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Developments at the RIPE NCC

  • To: NCC Contributors < >
  • From: Daniel Karrenberg < >
  • Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 17:25:58 +0100
  • Cc: Local Internet Registries in Europe < >

Dear customers and colleagues,

once again it is time for one of my (ir)regular messages about the
latest developments at the RIPE NCC.  I hope it is one of the last ones
serving as an informal report as we plan to start the formal quarterly
reports again soon.  See below for more details. 


European Internet
-----------------

During 1995 the European Internet has roughly doubled in terms of DNS
registered hosts as you can see from the excerpt of the RIPE NCC
hostcount below.  The number of hosts at the end of December 1995 is
2.14 times larger than the number at the end of December 1994.  These
are exciting times!  For details see ftp://ftp.ripe.net/ripe/hostcount/.


                Count      Delta    Delta %      Q Delta    Q Delta %
  -------------------------------------------------------------------
  
  Dec 1994    1029270    + 56170    +  5.8%      +140872       +15.9%
  
  Jan 1995    1106077    + 76780    +  7.5%
  Feb 1995    1197911    + 91807    +  8.3%
  Mar 1995    1326078    +128116    + 10.7%      +296703       +28.8%
  Apr 1995    1375921    + 49805    +  3.7%
  May 1995    1463816    + 87896    +  6.4%
  Jun 1995    1550520    + 87287    +  5.9%      +224988       +16.9%
  Jul 1995    1694978    +144472    +  9.3%
  Aug 1995    1773680    + 79205    +  4.7%   
  Sep 1995    1830389    + 56709    +  3.2%      +280386       +18.1% 
  Oct 1995    1928380    + 97991    +  5.4%
  Nov 1995    1999997    + 71617    +  3.7%
  Dec 1995    2206360    +199419    + 10.0%      +369027       +20.2%   


Local Registries
----------------

The number of local registries has also roughly doubled in 1995; 
there are 2.18 times more registries than last year:


                   Q4      Q1    Q2    Q3    Q4   Projected
                 1994    1995  1995  1995  1995        1995

      Large ISP    17      17    19    25    28          22
     Medium ISP    28      31    35    36    40          42
      Small ISP    51      84   119   159   196         188
     Enterprise    14      15    17    15    16          20
    Last Resort    31      32    32    30    28          32

          TOTAL   141     179   222   265   308         304


It is remarkable that the growth of the number of registries so closely
follows the growth of the net as measured by the hostcount.  From these
measures one cannot deduce concentration tendencies in Internet service
provision.  We are also quite satisfied that the actual numbers are
quite close to the predictions we made in Q2 of the year.  This gives us
some confidence in our planning. 

For the NCC staff, as for anyone else in the Internet business, this
growth has meant a tremendous amount of work, not least in
training and integrating new colleagues and working with all those new
customers. 

Luckily the financial position of the NCC has also become much more
stable than at this time last year; this provides sufficient material
resources to cope with the growth.  While final figures for 1995 are not
available yet, we expect to close the year with financial reserves which
provide a good basis for NCC operations in the foreseeable future.
In December last year we have issued invoices for 1996 fees to all
established registries.  We have been pleasantly surprised by the
considerable amounts we have already received.  Thank you to those of
you paying in time.  Will the others please follow that example. ;-)


Registration Services
---------------------

The junior hostmasters who started in the second half of 1995 are now
fully up-to-speed in handling requests.  Ticketing and the first manual
implementation of work flow management are paying off.  In the beginning
of December we succeeded to eliminate the permanent queue of requests
not yet assigned to a hostmaster which had been in operation since early
in the year.  Customers started to make pleasant remarks about the
turn-around time of requests again.  This was a major milestone for
registration services.  We are using this breathing space to further
train the registration services staff, to convert some manually kept
internal databases to machine processable format and to introduce the
automated work flow management system.  The latter changes should be
fully transparent to the customers while the former should enable each
hostmaster to take more personal responsibilities for allocation and
assignment decisions. 

Because the number of people and resources used by registration services
are substantial we have decided to make a start at changing the flat
organisational structure of the NCC in this area.  From January 1st this
year Mirjam Kuehne has been appointed "Manager Registration Services". 
Mirjam is responsible for day to day operations in this area with all
registration services staff reporting to her. 


Other Activities
----------------

A beta release of the database software has been produced.  It includes
code for running secondary (shadow) databases in almost real time as
well as other improvements. 

Several local IR training courses have been presented and were received 
well.

The RIPE NCC information servers are getting a total overhaul in a
project executed by the school for communications systems of Utrecht
university.  Very little of that is visible at this point but much work
is being done behind the scenes.  If you would like to influence the
work, consider completing the survey at
http://www.ripe.net/ripe/usurv.html. 

In conjunction with this project address space assignment and allocation
procedures are being re-written at this point in order to provide up to
date documentation to local registries in a single document.  An editing
committee recruited from the local-IR working group is helping with this
task. A draft is expected to appear shortly and will be discussed at the
RIPE meeting.


Behind the Scenes
-----------------

The RIPE NCC computing infrastructure has seen a lot of necessary
replacements as the original hardware is nearing the end of its useful
life.  We are in the process of re-implementing large parts of the
workstation and server environments in order to keep up with changes at
the NCC and in the Internet.  The computer room servers have been moved
to four large 19 inch racks which provides more room and improves
reliability.  New server hardware based on industrial PCs has been
purchased and partially deployed.  RAID systems are being tested. 


New Staff
---------

After a long search the NCC finally has a business manager!  The search
has been longer and more difficult as expected even considering the
current circumstances in the Internet world.  Not so surprisingly two
very promising candidates who had been offered the position decided to
join Internet service providers at the last minute, one of them even at
the last second.  But all is well than ends well! 

Dr. Carol Orange has been appointed RIPE NCC business manager as of today 
and will be responsible for financial planning and control, general
customer relations and the quarterly reports.  Carol joins us from
Utrecht university where she has led the abovementioned project to
redesign the NCC's information servers.  She will work part-time until
the end of March when she will have completed long term commitments at
Utrecht university.  Carol who is originally from Portland Oregon has
been living in Amsterdam since 1986.  The list of her former employers
includes Lucasfilm and CWI.  She has been getting her fingers dirty with
technical work in those positions and hopes to find an excuse to do that
from time to time in the future.  She has been teaching juggling to
people working at the NCC campus since 1987. 


Also today Naomi de Bruyn joins the NCC as a full time secretary.  Naomi
will be our "receptionist" answering the phone and dealing with general
messages to ncc@localhost.  She will also be responsible for a number
of internal administrative tasks and help with the organisation of
meetings and courses.  Naomi has previously worked for the TERENA
secretariat on a temporary basis. 
	

Next Period
-----------

During the first quarter of this year we plan to further consolidate
registration services and finally begin starting other activities which
have been dormant.  We will also put effort into the development of
alternative charging models and start to investigate areas where
technical work by the NCC is needed.  Finally we plan to present a real
quarterly report for the first quarter sometime in April. 


All of us here at the RIPE NCC wish you a good and successful year.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards

Daniel Karrenberg
RIPE NCC Manager


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