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Re: InterNAP?

  • From: Mark Mentovai
  • Date: Mon Oct 30 18:59:43 2000

Tom Schmidt wrote:
>I need your opinion on InterNAP.  I am currently have a DS3 to my current 
>provider and want to add an additional DS3 for redundancy to the same 
>location.  We plan to run BGP4 on both connections.
>InterNap has some technology to avoid congested peering points. Does this 
>technology actually work?  Isn't it impossible to avoid these peering 
>points?  What are your experiences with InterNAP?

If you know what you're getting, then they deliver essentially what you
would expect.  The problem is that they'd like to lead you to believe that
you're getting something magic, thanks to their super-cool
ultra-confidential technology that nobody else has.  In reality, it's just a
computer that scans the BGP tables once a day, throws a few other parameters
into the equation, and adjusts prepending and local preferences accordingly.  
It doesn't have any special provisions to avoid a tempermental route any
more than any other BGP speaker.  You won't have extra immunity from a fiber
cut in Washington because of automated response to fluctuating routes, but
you will be at an advantage because you have multiple carriers at your

You, the end-user, have very little control over this.  It's the typical BGP
problem: you can classify and organize outbound traffic (inbound routes) to
your heart's content, but you're very limited in what you can do with
inbound traffic (your route announcements).  This is probably fine if you're
singly homed to InterNAP or if you're dual-homed to InterNAP and a non-Tier
1 NSP.  It's probably also fine if you plan on using InterNAP purely as a

The argument against InterNAP's philosophy of avoiding public peering is to
point out that if you were to multi-home yourself to two of the biggest
three or four Tier 1 NSPs that InterNAP buys bandwidth from, you'd probably
avoid the bulk of the congested public peering points anyway.  (Did you
really think that MAE-East was the route of choice between
BBN^H^H^HGTEI^H^H^H^HGenuity and AT&T?)  In addition, you'd have finer
control over your traffic.

Based on my observations, between half and two thirds of the traffic you
would receive through InterNAP comes through a single NSP that InterNAP's
bought bandwidth from, evidence that you might be better off connecting to
that NSP directly.  (I'm not going to tell you which one it is, but I'm sure
you can figure it out if you don't know already.)  Outbound, they only
prefer that carrier about 40% of the time.  (Like I said, you always have
finer control over outbound traffic, and InterNAP is no exception.)

As far as procedures go, InterNAP is very bureaucratic, bordering on the
obsessive.  On the plus side, they do seem to be well-organized and
responsive, probably owing mostly to the bureacracy.  Their engineers seem
knowledgable and competent.

InterNAP gives you a direct connection to about ten backbones, depending on
the POP you connect to.  If that's what you were shopping for, then look no


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Mark Mentovai
UNIX Engineer
Gillette Global Network