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  1. #1
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    Intelligent Routing : RouteScience Path Control, SockEye and netVMG

    If anything uses any of the above, please could you let me know how it is setup in conjunction with your network?

    In particular I would like to know:
    Is traffic actually analysed and then passed down to the next piece of equipment e.g. switch OR does it only analysis data and make BGP4 changes and not affect actual network traffic flow ??

    My main concern is redundancy, does it act as a point of failure or not i.e. if it is down does traffic still flow through the network fine or does it have to go through this piece of equipment.


    Thanks in advance.
    -Shazzy

  2. #2
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    I'm not a super expert on this but I've done research on "Intelligent routing" vendors and have been explained how their products work.

    These "intelligent routing" devices are only useful on multi-homed networks

    Executive Summary:
    It's all crap and you don't need it on your network unless you need to waste money to secure next years budget because they are all EXPENSIVE

    Vendors:
    1. NetVMG
    2. Proficient Networks
    3. InterNAP Flow Control Platform
    etc..

    Setup:
    Your router will send traffic samples to the intelligent routing device. The device learns about the various destinations your traffic is sent to.
    How your router sends this data to the device is accomplished by various methods depending on the router platform you use.

    Live traffic is not impacted, simply "sniffed" for analysis. You configure the device to adjust BGP metrics on your routers based on "round trip packet latency", "packet loss", "packet jitter", "provider cost", "provider capacity", etc...

    In the end, BGP metrics are the only things that change. The device changes the BGP metrics dynamically. The device will "inject" modified BGP metrics into your network in order to meet the configuration parameters you specified on the device.

    Thus your network traffic flow is customized.
    The only traffic that flows through the device is the "sample traffic" that is being used for analysis only.


    Redundancy:
    The device is usually a piece of hardware (a 1U-2U server) with a Linux/Unix flavor OS. If the device gets DOSed, hacked or bonks out then your network traffic flow will go back to original defaults (i.e. BGP taking the shortest path in/out based on default metrics which seems to work for most of the internet .


    You can buy a muscle car that will do 90% of what you want to do 100% of the time. Or you can spend BIG BUCKS on your car so it will do 100% of what you want it to do 90% of the time.

    Fork out cash for fancy stuff and I promise you it will break more often. The more complicated the more chance of problems.

    So whats the point of having a device like this? None, if you use Cisco, because Cisco already has advanced "traffic engineering" features it is building into new IOS versions.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Papa Smurff; 11-14-2003 at 11:21 PM.

  3. #3
    thank you for the informed opinion =]

    if you are pushing a lot and need to make sure you dont lose your shirt, traffic mgmt is a must imho. its a question of roi - if you push enough and can think of policies that can reduce your transit costs or help you maintain ratios stipulated under your peering agreements, these boxes will help. why would you care about spending 150k if a 150k device can save you 200k?

    afaik, routescience boxes are out of bound, so no spof. high time someone invested into making a more price-competitive product though.

    paul
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  4. #4
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    Originally posted by rusko
    thank you for the informed opinion =]

    if you are pushing a lot and need to make sure you dont lose your shirt, traffic mgmt is a must imho. its a question of roi - if you push enough and can think of policies that can reduce your transit costs or help you maintain ratios stipulated under your peering agreements, these boxes will help. why would you care about spending 150k if a 150k device can save you 200k?

    afaik, routescience boxes are out of bound, so no spof. high time someone invested into making a more price-competitive product though.

    paul
    Good point.

  5. #5
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    Unless you have your own "AS" and are utlilizing no less than 4 or 5 DS-3's I could hardly see the cost jusitfication.

    If your a tier 1, 2 or 3 ISP, yes- perhaps.

    If your just buying transit from 2 or 3 of the majors you'd see little benefit.

    Remember with BGP it's simply based on hop count. And after its left your network you have NO control over the traffic. Or very little I should say. I don't want to start any flame wars over BGP and it's sometimes complex nature.

    If you have funds available then I would fully review what you have setup currently and ask another professional outside your group, "Are we utilizing everything we have setup in our network 1000%." Are you using BGP Regular Expressions in your configuration to thier maximum potential?

    Just think of how many new customers you could gain by taking those funds and applying it to the promotion of your company.

    Over the years I've seen millions wasted on garbage that wasn't needed.

    Just some food for thought...

  6. #6
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    Only way this thing could save you money is routing over your cheapest providers...which you dont need some expensive hardware to tell you which those are since you pay the bills on them each month. If you have uunet/mfn/xo, whats this machine going to do not send any down uunet since you told it it costs 3x as much as the other two? lol sorry, I probably just dont understand the point of these.

  7. #7
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    'The device changes the BGP metrics dynamically'

    And is it published only on your local network? How does this device not create hell by pushing information that becomes outdated much faster than it can be propagated?
    http://www.voilaweb.com - the Social Internet Toolbox.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Papa Smurff

    Vendors:
    1. NetVMG
    2. Proficient Networks
    3. InterNAP Flow Control Platform
    etc..
    Internap bought both Sockeye and netVMG.

    The only traffic that flows through the device is the "sample traffic" that is being used for analysis only.
    That has answered my question perfectly, Thank you.
    ^^ IM WITH STUPID!! ^^

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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by cyansmoker
    'The device changes the BGP metrics dynamically'

    And is it published only on your local network? How does this device not create hell by pushing information that becomes outdated much faster than it can be propagated?
    I don't know for certain but from what I've read the device can only modify route tables on neighbors directly connected to it.

    The device can and will tweak your route tables with undesired information. So yes, the potential for it to create a problem is there.

    I installed a Intelligent routing device before. My network was being used to test the product at the same time we were trying to save a few bucks. Well, after we installed it and it began modifying our route tables automatically we LOST a few networks from our routing table, specifically United Airlines.
    Needless to say, one of our customers did alot of business with United Airlines and they were pissed.

    I think these intelligent routing devices create more problems than they solve.

  10. #10
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    Uh I wouldnt go so far as to say they're worthless, for your avg WHT user they would be worthless. Intelligent routing appliances are only for data centers for 3-7 Upstream providers, the reason they're very handy is because you can down to the bit control where each users data goes.

    Say PapaSmurff wanted to buy 50GB of XO from me, and after that was gone he just wanted to soak TimeWarnertelecom from me for the rest of the month. -- Thats basically what the route science boxes do.

    They will also detect trouble along any AS path outbound on your network and swap routes to compensate. Its very very sexy technology. You can tell it ok, every megabit i send down XO costs me X amount and every megabit i send down Saavis costs me x amount. so unless you have to send it all down (whatever) path.

    Its not for your average dedicated hosting company, it would better suite a large data center, like what we are. Once we get our OC-3 to chicago installed we're putting one of these bad boys down there and lighting up probably 4 100 megabit ethernet connections.. should be niiice.

    -Drew

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by nixboxen
    Uh I wouldnt go so far as to say they're worthless, for your avg WHT user they would be worthless. Intelligent routing appliances are only for data centers for 3-7 Upstream providers, the reason they're very handy is because you can down to the bit control where each users data goes.

    Say PapaSmurff wanted to buy 50GB of XO from me, and after that was gone he just wanted to soak TimeWarnertelecom from me for the rest of the month. -- Thats basically what the route science boxes do.

    They will also detect trouble along any AS path outbound on your network and swap routes to compensate. Its very very sexy technology. You can tell it ok, every megabit i send down XO costs me X amount and every megabit i send down Saavis costs me x amount. so unless you have to send it all down (whatever) path.

    Its not for your average dedicated hosting company, it would better suite a large data center, like what we are. Once we get our OC-3 to chicago installed we're putting one of these bad boys down there and lighting up probably 4 100 megabit ethernet connections.. should be niiice.

    -Drew
    Can't argue too much with that. But if you have Cisco gear why not just use the traffic engineering features the IOS provides? For example, unequal cost load balancing by using the BGP Link Bandwidth feature?
    This feature will help you divide your traffic any way you want.
    So 20% uses circuit A, 10% uses circuit B, 40% uses circuit C and 30% uses circuit D.
    I'm just saying that the Internet seems to be doing fine without these "intelligent routing" boxes.What if the device *does* freak out and injects some screwed up route tables into your routers?

  12. #12
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    We have been using FCP from NetVmg for about 8 months now and it's very nice.

    The one thing you are not taking into account is network performance. BGP does not take performance into account at all. With all the providers out there cutting techincal staff, we are seeing more and more network issues across all networks (which BGP does not factor in).

    These boxes take care of that! We used to get about 10-20 calls per month on "My connection to my machine is slow" or "My connection to my machine is spotty". Since NetVmg we have not had one single call.

    It's bleeding edge technology, but you will see it as common place in the next couple of years.
    Mike @ Xiolink.com
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  13. #13
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    Originally posted by RackMy.com
    We have been using FCP from NetVmg for about 8 months now and it's very nice.

    The one thing you are not taking into account is network performance. BGP does not take performance into account at all. With all the providers out there cutting techincal staff, we are seeing more and more network issues across all networks (which BGP does not factor in).

    These boxes take care of that! We used to get about 10-20 calls per month on "My connection to my machine is slow" or "My connection to my machine is spotty". Since NetVmg we have not had one single call.

    It's bleeding edge technology, but you will see it as common place in the next couple of years.
    Yeah, true.
    But it makes more sense if the router manufacturers build this intelligence into their gear.
    In the next couple of years I see Cisco, Lucent, Juniper, Foundry, etc.. buying or copying this technology and loading it into their routing products for increased value-add.
    So I'm not getting too excited about it until this "bleeding" edge technology gets rolled into something larger.

  14. #14
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    I think it's going to be a long while until you see this technology "rolled into" routing products. The amount of system resources required for all the computations is pretty great. That will change as hardware gets faster, but I would bet there will be a revision/addition to BGP first.
    Mike @ Xiolink.com
    http://www.xiolink.com 1-877-4-XIOLINK
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  15. #15
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    Originally posted by RackMy.com
    I think it's going to be a long while until you see this technology "rolled into" routing products. The amount of system resources required for all the computations is pretty great. That will change as hardware gets faster, but I would bet there will be a revision/addition to BGP first.
    Yeah, they really need to update the BGP protocol to like BGPv5 or something and add a few more features to help make Internet communications more smooth.

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