[Cerowrt-devel] [Bloat] viability of the data center in the internet of the future

Fred Baker (fred) fred at cisco.com
Sat Jun 28 20:50:52 EDT 2014

On Jun 27, 2014, at 9:58 PM, Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com> wrote:

> One of the points in the wired article that kicked this thread off was
> this picture of what the internet is starting to look like:
> http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/net_neutral.jpg.jpeg
> I don't want it to look like that.

Well, I think trying to describe the Internet in those terms is a lot like half a dozen blind men describing an elephant. The picture makes a point, and a good one. But it’s also wildly inaccurate. It depends on which blind man you ask. And they’ll all be right, from their perspective.

There is in fact a backbone. Once upon a time, it was run by a single company, BBN. Then it was more like five, and then ... and now it’s 169. There are, if the BGP report (http://seclists.org/nanog/2014/Jun/495) is to be believed, 47136 ASNs in the system, of which 35929 don’t show up as transit for anyone and are therefore presumably edge networks and potentially multihomed, and of those 16325 only announce a single prefix. Of the 6101 ASNs that show up as transit, 169 ONLY show up as transit. Yes, the core is 169 ASNs, and it’s not a little dot off to the side. If you want to know where it is, do a traceroute (tracery on windows).

I’ll give you two, one through Cisco and one through my residential provider.

traceroute to reed.com (, 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
 1  sjc-fred-881.cisco.com (  1.289 ms  12.000 ms  1.130 ms
 2  sjce-access-hub1-tun10.cisco.com (  47.661 ms  45.281 ms  42.995 ms
 3  ...
11  sjck-isp-gw1-ten1-1-0.cisco.com (  44.972 ms  45.094 ms  43.670 ms
12  tengige0-2-0-0.gw5.scl2.alter.net (  48.806 ms  49.338 ms  47.975 ms
13  0.xe-9-1-0.br1.sjc7.alter.net (  43.998 ms  45.595 ms  49.838 ms
14 (  52.110 ms  45.492 ms  47.373 ms
15 (  126.696 ms  124.374 ms  127.983 ms
16  te-2-0-0.rar3.washington-dc.us.xo.net (  127.639 ms  132.965 ms  131.415 ms
17  te-3-0-0.rar3.nyc-ny.us.xo.net (  129.747 ms  125.680 ms  123.907 ms
18  ae0d0.mcr1.cambridge-ma.us.xo.net (  125.009 ms  123.152 ms  126.992 ms
19  ip65-47-145-6.z145-47-65.customer.algx.net (  118.244 ms  118.024 ms  117.983 ms
20  * * *
21 (  119.378 ms *  122.057 ms
22  reed.com (  120.051 ms  120.146 ms  118.672 ms

traceroute to reed.com (, 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
 1 (  1.728 ms  1.140 ms  1.289 ms
 2 (  122.289 ms  126.330 ms  14.782 ms
 3  ip68-4-12-20.oc.oc.cox.net (  13.208 ms  12.667 ms  8.941 ms
 4  ip68-4-11-96.oc.oc.cox.net (  17.025 ms  13.911 ms  13.835 ms
 5  langbprj01-ae1.rd.la.cox.net (  131.855 ms  14.677 ms  129.860 ms
 6 (  16.750 ms  31.627 ms  130.134 ms
 7  ae11.cr2.lax112.us.above.net (  40.754 ms  31.873 ms  130.246 ms
 8  ae3.cr2.iah1.us.above.net (  162.884 ms  77.157 ms  69.431 ms
 9  ae14.cr2.dca2.us.above.net (  97.115 ms  113.428 ms  80.068 ms
10  ae8.mpr4.bos2.us.above.net.29.125.64.in-addr.arpa (  109.957 ms  124.964 ms  122.447 ms
11  * (  86.163 ms  103.232 ms
12 (  111.068 ms  119.984 ms  114.022 ms
13 (  103.358 ms  87.412 ms  86.345 ms
14  reed.com (  87.276 ms  102.752 ms  86.800 ms

Cisco->AlterNet->XO->ALGX is one path, and Cox->AboveNet->Presumably ALGX is another. They both traverse the core.

Going to bufferbloat.net, I actually do skip the core in one path. Through Cisco, I go through core site and hurricane electric and finally into ISC. ISC, it turns out, is a Cox customer; taking my residential path, since Cox serves us both, the traffic never goes upstream from Cox.

Yes, there are CDNs. I don’t think you’d like the way Video/IP and especially adaptive bitrate video - Netflix, Youtube, etc - worked if they didn’t exist. Akamai is probably the prototypical one, and when they deployed theirs it made the Internet quite a bit snappier - and that helped the economics of Internet sales. Google and Facebook actually do operate large data centers, but a lot of their common content (or at least Google’s) is in CDNlets. NetFlix uses several CDNs, or so I’m told; the best explanation I have found of their issues with Comcast and Level 3 is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR1sLLOYxnY (and it has imperfections). And yes, part of the story is business issues over CDNs. Netflix’s data traverses the core once to each CDN download server, and from the server to its customers.

The IETF uses a CDN, as of recently. It’s called Cloudflare.

One of the places I worry is Chrome and Silk’s SPDY Proxies, which are somewhere in Google and Amazon respectively. Chrome and Silk send https and SPDY traffic directly to the targeted service, but http traffic to their proxies, which do their magic and send the result back. One of the potential implications is that instead of going to the CDN nearest me, it then goes to the CDN nearest the proxy. That’s not good for me. I just hope that the CDNs I use accept https from me, because that will give me the best service (and btw encrypts my data).

Blind men and elephants, and they’re all right.

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