value of co-location

I'll hazard flames and put my oar in...

[various incisive comments about the disparate evolution of network
connectivity hardware and network routing hardware ommitted]

There seems to be some consensus, at least for some individuals/organizations,
that bigger/faster/better router hardware is an essential, since the dairy barn
approach currently in favor amongst the data comm equipment manufacturers may
not prove scalable.

However, the discussion so far has focussed on what won't work rather than
what specific features etc. are needed. In the cause of keeping pace with the
expansion (as well as a partisan reason or two ;-), what sort of beasts should
this bigger, faster, better generation of routers look like? If fast packet
services and co-location on a LAN milking machine won't cut it, then what's the
thinking as to what *is* needed to do the job?

Clueing the various equipment manufacturers in as to what direction the
hardware should be evolving in is probably at least worth the effort (not to
imply that individual efforts have not been underway for some time, but a
collective voice often carries more weight). Unfortunately, this goes beyond
simply getting a single company in touch with reality because of the plethora
of pieces involved in building backbone and delivery services. However, this is
probably one of the few "right groups of people" to be formulating these
requirements and then bashing the various vendors over the head with them ;-).

A fast .02 on my part would be that something in the way of non-blocking
backplane design needs to be _advanced_ in order to be able to scale current
router technology up. This to start tackling the traffic aggregation
problems... Distibuted switching and multiple transport busses seem
like steps in the right direction architecturally, but what are the
topological and traffic flow realities that instantiation of these methods
should be grounded in? Internet and Enterprise networking are markedly
different, and at least until recently the focus of the manufacturers has been
on the Enterprise...

Also, a quick-and-dirty point-to-point delivery mechanism scalable along with
the SONET hierarchy wouldn't hurt either, since as has been pointed out the
fast-packet overhead for multiple and multi- point signalling (or, worse,
data/voice/video integration) becomes an exacerbating bandwidth tax in the
traditional point-to-point circuits used to build Internet backbones and ISP
networks. This would also address Paul Vixie's all-too-true issues about the
ability of the carriers to support the services in an efficient and reliable
manner. If the transport is something they are familiar with (T3 being a good
example, and ATM of course standing as a bad one... ;), then the reliability of
the Net as a whole improves as more ISP's become able to use "supportable
carrier transports". Of course, the trick is to get the supportability of T3
with the speed of OC-48... :wink: (not that there are any routers that could
*handle* OC-48... arghhh... :wink: :-p)

I'll be happy to assist in the bashing in my day job ;-), but since I must in
conscience agree with Dennis wholeheartedly on the subject of ATM and it's
orthogonal relationship to current service delivery needs, I'm definitely
speaking solely as myself here. Curiosity got the better of me, tho, and
I'd like to know what other thoughts there are along these lines...


                          Paul "Corwin" Frommeyer
        Work Internet Engineer, CCIE Play
ISP Systems Engineer Network Sorcerer At Large
Cisco Systems, Inc. Paul's Fone Company
         *** Speaking solely for myself unless otherwise noted ***