Home / Blogs

Tracking Outages

Virendra Rode

The idea of tracking data outages spawned from an early discussion on the outages forum including feedback from an outages survey about having a status page for (un)planned outages as a central resource. The purpose of such effort is to have a wider focus that one could view as opposed to having to check dozens of provider status pages.

There were many ideas put forth but nothing really panned out and things kinda fell on the back burner.

Some of the questions raised during these discussions were:

  • This effort will require community support. We can't imagine having insight into every planned and unplanned outages.
  • Initially we see this effort having an administrative/scaleability burden since we'll need (trusted or vetted) folks who can keep it current/meaningful.
  • Since providers (carriers, colo, hosting, etc) guard their (un)planned outages close to their chest, not sure even as a customer, one can release the information to a public calendar when you as a customer are bound by their policy.

For further read you can checkout the results of this survey at outages blog site.

So how do we move forward? Basically we had to start somewhere.

Twitter is the first place people go when a major event takes place, especially major downtime events. External monitoring is limited by the transactions you define, and passive monitoring doesn't tell you when people can't access your site or API.

Crowdsourcing your monitoring may end up being the only way for major online services to know when something is wrong.

After months of tinkering we came up with tracker which is an initiative to crowdsource information about data outages critical to Internet Infrastructure. The project aims to crowdsource, primarily from twitter and other mediums like Web, Email(s), Smartphone Apps. The primary aim of tracker will be to collect data from people and make it accessible in various formats and provide it back for public use if interested. Our focus will be aimed at large-scale network-savvy content providers, access networks, global internet peering ecosystem, DNS root servers, major carrier failures, major data center, carrier hotel, COs, etc.

Tracker data is crowd sourced and is licensed under Public Domain Dedication and License, which means anyone is free:

  1. To Share: To copy, distribute and use the database.
  2. To Create: To produce works from the database.
  3. To Adapt: To modify, transform and build upon the database.

Without any restriction, as the data is generated by the crowd (people) it belongs to them.

What's the point?

This has many potential uses in developing a better understanding of demand for network availability; users can hopefully use the data to ask their providers pointed questions.

Why?

Well that's because (IMO), it makes sense that since the end user is the final determiner of the status of the Internet. It is the end user that will be affected, it seems reasonable to gather information from a user perspective. The key of all this is to be sure that whatever information is collected is relevant to the condition of the Critical Internet Resources.

The 64 bit question is, how can we engage and /or encourage providers to be more forthcoming and report outages w/o being concerned about the bottom line and instead put their customer's interest first? I will even go on a limb and say this, its matter of time the heavy handedness of government aka "regulation" will force companies into a corner if things continue when it comes to close door outages reporting and this will further diminish the "free market".

Given the reluctance of the providers to publicly report their service as "bad", especially if not everyone has to report on the same basis and/or the measurement is not universally recognized. Even with the existence of a protective agreement, no one wants to report.

I really hope that network service providers, carriers and network operators around the globe will see the benefit of tracker as an unbiased central source and take a lead by posting events so everyone could benefit from it — including themselves. It seemed reasonable that providers should report outages as opposed to having external sources report them that "impact the end-user community".

These aren't issues we will solve immediately. They take time to build and they will ebb and flow. But as you diligently pursue staying on top of them, you will be locking in that legacy you desire for others to participate.

As I like to say, "we engineers shape networks, and afterwards outages shape us”.

Grateful thanks!

By Virendra Rode, Network Consultant

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Data Center, Networks, Telecom

 
   

Don't miss a thing – get the Weekly Wrap delivered to your inbox.

Comments

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Explore Topics

Dig Deeper

DNS Security

Sponsored by Afilias

Mobile Internet

Sponsored by Afilias Mobile & Web Services

IP Addressing

Sponsored by Avenue4 LLC

Cybersecurity

Sponsored by Verisign

Promoted Posts

Buying or Selling IPv4 Addresses?

ACCELR/8 is a transformative IPv4 market solution developed by industry veterans Marc Lindsey and Janine Goodman that enables organizations buying or selling blocks as small as /20s to keep pace with the evolving demands of the market by applying processes that have delivered value for many of the largest market participants. more»

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

Attacks Decrease by 23 Precent in 1st Quarter While Peak Attack Sizes Increase: DDoS Trends Report

2016 U.S. Election: An Internet Forecast

Verisign Releases Q2 2016 DDoS Trends Report - Layer 7 DDoS Attacks a Growing Trend

Verisign Q1 2016 DDoS Trends: Attack Activity Increases 111 Percent Year Over Year

Mobile Web Intelligence Report: Bots and Crawlers May Represent up to 50% of Web Traffic

Data Volumes and Network Stress to Be Top IoT Concerns

Verisign Mitigates More Attack Activity in Q3 2015 Than Any Other Quarter During Last Two Years

Dyn Evolves Internet Performance Space with Launch of Internet Intelligence

Verisign's Q2'15 DDoS Trends: DDoS for Bitcoin Increasingly Targets Financial Industry

Protect Your Network From BYOD Malware Threats With The Verisign DNS Firewall

Verisign iDefense 2015 Cyber-Threats and Trends

3 Questions to Ask Your DNS Host About DDoS

Afilias Partners With Internet Society to Sponsor Deploy360 ION Conference Series Through 2016

Neustar to Build Multiple Tbps DDoS Mitigation Platform

Nominum Announces Future Ready DNS

3 Questions to Ask Your DNS Host about Lowering DDoS Risks

Tips to Address New FFIEC DDoS Requirements

Is Your Organization Prepared for a Cyberattack?

24 Million Home Routers Expose ISPs to Massive DNS-Based DDoS Attacks

Ofcom Benchmarking UK Broadband Performance Welcomed, But Needs Considerable Improvement