IX Scotland – Why might it work this time?

Yesterday the BBC ran this news item about the launch of a new Internet Exchange in Edinburgh – IX Scotland. This is the latest in an emerging trend of local IXPs developing in the UK, such as IX Leeds and IX Manchester.

There was some belief that this is the first Internet Exchange in Scotland, however those people have short memories. There have been two (or three) depending on how you look at it, attempts at getting a working IXP in Edinburgh in the past 15 years, all of which ultimately failed.

So, why should IX Scotland be any different to it’s predecessors? Continue reading “IX Scotland – Why might it work this time?”

My recent talk at INEX – Video

Or, I never thought of myself as a narcissist but…

Thanks to the folks at HEAnet, here’s a link to the video of the talk “It’s peering, Jim…” that I gave at the recent INEX meeting in Dublin, where I discuss topics such as changes in the US peering community thanks to Open-IX and try to untangle what people mean when they say “Regional Peering”.

The talk lasts around 20-25 minutes and I was really pleased to get around 15 minutes of questions at the end of it.

I also provide some fairly pragmatic advice to those seeking to start an IX in Northern Ireland during the questions. 🙂

mh_inex_video

Anti-spoofing filters, BCP38, IETF SAVVI and your network

I was invited to present at the recent IX Leeds open meeting, as “someone neutral” on the topic of BCP38 – largely in relation to the effects from not deploying it, not just on the wider Internet, but on your IP networking business (if you have one), and on the networks you interconnect with.

I basically broke the topic down:

Introduction: I started by introducing the problem in respect of the attack (“that nearly broke the Internet”) on the CloudFlare hosted Spamhaus website in March 2013.

What and how: Quick overview of address spoofing and how a backscatter amplification attack works.

What you should do: BCP38, uRPF, etc., and what you need to do, and what to ask your suppliers.

Why you should care: Yes, it benefits others, but you have costs in terms of bandwidth and abuse/security response too.

The bleeding edge: IETF SAVI working group.

It wasn’t meant to be a technical how-to, but a non-partisan awareness raiser, as the IX Leeds meeting audiences aren’t full of “usual suspects” but people who are less likely to have been exposed to this.

It’s important to get people doing source address filtering and validation, both themselves, and asking their suppliers for it where it’s appropriate.

Here’s the slide deck (.pdf) if you’re interested.

Superfast Broadband Roundup – 19th September

Surrey County Council have advised that they have awarded their “final third” superfast broadband deployment to BT. The contract is worth around £33m.

It’s worth noting that the SCC deployment is being done seperately from the BDUK umbrella, and it’s been revealed BT were bidding against two other independant contractors, as opposed to their usual BDUK bidding rivals Fujitsu.

If you fancy being the person who manages the BT deployment in Surrey, they are currently seeking a Programme Director to run the show. I’m not sure what happened to the last occupant of the role, if there was one?

Of course, one advantage of going with BT for this deployment is that assuming BT in the main use their existing FTTC/FTTP service models, it shouldn’t be a problem for any ISP to deliver “superfast” service to homes and businesses on the Surrey deployment. It will be done using the same interconnects and some provisioning.

Compare that to more “bespoke” superfast networks such as Digital Region, which had been viewed as unattractive to work with because of the additional overheads for a consumer ISP of dealing with their processess and provisioning systems, in addition to the “defacto” wholesale broadband providers such as Be/O2 and the ubiquitous BT.

So, while I was at the IX Leeds meeting last week, I was interested to hear of a new service from Fluidata, which aims to solve the problems commonly associated with delivering service over multiple local access wholesalers, which they are calling “Stop@Nothing”.

Their plan is to offer a wholesale “middleman” service, interconnecting to various local access networks, both national (such as BT and O2) and regional (such as Digital Region), among others, and being able to deliver these over an inter-regional backhaul network to the ISP on a common pipe (or pipes), and provide a common API to the ISP for provisioning, regardless of which last mile network is delivering service to the customer premises.

I can see this helping the ISPs in two ways – potentially doing away with the time and cost implications of integrating a new wholesale broadband provider platform into your own provisioning processes and systems, and in giving ISPs who don’t have any local presence cheaper access to regional projects (such as Digital Region), without the risk of building into the area – maybe this becomes something can be done later if volume warrants it. It potentally also gets around issues such as minimum order commitments from individual ISPs, as these are aggregated behind the Fluidata service.

I haven’t got a clue how cost effective Fluidata’s product will be, as I’ve not seen any pricing for it. I can only assume that it’s competitive or they wouldn’t be doing it.

Meanwhile, the group of determined farmers and country-dwelling folk behind B4RN in the North West continue doing their own thing, their own way, and have recently been digging into a local church hall in Abbeystead:

There’s a whole series of videos on their YouTube channel about how they are progressing and details on the physical elements of their infrastructure such as digs and fibre installs.

A new regional peering initiative for the UK?

A few weeks ago, I wondered why a number of posts on my blog which had been quiet for a while saw some renewed interest – the series on regional peering suddenly saw a significant growth in readership – when I received word that there was group forming in Manchester to discuss the subject, instigated by Manchester co-lo operator m247 and involving (my former employer) the largest UK IXP, LINX.

Now it started to make sense…

Continue reading “A new regional peering initiative for the UK?”

Successful 1st IXLeeds Open Meeting

I attended by all accounts a very successful first open meeting for the IXLeeds exchange point yesterday – with around 120 attendees, including many faces that are not regulars on the peering circuit making for brilliant networking opportunities and great talks from the likes of the Government super-fast broadband initiative, BDUK, and energy efficient processor giants ARM (behind the technology at the heart of most of the World’s smartphones), as well as more familiar faces such as RIPE NCC and LINX, among others.

Definitely impressed with the frank discussion that followed the talk by the DCMS’ Robert Ling on BDUK funding and framework, but still sceptical that it’s going to be any easier for smaller businesses to successfully get access to the public purse.

Andy Davidson, IXLeeds Director, was able to proudly announce that IXLeeds now provides support for jumbo frames via a seperate vlan overlaid on their switch, which is probably the only IXP in the UK which officially offers and promotes this service – at least for the time being. Of course, they are supporting a 9k frame size

Well done to my friends and colleagues of IXLeeds for making it to this major milestone, and doing it in great style. It seems a long, long way from a discussion over some pizza in 2008.

The only thing I didn’t manage to do while in Leeds is take a look at the progress on the next phase of aql’s Salem Church data centre, but I’m sure I’ll just have to ask nicely and drop by aql at some point in the future. 🙂

Latest Datacentre Expansion in Leeds

The Yorkshire Evening Post carried a story today about the future of the former Tetley’s Brewery site in Leeds, which closed back in June.

Leeds-based Internet and Telephony Services company aql have announced they are part of a consortium who wants to redevelop part of the site, to include more new co-location space, complementing their nearby redevelopment of the historic Salem Church, another Leeds landmark being saved from dereliction.

This also good news for the rapidly developing Leeds-based IXP – IXLeeds, who’s switch is co-located at the aql Salem Church facility. It opens up further access to co-location for the future, and further promotes technology growth in the region.

Old brewery buildings make good bases for something such as co-location, due to the buildings being engineered for high floor loadings. Part of the old Truman Brewery site on London’s Brick Lane was reborn as a datacentre some years ago, so there’s a sound precedent for this part of the redvelopment.

Adam Beaumont, aql founder, said that he’s “always looking for new ways to combine his interests of technology and beer” :).

This new plan deserves to go ahead for a number of reasons, and not only because it is significantly better than Carlsberg’s original proposal: To build a car park, locally dubbed as “Probably the most unadventurous redevelopment plan in the world“. Hilarious.