RIPE NCC Review - Draft

  • To: ripe-list@localhost
  • From: k13@localhost (Rob Blokzijl)
  • Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1993 12:44:15 +0200
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			    RIPE NCC Review


			       R.Blokzijl
			       M.Sterba
			       W.Woeber

			  7 September 1993

			       Version 1


   1. Background

      The current activities of the RIPE NCC are guided by, and based upon,
      the document "RIPE NCC Activity Plan" [ref.: ripe-035]. This document
      was accepted by the RIPE community in May 1991 as the bases for a
      future RIPE NCC.

      Since April 1992 the RIPE NCC has been operational on the basis of the
      set of activities as described in ripe-035. 

      At the RIPE meeting of April 1993 it was decided that a review of the
      first year of operations would be a needed in order to determine
      whether

      a. the goals as put down in the Activity Plan have been met

      b. an update of said activity plan is needed

      This document gives a review of current operations of the RIPE NCC. An
      updated activity plan will be presented in a separate document.

      The document is structured in two parts. The first part gives a
      detailed evaluation of the individual activities, as defined
      in the Activity Plan. The second part contains remarks of a more
      general nature.



   2. Evaluation of Technical Activities

      2.1 Technical -- Coordination Activities

      2.1.1 The RIPE Database

            This task is performed by the NCC according to the Activity plan.
	    New objects and attributes have been added as agreed by the RIPE
	    community.  New tools for checking, maintaining and distributing
	    the database are being implemented. 
	    Reports are handled through the Quarterly Reports in an excellent
	    way.

      2.1.2 Distribution of the Database

	    The distribution of the database is handled well. The newly
	    developed software will  support consistency between primary and
	    secondary copies better.

      2.1.3 Coordination of Database exchange with other Organisations

	    This is permanently pursued. In cooperation with the Internic and
	    Merit an exchange format has been defined. Good progress has
	    been made, the delay in implementation of the actual exchanges is
	    not attributable to the RIPE NCC.

      2.1.4 Keep a record of IP connectivity in Europe

	    This is progressing, albeit slowly. However we think this activity
	    could be reviewed in the light of recent developments on the
	    organisational background of networking in Europe. A more
	    distributed approach could be advisable.

      2.1.5 Keep an inventory of IP infrastructures not yet interconnected

	    Basically this is done via the RIPE DB, though this could be only
	    up to date from the moment the NCC started registering IP
	    networks for Europe.

      2.1.6 Keep a record of operational contact points

	    This has been implemented by way of mailing distribution lists
	    that enable subscribed networks to keep in contact. 

      2.1.7 DNS Software

	    Operational issues are coordinated by the RIPE DNS WG. The NCC
	    maintains an archive of relevant software and documentation.

      2.1.8 Placement of name servers and backup servers in Europe, and
            beyond

	    From our experience, this currently appears to be a non-issue.
	    At least down to the level where central coordination and
	    checking can be done, there seem to be no major problems that
	    would call for allocation of NCC manpower.
	
      2.1.9 Gather traffic statistics and network performance data

	    Basically no progress has been made in these fields. It is our
	    opinion that these activities belong to various network
	    operators, not a central organisation such as the RIPE NCC. 
	    The RIPE NCC could provide a store facility for those providers
	    who wish to publish their statistical data on neutral ground.
	    However, the role of the RIPE NCC in gathering quality of service
	    data needs to be discussed by RIPE.


      2.2 Technical -- Development Activities

      2.2.1 DB Management Tools

	    The development of more sophisticated DB management tools has
	    been an ongoing activity, resulting in a very stable and able
	    database service. The definition of new tools has been done in
	    close cooperation with the RIPE Working groups on Routing,
	    Local-IR and DB, thus ensuring the fulfillment of user needs.

      2.2.2 DB Querying Tools

	    This has resulted in improved versions of client software that
	    are being used widely. Also the integration with most commonly
	    used information retrieval tools is excellent.

      2.2.3 Network Statistics and Performance gathering and presentation
            tools

	    Not much progress has been achieved. The need for these tools is
	    clear, but a more precise definition of the role, and the amount
	    of resources, of the RIPE NCC is needed.

      2.2.4 DNS Quality Control Tools

	    Tools are available from the RIPE NCC server. The NCC itself does
	    a monthly analysis of the European DNS space, resulting in the
	    famous hostcounts, and a set of comprehensive error reports for
	    all European domains. It is our opinion that further quality
	    control of the DNS space, is up to the responsible organisations
	    on a top level basis.

      2.2.5 Tools for drawing network diagrams

	    Basically no progress has been made in this area. A repository
	    and a common naming scheme for network maps have been implemented.
	    We do feel that the work should have some priority, but whether
	    it should be done by the RIPE NCC is debatable. A special project
	    might be more appropriate.

      
      2.3 Administrative -- RIPE Activity Support

      2.3.1 Keeping the RIPE document store

	    This has been implemented in an extremely friendly way for the end
	    users: all commonly available information retrieval tools give
	    access to the document store. The documentstore itself is kept up
	    to date, and has been implemented in a well structured way.

      2.3.2 Technical and secretarial support for studies undertaken by RIPE

	    This has been working quite well. We should probably try to put
	    in place a chasing mechanism for work items issued from RIPE 
	    meetings i.e. more follow-up on the WG's and WG chairs.

      2.3.3 Organisational support for RIPE meetings

	    This works extremely well, and has substantially augmented the
	    productivity of the RIPE meetings.


      2.4 Administrative - Reporting

      2.4.1 Quarterly reports on all activities will be produced for the RIPE
            participating organisations and the RARE CoA

      2.4.2 Quarterly reports on outstanding problems will be produced for
            the RIPE participating organisations and the RARE CoA

	    We conclude that excellent quarterly reports have been produced
	    in a timely fashion. They consist of detailed descriptions of the
	    accomplishments of the RIPE NCC, a discussion of outstanding
	    problems, and excellent overviews of the state of the Internet in
	    Europe. They not only serve as administrative reportings, but
	    also as reference material for network administrators and
	    operators.

      2.4.3 the NCC reports on its ongoing work and outstanding problems
            also to each RIPE meeting.

	    This has been done at each RIPE meeting. Especially presentation
	    of outstanding problems is of importance, since in most cases
	    participation and decision by RIPE is needed to resolve them.

      2.4.4 The NCC will produce annual reports

	    At the time of writing of this report, the first RIPE NCC annual
	    report has just been produced.


   3. General comments

      We have concluded that the RIPE NCC has in its first year of operations
      achieved the goals that were aimed at back in 1991. The flying start of
      most of the activities within the first few weeks of operations has
      been extremely impressive. Even more impressive has been the way the
      RIPE NCC staff has been able to keep up the momentum.

      A careful analysis of the original Activity Plan has shown that in a
      few areas the progress has not been as was foreseen. We recommend that
      RIPE has a careful look at these areas and decides on their relative
      importance for the near future.

      On the other hand, we have found that certain areas of activity have
      taken much more resources then was originally foreseen. The activities
      concern mainly the IP Registry function of the RIPE NCC. It is
      interesting to notice that this activity is not even explicitly
      mentioned in the Activity Plan!

      Another area that the current activity plan has not foreseen is the
      involvement of the RIPE NCC in special projects. This requires
      resources on the management level and on the technical level. Though
      the projects are formally separately staffed and funded, the fact that
      they are housed in the RIPE NCC automatically means that some NCC
      resources go into these projects. This has been intentional, but it is
      not covered by the Activity Plan.

      We conclude that the RIPE NCC has become a focal point for development
      activities in many areas of Internet technology. We therefore strongly
      recommend that RIPE defines a new Activity Plan for the RIPE NCC, taking
      into account the analysis above, and the actual set of activities of the
      RIPE NCC as they have developed over the first year of operations.


   4. Acknowledgements

      We would like to thank the following persons for their involvement in
      preparing this report:

	Daniel Karrenberg 	dfk@localhost
	Tony Bates 		tony@localhost
	Anne Lord 		anne@localhost
	Marten Terpstra 	marten@localhost
	Daniele Bovio 		hi@localhost
	Nandor Horvath 		horvath@localhost
	Francis Dupont 		<francis.dupont@localhost
	Jean-Michel Jouanigot 	jimi@localhost
	Bernhard Stockman 	boss@localhost
	Blasco Bonito 		bonito@localhost
	Vladimir Vrabec 	vrabec@localhost
	Geza Turchanyi 		turchanyi@localhost
	Ruediger Volk 		rv@localhost
	Roland Acra 		acra@localhost