North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Automated DLR conflict detection

  • From: Peter Galbavy
  • Date: Fri Dec 21 05:50:16 2001

> On a long-term basis, how do you check carriers are keeping their
> promises? Are there any commercial products which let subscribers
> automatically check DLR's from carriers for changes and conflicts?
> Since DLR's only show the active components in a circuit, has anyone
> developed a product to check for passive and location risks?

I know that this is in some cases a matter of religion and to others risk
management. So some risk management *is* religion.

While (y)our job may be to ensure that the network works, IMHO the only
inducement that most suppliers will listen to (regardless of the product or
service they are selling) is big, nasty and consistently enforced penalties
for failing to deliver on contractual obligations. Hell, in England punative
clauses in civil matters are not enforceable at all.

On many occasions in my prior life at Demon Internet we laughed sales people
out of meetings when they offered SLAs that were limited to the value of a
months service. But, in the end *all* the salepeople offered the same deal.
Until when SLAs come with a pay back greater than the cost of the contract,
and in fact cover consequential losses, most service providers will treat
the failure to deliver within the SLA as a risk associated with the service
and not something more serious.

Note that I have been vague over the 'services'. This is another bugbear of
mine. ISPs cannot offer SLAs to end customer until their upstreams offer at
least the same to them. The upstreams cannot until their upstreams do, and
so on. No IP service provider can offer a good SLA until the telecoms and
network hardware are covered, and the telco can't until the fiber owner

This is why the level of risk is a commercial decision. Do we buy from
enough upstreams so that we can take the risk that one or more will fail to
meet their SLAs ? The assumption currently amongst most is (or so I
understand at any rate) that people use SLAs to view the 'seriousness' of
their service provider and not view it as a real means of compensation for
failing to deliver.

At the end of the day, compensation is not what you want, and certainly not
what normal end users want, but the willingness of the service provider (at
any level) to offer an SLA with the teeth pointed back at them may be an
indication of their objectives.