +--------+     +--------+
            |IPv6    |     | IPv6   |     | IPv6   |     |IPv6    |
            |Encapsu-|     | Transit|     | Transit|     |Decapsu-|
            |lating  |====>|  Node  |====>|  Node  |====>|lating  |
            |  Node  |     |        |     |        |     |  Node  |
            |   A    |     |   B    |     |   C    |     |   D    |
            +--------+     +--------+     +--------+     +--------+

                      Figure 3: IOAM Layering Example

7.3.  IOAM Trace Option-Types

   IOAM offers two different IOAM Option-Types for tracing:
   "Incremental" Trace Option-Type and "Pre-allocated" Trace Option-
   Type.  "Incremental" refers to a mode of operation where the packet
   is expanded at every IOAM node that adds IOAM-Data-Fields.  "Pre-
   allocated" describes a mode of operation where the IOAM encapsulating
   node allocates room for all IOAM-Data-Fields in the entire IOAM-
   Domain.  More specifically:

   Pre-allocated Trace Option:  This trace option is defined as a
      container of node data fields with pre-allocated space for each
      node to populate its information.  This option is useful for
      implementations where it is efficient to allocate the space once
      and index into the array to populate the data during transit
      (e.g., software forwarders often fall into this class).

   Incremental Trace Option:  This trace option is defined as a
      container of node data fields where each node allocates and pushes
      its node data immediately following the option header.

   Which IOAM Trace Option-Types can be supported is not only a function
   of operator-defined configuration but may also be limited by protocol
   constraints unique to a given encapsulating protocol.  For
   encapsulating protocols that support both IOAM Trace Option-Types,
   the operator decides, by means of configuration, which Trace Option-
   Type(s) will be used for a particular domain.  In this case,
   deployments can mix devices that include either the Incremental Trace
   Option-Type or the Pre-allocated Trace Option-Type.  For example, if
   different types of packet forwarders and associated different types
   of IOAM implementations exist in a deployment and the encapsulating
   protocol supports both IOAM Trace Option-Types, a deployment can mix
   devices that include either the Incremental Trace Option-Type or the
   Pre-allocated Trace Option-Type.  As a result, both Option-Types can
   be present in a packet.  IOAM decapsulating nodes remove both types
   of Trace Option-Types from the packet.

   The two different Option-Types cater to different packet-forwarding
   infrastructures and allow an optimized implementation of IOAM

   Pre-allocated Trace Option:  For some implementations of packet
      forwarders, it is efficient to allocate the space for the maximum
      number of nodes that IOAM Trace Data-Fields should be collected
      from and insert/update information in the packet at flexible
      locations based on a pointer retrieved from a field in the packet.
      The IOAM encapsulating node allocates an array of the size of the
      maximum number of nodes that IOAM Trace Data-Fields should be
      collected from.  IOAM transit nodes index into the array to
      populate the data during transit.  Software forwarders often fall
      into this class of packet-forwarder implementations.  The maximum
      number of nodes that IOAM information could be collected from is
      configured by the operator on the IOAM encapsulating node.  The
      operator has to ensure that the packet with the pre-allocated
      array that carries the IOAM Data-Fields does not exceed the MTU of
      any of the links in the IOAM-Domain.

   Incremental Trace Option:  Looking up a pointer contained in the
      packet and inserting/updating information at a flexible location
      in the packet as a result of the pointer lookup is costly for some
      forwarding infrastructures.  Hardware-based packet-forwarding
      infrastructures often fall into this category.  Consequently,
      hardware-based packet forwarders could choose to support the IOAM
      Incremental Trace Option-Type.  The IOAM Incremental Trace Option-
      Type eliminates the need for the IOAM transit nodes to read the
      full array in the Trace Option-Type and allows packets to grow to
      the size of the MTU of the IOAM-Domain.  IOAM transit nodes will
      expand the packet and insert the IOAM-Data-Fields as long as there
      is space available in the packet, i.e., as long as the size of the
      packet stays within the bounds of the MTU of the links in the
      IOAM-Domain.  There is no need for the operator to configure the
      IOAM encapsulation node with the maximum number of nodes that IOAM
      information could be collected from.  The operator has to ensure
      that the minimum MTU of the links in the IOAM-Domain is known to
      all IOAM transit nodes.

7.4.  Traffic-Sets That IOAM Is Applied To

   IOAM can be deployed on all or only on subsets of the live user
   traffic, e.g., per interface, based on an access control list or flow
   specification defining a specific set of traffic, etc.

7.5.  Loopback Flag

   IOAM Loopback is used to trigger each transit device along the path
   of a packet to send a copy of the data packet back to the source.
   Loopback allows an IOAM encapsulating node to trace the path to a
   given destination and to receive per-hop data about both the forward
   and the return path.  Loopback is enabled by the encapsulating node
   setting the Loopback flag.  Looped-back packets use the source
   address of the original packet as a destination address and the
   address of the node that performs the Loopback operation as source
   address.  Nodes that loop back a packet clear the Loopback flag
   before sending the copy back towards the source.  Loopack applies to
   IOAM deployments where the encapsulating node is either a host or the
   start of a tunnel.  For details on IOAM Loopback, please refer to

7.6.  Active Flag

   The Active flag indicates that a packet is an active OAM packet as
   opposed to regular user data traffic.  Active flag is expected to be
   used for active measurement using IOAM.  For details on the Active
   flag, please refer to [RFC9322].

   Example use cases for the Active flag include:

   Endpoint detailed active measurement:  Synthetic probe packets are
      sent between the source and destination.  These probe packets
      include a Trace Option-Type (i.e., either incremental or pre-
      allocated).  Since the probe packets are sent between the
      endpoints, these packets are treated as data packets by the IOAM-
      Domain and do not require special treatment at the IOAM layer.
      The source, which is also the IOAM encapsulating node, can choose
      to set the Active flag, providing an explicit indication that
      these probe packets are meant for telemetry collection.

   IOAM active measurement using probe packets:  Probe packets are
      generated and transmitted by an IOAM encapsulating node towards a
      destination that is also the IOAM decapsulating node.  Probe
      packets include a Trace Option-Type (i.e., either incremental or
      pre-allocated) that has its Active flag set.

   IOAM active measurement using replicated data packets:  Probe packets
      are created by an IOAM encapsulating node by selecting some or all
      of the en route data packets and replicating them.  A selected
      data packet that is replicated and its (possibly truncated) copy
      are forwarded with one or more IOAM options, while the original
      packet is forwarded, normally, without IOAM options.  To the
      extent possible, the original data packet and its replica are
      forwarded through the same path.  The replica includes a Trace
      Option-Type that has its Active flag set, indicating that the IOAM
      decapsulating node should terminate it.  In this case, the IOAM
      Active flag ensures that the replicated traffic is not forwarded
      beyond the IOAM-Domain.

7.7.  Brown Field Deployments: IOAM-Unaware Nodes

   A network can consist of a mix of IOAM-aware and IOAM-unaware nodes.
   The encapsulation of IOAM-Data-Fields into different protocols (see
   also Section 5) are defined such that data packets that include IOAM-
   Data-Fields do not get dropped by IOAM-unaware nodes.  For example,
   packets that contain the IOAM Trace Option-Types in IPv6 Hop-by-Hop
   extension headers are defined with bits to indicate "00 - skip over
   this option and continue processing the header".  This will ensure
   that when an IOAM-unaware node receives a packet with IOAM-Data-
   Fields included, it does not drop the packet.

   Deployments that leverage the IOAM Trace Option-Type(s) could benefit
   from the ability to detect the presence of IOAM-unaware nodes, i.e.,
   nodes that forward the packet but do not update or add IOAM-Data-
   Fields in IOAM Trace Option-Types.  The node data that is defined as
   part of the IOAM Trace Option-Type(s) includes a Hop_Lim field
   associated to the node identifier to detect missed nodes, i.e.,
   "holes" in the trace.  Monitoring/Analytics systems could utilize
   this information to account for the presence of IOAM-unaware nodes in
   the network.

8.  IOAM Manageability

   The YANG model for configuring IOAM in network nodes that support
   IOAM is defined in [IOAM-YANG].

   A deployment can leverage IOAM profiles to limit the scope of IOAM
   features, allowing simpler implementation, verification, and
   interoperability testing in the context of specific use cases that do
   not require the full functionality of IOAM.  An IOAM profile defines
   a use case or a set of use cases for IOAM and an associated set of
   rules that restrict the scope and features of the IOAM specification,
   thereby limiting it to a subset of the full functionality.  IOAM
   profiles are defined in [IOAM-PROFILES].

   For deployments where the IOAM capabilities of a node are unknown,
   [RFC9359] could be used to discover the enabled IOAM capabilities of

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

10.  Security Considerations

   As discussed in [RFC7276], a successful attack on an OAM protocol in
   general and, specifically, on IOAM can prevent the detection of
   failures or anomalies or can create a false illusion of nonexistent

   The Proof of Transit Option-Type (Section 4.2) is used for verifying
   the path of data packets.  The security considerations of POT are
   further discussed in [PROOF-OF-TRANSIT].

   Security considerations related to the use of IOAM flags,
   particularly the Loopback flag, are found in [RFC9322].

   IOAM data can be subject to eavesdropping.  Although the
   confidentiality of the user data is not at risk in this context, the
   IOAM data elements can be used for network reconnaissance, allowing
   attackers to collect information about network paths, performance,
   queue states, buffer occupancy, and other information.  Recon is an
   improbable security threat in an IOAM deployment that is within a
   confined physical domain.  However, in deployments that are not
   confined to a single LAN but span multiple interconnected sites (for
   example, using an overlay network), the inter-site links are expected
   to be secured (e.g., by IPsec) in order to avoid external
   eavesdropping and introduction of malicious or false data.  Another
   possible mitigation approach is to use "Direct Exporting" [RFC9326].
   In this case, the IOAM-related trace information would not be
   available in the customer data packets but would trigger the
   exporting of (secured) packet-related IOAM information at every node.
   IOAM data export and securing IOAM data export is outside the scope
   of this document.

   IOAM can be used as a means for implementing or amplifying Denial-of-
   Service (DoS) attacks.  For example, a malicious attacker can add an
   IOAM header to packets or modify an IOAM header in en route packets
   in order to consume the resources of network devices that take part
   in IOAM or collectors that analyze the IOAM data.  Another example is
   a packet-length attack, in which an attacker pushes headers
   associated with IOAM Option-Types into data packets, causing these
   packets to be increased beyond the MTU size, resulting in
   fragmentation or in packet drops.  Such DoS attacks can be mitigated
   by deploying IOAM in confined administrative domains and by limiting
   the rate and/or the percentage of packets that an IOAM encapsulating
   node adds IOAM information to as well as limiting rate and/or
   percentage of packets that an IOAM transit or an IOAM decapsulating
   node creates to export IOAM information extracted from the data
   packets that carry IOAM information.

   Even though IOAM focused on limited domains [RFC8799], there might be
   deployments for which it is important for IOAM transit nodes and IOAM
   decapsulating nodes to know that the data received haven't been
   tampered with.  In those cases, the IOAM data should be integrity
   protected.  Integrity protection of IOAM data fields is described in
   [IOAM-DATA-INTEGRITY].  In addition, since IOAM options may include
   timestamps, if network devices use synchronization protocols, then
   any attack on the time protocol [RFC7384] can compromise the
   integrity of the timestamp-related data fields.  Synchronization
   attacks can be mitigated by combining a secured time distribution
   scheme, e.g., [RFC8915], and by using redundant clock sources
   [RFC5905] and/or redundant network paths for the time distribution
   protocol [RFC8039].

   At the management plane, attacks may be implemented by misconfiguring
   or by maliciously configuring IOAM-enabled nodes in a way that
   enables other attacks.  Thus, IOAM configuration should be secured in
   a way that authenticates authorized users and verifies the integrity
   of configuration procedures.

   Notably, IOAM is expected to be deployed in limited network domains
   [RFC8799], thus, confining the potential attack vectors within the
   limited domain.  Indeed, in order to limit the scope of threats
   within the current network domain, the network operator is expected
   to enforce policies that prevent IOAM traffic from leaking outside
   the IOAM-Domain and prevent an attacker from introducing malicious or
   false IOAM data to be processed and used within the IOAM-Domain.
   IOAM data leakage could lead to privacy issues.  Consider an IOAM
   encapsulating node that is a home gateway in an operator's network.
   A home gateway is often identified with an individual.  Revealing
   IOAM data, such as "IOAM node identifier" or geolocation information
   outside of the limited domain, could be harmful for that user.  Note
   that Direct Exporting [RFC9326] can mitigate the potential threat of
   IOAM data leaking through data packets.

11.  Informative References

              Min, X., Zhang, Z., Liu, Y., Nainar, N., and C. Pignataro,
              "BIER Encapsulation for IOAM Data", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-xzlnp-bier-ioam-05, 27 January 2023,

              Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Mizrahi, T., and J. Iurman,
              "Integrity of In-situ OAM Data Fields", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-ippm-ioam-data-integrity-03, 24
              November 2022, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/

   [IOAM-ETH] Weis, B., Ed., Brockners, F., Ed., Hill, C., Bhandari, S.,
              Govindan, V., Pignataro, C., Ed., Nainar, N., Ed.,
              Gredler, H., Leddy, J., Youell, S., Mizrahi, T., Kfir, A.,
              Gafni, B., Lapukhov, P., and M. Spiegel, "EtherType
              Protocol Identification of In-situ OAM Data", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-weis-ippm-ioam-eth-05, 21
              February 2022, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/

              Brockners, F., Ed., Bhandari, S., Govindan, V., Pignataro,
              C., Ed., Nainar, N., Ed., Gredler, H., Leddy, J., Youell,
              S., Mizrahi, T., Lapukhov, P., Gafni, B., Kfir, A., and M.
              Spiegel, "Geneve encapsulation for In-situ OAM Data", Work
              in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-brockners-ippm-ioam-
              geneve-05, 19 November 2020,

              Bhandari, S., Ed. and F. Brockners, Ed., "In-situ OAM IPv6
              Options", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-
              ippm-ioam-ipv6-options-10, 28 February 2023,

   [IOAM-NSH] Brockners, F., Ed. and S. Bhandari, Ed., "Network Service
              Header (NSH) Encapsulation for In-situ OAM (IOAM) Data",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-sfc-ioam-nsh-
              11, 30 September 2022,

              Mizrahi, T., Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Ed.,
              Sivakolundu, R., Pignataro, C., Kfir, A., Gafni, B.,
              Spiegel, M., and T. Zhou, "In Situ OAM Profiles", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-mizrahi-ippm-ioam-profile-
              06, 17 February 2022,

              Spiegel, M., Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., and R.
              Sivakolundu, "In-situ OAM raw data export with IPFIX",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-spiegel-ippm-ioam-
              rawexport-06, 21 February 2022,

              Ali, Z., Gandhi, R., Filsfils, C., Brockners, F., Nainar,
              N., Pignataro, C., Li, C., Chen, M., and G. Dawra,
              "Segment Routing Header encapsulation for In-situ OAM
              Data", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ali-spring-
              ioam-srv6-06, 10 July 2022,

              Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Govindan, V., Pignataro, C.,
              Gredler, H., Leddy, J., Youell, S., Mizrahi, T., Kfir, A.,
              Gafni, B., Lapukhov, P., and M. Spiegel, "VXLAN-GPE
              Encapsulation for In-situ OAM Data", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-brockners-ipxpm-ioam-vxlan-gpe-03, 4
              November 2019, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/

              Zhou, T., Ed., Guichard, J., Brockners, F., and S.
              Raghavan, "A YANG Data Model for In-Situ OAM", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-ippm-ioam-yang-06, 27
              February 2023, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/

              Gandhi, R., Ed., Brockners, F., Wen, B., Decraene, B., and
              H. Song, "MPLS Data Plane Encapsulation for In Situ OAM
              Data", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-gandhi-
              mpls-ioam-10, 10 March 2023,

              Brockners, F., Ed., Bhandari, S., Ed., Mizrahi, T., Ed.,
              Dara, S., and S. Youell, "Proof of Transit", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-sfc-proof-of-transit-
              08, 31 October 2020,

   [RFC2784]  Farinacci, D., Li, T., Hanks, S., Meyer, D., and P.
              Traina, "Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE)", RFC 2784,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2784, March 2000,

   [RFC5905]  Mills, D., Martin, J., Ed., Burbank, J., and W. Kasch,
              "Network Time Protocol Version 4: Protocol and Algorithms
              Specification", RFC 5905, DOI 10.17487/RFC5905, June 2010,

   [RFC7276]  Mizrahi, T., Sprecher, N., Bellagamba, E., and Y.
              Weingarten, "An Overview of Operations, Administration,
              and Maintenance (OAM) Tools", RFC 7276,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7276, June 2014,

   [RFC7384]  Mizrahi, T., "Security Requirements of Time Protocols in
              Packet Switched Networks", RFC 7384, DOI 10.17487/RFC7384,
              October 2014, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7384>.

   [RFC7665]  Halpern, J., Ed. and C. Pignataro, Ed., "Service Function
              Chaining (SFC) Architecture", RFC 7665,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7665, October 2015,

   [RFC7799]  Morton, A., "Active and Passive Metrics and Methods (with
              Hybrid Types In-Between)", RFC 7799, DOI 10.17487/RFC7799,
              May 2016, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7799>.

   [RFC8039]  Shpiner, A., Tse, R., Schelp, C., and T. Mizrahi,
              "Multipath Time Synchronization", RFC 8039,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8039, December 2016,

   [RFC8279]  Wijnands, IJ., Ed., Rosen, E., Ed., Dolganow, A.,
              Przygienda, T., and S. Aldrin, "Multicast Using Bit Index
              Explicit Replication (BIER)", RFC 8279,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8279, November 2017,

   [RFC8300]  Quinn, P., Ed., Elzur, U., Ed., and C. Pignataro, Ed.,
              "Network Service Header (NSH)", RFC 8300,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8300, January 2018,

   [RFC8799]  Carpenter, B. and B. Liu, "Limited Domains and Internet
              Protocols", RFC 8799, DOI 10.17487/RFC8799, July 2020,

   [RFC8915]  Franke, D., Sibold, D., Teichel, K., Dansarie, M., and R.
              Sundblad, "Network Time Security for the Network Time
              Protocol", RFC 8915, DOI 10.17487/RFC8915, September 2020,

   [RFC8926]  Gross, J., Ed., Ganga, I., Ed., and T. Sridhar, Ed.,
              "Geneve: Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation",
              RFC 8926, DOI 10.17487/RFC8926, November 2020,

   [RFC9197]  Brockners, F., Ed., Bhandari, S., Ed., and T. Mizrahi,
              Ed., "Data Fields for In Situ Operations, Administration,
              and Maintenance (IOAM)", RFC 9197, DOI 10.17487/RFC9197,
              May 2022, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9197>.

   [RFC9322]  Mizrahi, T., Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Gafni, B., and
              M. Spiegel, "In Situ Operations, Administration, and
              Maintenance (IOAM) Loopback and Active Flags", RFC 9322,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9322, November 2022,

   [RFC9326]  Song, H., Gafni, B., Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., and T.
              Mizrahi, "In Situ Operations, Administration, and
              Maintenance (IOAM) Direct Exporting", RFC 9326,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9326, November 2022,

   [RFC9359]  Min, X., Mirsky, G., and L. Bo, "Echo Request/Reply for
              Enabled In Situ OAM (IOAM) Capabilities", RFC 9359,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9359, April 2023,

              Maino, F., Ed., Kreeger, L., Ed., and U. Elzur, Ed.,
              "Generic Protocol Extension for VXLAN (VXLAN-GPE)", Work
              in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-nvo3-vxlan-gpe-12,
              22 September 2021, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/


   The authors would like to thank Tal Mizrahi, Eric Vyncke, Nalini
   Elkins, Srihari Raghavan, Ranganathan T S, Barak Gafni, Karthik Babu
   Harichandra Babu, Akshaya Nadahalli, LJ Wobker, Erik Nordmark,
   Vengada Prasad Govindan, Andrew Yourtchenko, Aviv Kfir, Tianran Zhou,
   Zhenbin (Robin), Joe Clarke, Al Morton, Tom Herbet, Haoyu Song, and
   Mickey Spiegel for the comments and advice on IOAM.

Authors' Addresses

   Frank Brockners (editor)
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   Hansaallee 249, 3rd Floor
   Email: fbrockne@cisco.com

   Shwetha Bhandari (editor)
   3rd Floor, Indiqube Orion
   Garden Layout, HSR Layout
   24th Main Rd
   Bangalore 560 102
   Email: shwetha.bhandari@thoughtspot.com

   Daniel Bernier
   Bell Canada
   Email: daniel.bernier@bell.ca

   Tal Mizrahi (editor)
   8-2 Matam
   Haifa 3190501
   Email: tal.mizrahi.phd@gmail.com