James Blessing is currently CTO of Keycom PLC, a managed services provider. He has over twenty years of experience in internet technologies. Previously he was Strategic Relations Manager, EMEA at Limelight Networks, COO at Entanet, technical support manager and technical development manager at Zen Internet; senior project manager at Eunite; senior producer at Kiss102 and Kiss105; and a technical director at Net Nannies.
As a member of the RIPE community for many years I have been involved in the community driven process and I am standing to make sure that the community's voice is always heard at the board level.
I studied Business Information Technology at the University of Twente and worked for the University Computing Center as a networks and systems developer in the late 1990s. During that period, I was also a member of the University Council, chairman of the university ISP and architect for the then fastest consumer Internet access network in the world, CampusNET 2.
In 1999, I was the co-author of 2 business plans: NDIX and Virtu.
I've been CTO of NDIX (Nederlands Duitse Internet Exchange), responsible for architecture and technical strategy from 2000 until 2009. NDIX was the first Internet Exchange spanning across an international border, with the intention to draw more networks to the area promoting regional development. NDIX has evolved into an exchange platform connecting a great diversity of companies across a multitude of cities in the East of the Netherlands and the states of Nordrhein/Westfalen and Niedersachsen in Germany. During that same time, I was founder and co-MD of Virtu, a Dutch datacenter company. After Virtu was taken over by Equinix in 2008, I was country manager for the Netherlands for a while and I'm now in charge of interconnection for Equinix in the EMEA region.
I'm an active contributor to the European Association of Internet Exchanges, EURO-IX, involving myself mostly with network design challenges, the European datacenter market and regulatory affairs. I'm co-author of a few RFCs, including RFC 5452, to upgrade the security of current DNS (non-DNSSEC) implementations against Kaminsky-style attacks and the widely used prank-RFC 2322.
I've designed and built large open-air networks (among which were HAL2001 and the Lowlands Music Festival) and am a co-author of the Linux Advanced Routing Howto.
Other past sins include SMB2WWW, a web front-end for SMB-based filesharing and HIP Radio, probably the worlds first MP3 network streaming software, late 1996. I'm a regular speaker at conferences and RIPE meetings and advisor to various government organisations on Internet-related affairs.
When I'm not sitting on a plane, attending conferences or taking over the world I live near Deventer, the Netherlands with my wife, two daughters and two cats.
When I got elected to the RIPE NCC board I was unsurprisingly appointed as treasurer. With the global financial crisis, we've had to rethink the way we manage the reserves of the RIPE NCC, moving away from a strategy of risk avoidance to risk minimization. While the finances of the RIPE NCC are now more hotly debated than before I got elected, I think that's a good thing and it improves interaction with the membership who we're representing. There is a thin line between overcharging the membership and ensuring long term stability and I would certainly encourage more feedback from a broader part of the membership about what they think are services that the NCC should provide. I spent a lot of time on the new charging scheme, the result of which was adopted at the previous General meeting. With IPv4 now depleted in the service region, the next few years will see the RIPE NCC move through an evolution in the role it plays in the Internet community and I'd like to continue on the board to see that process to completion. As always, I'm very much open to your thoughts and ideas so feel free to reach out to me at any time.
I graduated from Oxford university in Engineering Science and Economics, more years ago than I care to remember and started work at BT's research labs in Martlesham Heath in Suffolk, UK, where I worked for a number of years on several different projects, eventually gravitating towards the new-fangled internet protocol in the late 1980s. I played a part in the bringing of the internet to the UK, and Europe, by arranging for BT to be a substantial player in the early days and by designing and operating the first (unofficial) BT email relay, shifting email between BT's internal systems and the internet. After helping to design and operate BT's first commercial internet service I left to design and oversee the applications services (DNS, Email, NTP and Usenet news) in Level 3's new European network. The advent of ethernet over IP led to my becoming one of the founders of PacketExchange, a company which set out to exploit the technology. From there I went on to become peering manager for FLAG Telecom and then finally to Easynet, where I am today. My current job involves the purchase of all transit for Easynet, and the managing of peering relationships, with an annual budget of several million euros. On the way I found time to help found the London InterNet eXchange (LINX) and serve on its board for 12 years, to found Nominet (the UK registry), to act as co-chair for the Database Working group, to launch 6UK (an organisation dedicated to encouraging IPv6 use by businesses in the UK), and, of course, to serve on the RIPE NCC board, where I am currently the Chairman. I have been active in the RIPE organisation, having co-authored a number of policy proposals related to transfer policy, fair run-out, certification, and recovery and re-use of IPv4 resources.
My company fully supports the (considerable) amount of time that I dedicate to serving the internet community.
During my time on the RIPE NCC board we have seen some very difficult economic times, but during that period I have tried to steer an even course between the needs of the RIPE community on the one hand, and the needs of the RIPE NCC members on the other. Much of the time these interests coincide, but I try never to forget that fact that the board is ultimately answerable to the members, and are elected to represent their interests and to maintain the RIPE NCC as a viable organisation, with the ability to efficiently carry out its main function: the allocation of internet number resources. During the time I have been Chairman of the Board I have also tried to move forward with measures intended to improve the representation of the members. I am particularly proud of the fact that measures introduced during my time as Chairman have increased representation at Board elections to over 300 votes.
Of course the most important thing to hit the RIPE NCC in the last 3 years is the exhaustion of the IPv4 free pool. Thanks to measures approved by the Board, the finally runout went without hitch. We are now faced with the gradual phasing out of the IPv4 protocol itself, which will have ongoing effects on the management and finance of the RIPE NCC.
I'd like to see this out and so I would ask you to return me to the board for a further three years. Please feel free to speak to me or contact me at any time. I value your opinions.