From Gordon Cook:
To refresh folk's minds, here is what Sean said:
The principal problem is that the RSes and the whole IRR
are only as good as the databases are, and the bulk of the
RADB was populated from the wrong source. Rather than
doing what I would consider the correct thing -- that is,
watching peerings between the RSes and the providers
participating in the various RS tests and tracking down
all the information from the IRR based on what was seen
there, verifying routing policies with end sites -- they
started with the PRDB and hoped that fate would cause the
RADB to become more correct.
I think that is a bit strong to say that the RA was hoping that
fate would cause the RADB to become more correct. I think the
RA was hoping that the community would work with the RA to
correct errors in the data originally loaded into the RA.
Certainly, that has been my intent as I have worked with
the data for the various ASes which I watch over.
My understanding of RADB and the IRR concept in general is
that it should serve as a source of information, not as
a reflection of observed behavior. So filling the RADB
with observed data from the RSes would not be appropriate.
However, having some resource that does compare observed data
to the information in the RADB would be useful. This has
previously been discussed at NANOG and I recall the RA team
taking some interest in exploring the possible creation of
such a resource.
To be brief and blunt, the RA team started with
information explicitly designed to PREVENT connectivity
between "bad" (evil, greedy, commercial) networks and
"good" networks which would be AUP compliant. I'd think
common sense would indicate doing some extra (and well
paid) work to instead start off with something approaching
a model of the reality of interconnectivity.
I agree that using the PRDB as the original source may have caused
more harm than good. In my opinion, the only other approach would
have been to start with an empty database and have the various
providers fill it with their data from scratch. Would we now have
a more accurate RADB? Maybe. Since that was the path not taken,
we'll never know for sure. I believe that the more folks
participate with data in the IRR, the likelyhood that errors in
the data can be identified increases.
Moreover, another disappointment is that one could easily
assert that a strong reason for using the PRDB as the
source of information from day #1 was that MERIT was
already spending its resources maintaining that database
and toolset in a deal with ANS to keep ANS's network
routing working much the same way during the many months
while they figured out how to move on from the end of the
NSFNET backbone service.
I am sure that the transition of ANS from the NSFNET days to the
current situation involved a number of operational adjustments. I believe
that anything done to help this transition go smoothly was good for
everyone and not just ANS. Perhaps I am not enough of an "evil greedy
bastard" (though I am an "sob" to believe that ANS having problems
resulting the transition is a good thing for everyone else.
In short, I think the chief failing of the RADB is not the
toolset, the concept, or the long-term plan, all of which
make some to alot of sense. Instead, what seems to have
killed it dead is that the RA was too busy to commit the
*serious* effort it would have taken to populate the RADB
with information from reality in the first place.
This paragraph begs the question: Can the patient be saved? That is,
if the concept, toolset and long-term plan make some to alot of sense,
do we move forward by fixing the existing problems or starting over?