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Network management operations are complicated, tedious and error-prone, requiring significant human involvement and expert knowledge. This paper first examines the fundamental components of management operations and argues that the lack of automation is due to a lack of programmability at the right level of abstraction. To address this challenge, the paper presents DECOR, a database-oriented, declarative framework towards automated network management. DECOR models router configuration and any generic network status as relational data in a conceptually centralized database. As such, network management operations can be represented as a series of transactional database queries, which provide the benefit of atomicity, consistency and isolation. The rule-based language in DECOR provides the flexible programmability to specify and enforce network-wide management constraints, and achieve high-level task scheduling.
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