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IETF Ornithology: Recent Sightings

Mat Ford

Getting new work started in the IETF usually requires a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) meeting to discuss goals for the work, the suitability of the IETF as a venue for pursuing the work, and the level of interest in and support for the work. In this article, we review the BoF that took place during IETF 94, including its intentions and outcomes. If you’re inspired to arrange a BoF meeting, please read RFC 5434, “Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) Session.”

Internet Storage Sync (iss)

Description: Network-based storage services that allow users to sync local files with remote servers on the Internet are getting more and more popular. They attract huge numbers of users and produce a significant share of Internet traffic. However, most of them employ proprietary protocols to achieve data synchronization. Such proprietary formats create challenges for users when they want to use multiple services or wish to share local files with users from other services. These proprietary sync protocols are also often inefficient and lacking in important collaboration features. The goal of this BoF meeting was to explore whether there is sufficient interest to work on this topic, the possible scope of work, and a plan for doing the work identified.


Outcome: The BoF meeting stimulated a wide-ranging discussion about the landscape of storage services, what could sensibly be standardized, and whether there were any incentives for storage providers to participate in a standardization effort. Further work is required to identify a clear use case for this work, and to narrow the scope to something that is both well understood and supported by a defined user community.