Andrew - thanks for taking the time to talk with us. You've inspired me to buy your book (suppose that was the point of the talk). The Kindle version, not the collectable one listed for $100 on Amazon.
Andrew, you were talking during our interview about the networks being held accountable. It occurs to me that this is a way that air travel is similar, and we demaind more accountability of airlines. Most of the time, if we fly from new York to Los Angeles, we don't care about the route or eve the kind of plane. but if there's a delay, we insist on knowing why.
One of my "tour guides" to NANOG just wrote this really nice desciprtion of my interaction with the community: http://community.brocade.com/community/brocadeblogs/service_providers/blog/2012/07/18/new-book-tubes-a-journey-to-the-center-of-the-internet
In many respects the Internet is similar to the network of roads, or commercial air, or even shipping. It ties the world together, and it was built by small pieces coming together, rather than through central planning.
Kim, somehwere in between. I came away very impressed with the abilities of the network engineers who run the Internet. And I also have a lot of respect for the Internet as the ultimate "emergent" system -- designed not by any single organization, but arising out of the thousands of collective decisions. It's a fascinating model.
@fieldengineer - There needs to be a balance between, on the one hand, the government operating in the public interest, stepping in where the market fails, and, on the other hand, businesses pursuing their own and their customers' best interests. Usually, when people say, "there needs to be a balance," I respond, "Get your hand out of my pocket and your camera out of my bedroom," but in this case I think the statement is warranted.
Mitch, some definitely looked like the back of a shopping mall. But a few were quite beautiful. 60 Hudson is amazing -- it was built as Western Union's HQ in 1930. And Facebook's data center is a remarkbal piece of modern architcetre.
Google has an extremely high profile when it comes to peering. They have hired the best "peering coordinators" in the business, and because they generate so much traffic (Youtube!), they are the elephant in any room.
Mitch, it is Google. I find their stance towards all of our understanding to be very strange for the ultimate information company! I wrote about that recently, in a piece called" "Google Thinks You're Stupid."
Lin, it was really all about process. As a journalist I saw my job as to determine the most important places, and visit them as efficiently as possible, in order to write the book as soon as possible and keep it timely. I visited nearly fifty diferent data centers in N. America and Europe. I didn't wanted to waste my "ammo" on access for 111 8th, when I knew it was quite similar to 60 Hudson. I preferred to save my energy and google's for their Oregon data center.
Kim asks: "Could private owners of the tubes close the Internet if they chose to? Or is too disparate a network for any one owner to shut it down?"
-- in grand philosophical terms, since the Internet is a network of networks you only need two to make a "new Internet." Practically speaking, I'd say the whole enterprise depends on a healthy diversity of networks. Which means we should be cautious of one network growing too large. (And can you guess which one i might have in mind???)
In terms of the interne't vulnerability, I think that the physical pieces are actually quite robust. There are redundant physical links, redundant exchange points, substantial security, etc. The greater risk to the Internet is 1) the "cyber" threat and 2) -- and I mean this a bit tongue in cheek -- legislation.
The interesting thing to remember is that the Internet is 100% privately owned. There is no "pubvlic internet." So ownership is always an issue in some ways. The conference in Dubai in December is the International Telecom Unions attempt to -- perhaps -- regulate the interent as they ahve telephone charges. But the good news is, my sources in the industry say it probably won't amount to much.
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
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