Archive for April, 2012

Twelve Years in the Evolution of the Internet Ecosystem

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by amogh

Our recent study of the evolution of the Internet ecosystem over the last twelve years (1998-2010) appeared in the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking in October 2011. Why is the Internet an ecosystem? The Internet, commonly described as a network of networks, consists of thousands of Autonomous Systems (ASes) of different sizes, functions, and business objectives that interact to provide the end-to-end connectivity that end users experience. ASes engage in transit (or customer-provider) relations, and also in settlement-free peering relations. These relations, which appear as inter domain links in an AS topology graph, indicate the transfer of not only traffic but also economic value between ASes. The Internet AS ecosystem is highly dynamic, experiencing growth (birth of new ASes), rewiring (changes in the connectivity of existing ASes), as well as deaths (of existing ASes). The dynamics of the AS ecosystem are determined both by external business environment factors (such as the state of the global economy or the popularity of new Internet applications) and by complex incentives and objectives of each AS. Specifically, ASes attempt to optimize their utility or financial gains by dynamically changing, directly or indirectly, the ASes they interact with.

The goal of our study was to better understand this complex ecosystem, the behavior of entities that constitute it (ASes), and the nature of interactions between those entities (AS links). How has the Internet ecosystem been growing? Is growth a more significant factor than rewiring in the formation of new links? Is the population of transit providers increasing (implying diversification of the transit market) or decreasing (consolidation of the transit market)? As the Internet grows in its number of nodes and links, does the average AS-path length also increase? Which ASes engage in aggressive multihoming? Which ASes are especially active, i.e., constantly adjust their set of providers? Are there regional differences in how the Internet evolves?

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Targeted Serendipity: the Search for Storage

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 by josh

On the heels of our recent press release regarding fresh publications that  make use of the UCSD Network Telescope data, we would like to take a moment to thank the institutions that have helped preserve this data over the last eight years. Though we recently received an NSF award to enable  near-real-time sharing of this data as well as improved classification, the award does not cover the cost to maintain this historic archive. At current UCSD rates, the 104.66 TiB would cost us approximately $40,000 per year to store. This does not take into account the metadata we have collected which adds roughly 20 TB to the original data.  As a result, we had spent the last several months indexing this data in preparation for deleting it forever.

Then, last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Security at the Cyberborder Workshop in Indianapolis. This workshop focused on how the NSF-funded IRNC networks might (1) capture and articulate technical and policy cybersecurity considerations related to international research network connections, and (2) capture opportunities and challenges for the those connections to foster cybersecurity research.  I did not expect to find a new benefactor for storage of our telescope data at the workshop though, in fact, I did.

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