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Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
Thanks: 18
Registered: 09-09-2007

Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Hi all,
The traffic management platform <a href="http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,91720.0.html">problems experienced today</a> have raise a very important issue other than the inexcusable fact Plusnet's network infrastructure hosting the failed hard disk containing the database seemingly had no inbuilt redundancy and that is the classification of website content hosted on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_delivery_network">Content Delivery Networks or Content Distribution Networks</a> or as they otherwise known as CDN's.
Currently all <a href="http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/download_servers.shtml">content/data/files hosted on CDN's</a> is treated the same way regardless of the type of site it belongs too and this is where the problem lies.
I think it’s fair to say the average user would expect traffic from download sites such as <a href="http://rapidshare.com/">RapidShare</a> and <a href="http://www.megaupload.com/">MegaUpload</a> to be managed more aggressively much the same as they would expect traffic file sharing or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer">Peer-to-Peer</a> site such as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_%28protocol%29">BitTorrent</a> downloads which can attribute to a massive amount of data and swamp networks. However they do not expect or want data from a seemingly ‘normal’ sites such the BBC, Amazon or eBay to be classified in the same was as file sharing or P2P.
Additionally we must allow for the fact that some <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_delivery_network#Commercial_CDNs_using_P2P_for_delivery">CDN's utilise P2P</a> to improve the performance and efficiency of their network infrastructure and distribution. Not only that but the usage and the type of content hosted on CDN's is also changing. Originally CDN's were once only the domain of larger more wealthy site owners and used to host large files for download or multimedia such as video for streaming. Now as costs come down and CDN's also become more accessible to smaller site owners they are hosting much smaller files such as CSS, JavaScript and images in order to speed up their websites, improve user experience and as part of their overall SEO strategy.
Currently as it stands and If I have understood this all correctly Plusnet customers are being penalised unfairly by being classed in the same category as heavy users of the network.
I think it is only fair that content/data/traffic from CDN's should be graded and profiled accordingly e.g. a. the type of website it originates from b. the data type c. the overall size of the data/file e.t.c.
I hope this all makes sense, It's been a long day staring at this screen. I just thought It was an important subject that deserved some discussion.
DM.  Smiley
KABOOM!
15 REPLIES
Force9Original
Grafter
Posts: 352
Registered: 05-02-2010

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Its the potential exponential growth of the seemingly ‘normal’ sites thats going to cause the greatest future issues......
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

the information is not complete and fluid, i.e. BBC Iplayer used to be P2P but now isnt, but the PN list is here http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/download_servers.shtml and was last updated in May
elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
Thanks: 18
Registered: 09-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Quote from: Force9Original
Its the potential exponential growth of the seemingly ‘normal’ sites thats going to cause the greatest future issues......

Absolutely right, this realisation is what triggered me to start this topic.
DM.
KABOOM!
elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
Thanks: 18
Registered: 09-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Quote from: pierre_pierre
the information is not complete and fluid, i.e. BBC Iplayer used to be P2P but now isnt, but the PN list is here http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/download_servers.shtml and was last updated in May

Yup, this is the most <a href="http://www.mytestbox.com/miscellaneous/content-delivery-networks-cdn-list/">up-to-date listing of CDN's</a> I have found so far.
DM.
KABOOM!
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

can you check your link, didnt work for me.
Dont forget that PN assign some special types, as they do for the Gamers
elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
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Registered: 09-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

eh? Special types of what?  Huh
KABOOM!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

I want to stress that I haven't been hit particularly badly with today's TM issue, and I broadly agree with the principle of TM (even if I get hit by some obscurities sometimes).
But I do want to say that I agree with DM's post here - that PlusNet need to reconsider the positioning of CDNs within their TM scheme.

  • At the very least, the inclusion of CDN within TM needs to be highlighted better than its current position, hidden within the "Download Servers" and "Download Sites". Even hidden within that section, it isn't clear which traffic categorisation applies!

  • Because a CDN, by its nature, is invisible to the end-users, it is worthless listing the CDN by name - even if that is technically the most correct. The impact to end-users is on the service they are trying to use (BBC, Ebay etc), and not on the CDN system chosen.

  • DM is right - many more websites are starting to use CDNs as a way of giving their end-users a better experience by having their website load faster, even for simple aspects. This conicides with an aim of the CDNs to get the content to be delivered from a point closest to end-user, a cache, that effectively makes more efficient use of "the internet" as a whole. TM of CDNs subverts both aims.

So I agree with the statement that Traffic Management of the CDN needs to apply according to the type of service that is being cached, rather than with an assumption of being a mass download.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Fletch
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 08-08-2008

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

This is worth discussing, and we have reviewed CDN positioning a number of times.  Right now we won't be making any changes to the positioning of CDN's in our Traffic Management design - however this is likely to change in 2011, as we update our traffic management platform.  Right now we are somewhat restricted in the decisions we make due to the availability and processing of signatures, which means we can't be as granular as we like with certain services.  As Dave blogged last week http://community.plus.net/blog/2010/12/17/new-plusnet-broadband-network/ we are increasing the capacity of our network.  This change will enable us to scale more efficiently, and combined with the new traffic management platform will enable us to review how we position CDNs to improve performance of video related services etc.
We do manage capacity at Plusnet in order to keep costs down and deliver a good service (I know I'm going to take some stick for that given today's issues, but I'm pleased with our overall service and the differentiation the different products provide).  However, if customers don't feel the support pages are clear enough about CDN's then I'm happy to take this away and review with the team.
Thanks,
Fletch
Force9Original
Grafter
Posts: 352
Registered: 05-02-2010

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

With the onset of FTTC & YouView its going to be very interesting
WBMC
elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
Thanks: 18
Registered: 09-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Quote from: Fletch
This is worth discussing, and we have reviewed CDN positioning a number of times.  Right now we won't be making any changes to the positioning of CDN's in our Traffic Management design - however this is likely to change in 2011, as we update our traffic management platform.  Right now we are somewhat restricted in the decisions we make due to the availability and processing of signatures, which means we can't be as granular as we like with certain services.  As Dave blogged last week http://community.plus.net/blog/2010/12/17/new-plusnet-broadband-network/ we are increasing the capacity of our network.  This change will enable us to scale more efficiently, and combined with the new traffic management platform will enable us to review how we position CDNs to improve performance of video related services etc.
We do manage capacity at Plusnet in order to keep costs down and deliver a good service (I know I'm going to take some stick for that given today's issues, but I'm pleased with our overall service and the differentiation the different products provide).  However, if customers don't feel the support pages are clear enough about CDN's then I'm happy to take this away and review with the team.
Thanks,
Fletch

Hi Fletch, firstly thanks for an informative response.
I'm a little worried you may be focusing on large files, video etc... The majority of problems I was experiencing today were on sites with zero video and web pages consisting of elements I would not consider large by any stretch of the imagination. Content types contained in these pages were typically images, CSS, html, JavaScript i.e. NO large files. Small as they were just because they were hosted on CDN's the website's in question took ages to load or more typically timed out completely.
In essence what I am saying you need to focus on being able to transmit normal sized page elements satisfactorily before you even think of moving on to video and other larger files.
These pages weren't just loading slowly they were not loading at all! you were aware of that fact weren't you? Now I come of think of it what kind of configuration is the default profile set as if that is the net result?
DM.
KABOOM!
Fletch
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 08-08-2008

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

No I do agree on the small file point, and I was aware of the level of pain customers where feeling in not being able to browse effectively.  (I've obviously make recommendation to friends about our service and I've come home to a couple of frustrated emails etc!)  I think you've hit the nail on the head in the last point - the default profile we need to look at the configuration of the default profile, and the experience it delivers as it clearly isn't acceptable.  I've responded in relation to that on the main thread in relations to the Traffic Management issues today.
Thanks,
Fletch
elementaltm
Rising Star
Posts: 103
Thanks: 18
Registered: 09-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Ok. thanks Fletch.
DM.
KABOOM!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

Thanks for the answer there Fletch. I read that as "message received".
Thanks too for the link to dave's blog post - I hadn't seen that over the weekend (Bob's "There's an app for that" post is still at the top of the homepage).
That looks to be a very serious switch into the 21CN architecture
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
glocal
Grafter
Posts: 86
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Registered: 11-09-2007

Re: Traffic Management and CDN's @Plusnet

It will be interesting to see how recent neutrality developments in the US and Ofcom's consultation will impact on ISPs in the UK. I wouldn't be surprised seeing traffic agnostic volume charging coming back if services/content type discrimination is not allowed.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12046874
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/23/internet-regulators