Cooperation in Internet data acquisition and analysis
The Internet is emerging from a sheltered adolescence, growing at exponential proportions, full of potential and promise, but still relatively ignorant of the real world. It now faces a crossroads. Citizens, corporations and governments are waking to the opportunities presented by a truly connected global economy, and reexamining fundamental principles of intellectual property law and communications in light of the realities of cyberspace. Organizational behavior and boundaries, business practices and financial systems are also adapting to the new medium. Society is at the forefront of the information revolution.
The number of North American Internet service providers pioneering this revolution now stands at over 3,000, approximately a dozen of which qualify as national backbone providers. Internationally, the number of Internet hosts has almost doubled over the year ending July 1996, reaching 12,881,000. Domains quadrupled over this period to 488,000.1/ Competition is fierce among the builders and operators of this nascent infrastructure, driven by demands for additional capacity and new customers. However, neither the industry nor the research community that developed and nurtured the early Internet are spending significant attention on assessing current robustness or future capacity needs.
This paper has three goals. We first provide background on the current Internet architecture and describe why measurements are a key element in the development of a robust and financially successful commercial Internet. We then discuss the current state of Internet metrics analysis and steps underway within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as well as other arenas to encourage the development and deployment of Internet performance monitoring and workload characterization tools. Finally, we offer a model for a cooperative association for Internet data analysis among Internet competitors.