Network Management: Multi-homing Problems

VoicenData Bureau
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The Internet continues to grow, with seemingly no end in sight. As more data

traverses the global IP backbone, the need for continuous connectivity and

reliable data access becomes more crucial. To ensure constant Internet access,

networks ranging from a corporate entity to e-commerce sites are deploying

multiple nternet connections, usually through multiple Internet service

providers (ISPs). This network architecture is commonly referred to as

multi-homing. Although this design creates a more resilient network and Internet

access model, it also introduces certain complexities that are not always easily

resolved. To help manage traffic in such a network design, an Internet link

application switch can guarantee full connectivity–delivering reliable, high

performing and cost-effective connectivity for uninterrupted enterprise



With the increased level of competition amongst enterprises, customers will

not stand for performance degradation. Route control solutions deliver reliable

and continuous Internet access and content assurance in gigabit speeds.

End-users benefit from fast content delivery and IT overhead is reduced by the

optimal usage of bandwidth based on cost.


For Guaranteed Connectivity

Is there

a thing called 100 percent availability?

Yes, as long as you don’t put all your network eggs in one basket. To
build a fail-safe site you must disperse content–use different ISPs in

different locations–and then you can look for 100 percent availability.

Essentially, you are ensuring that content is not exposed to the same


What do

load balancers, in general, bring to the site/service stability party?

Generically load balancers enable 100 percent availability for a specific
set of devices, whilst also providing a granularity of management and

control over the traffic to ensure an optimum customer experience. An

add-on can be bandwidth management.

What does

clustering bring to the site/service party?

In theory, it promises high availability, but there are limitations.
Clustering requires the customer to use the same vendor or product, which

may not be as feature-rich as third-party solutions.


solution is better for load balancing–software or hardware?

Hardware provides a more manageable solution and requires less resource.
When using software you run into clustering issues when matching different

vendors and products. A hardware solution is agnostic as to what

platform/OS a device is running on.

What are

the alternatives to load balancing, clustering and IP traffic management?

Apart from big strong boxes there isn’t one. And then when you rely on
big strong boxes you are always open to human error–somebody spilling

coffee on the equipment or the cleaner pulling the plug.


Round Robin a viable option for balancing a server load?

No. It’s old fashioned and not intelligent. For instance, it will
continue to send requests to a server that doesn’t exist–not a viable

option for mission-critical business applications.

Is there

a real business mileage for a Web-based global load balancing management

service outsourced to a third party?

Yes, and companies are doing it. In my view it is the next wave. First we
had connectivity, then security, and now we are seeing the development of

highly resilient global solutions.

Enterprises today are faced with the challenge of providing cost-effective

bandwidth over access links. Simply supplying more bandwidth, however, does not

solve the problem since delays often result from the content that must pass

several network elements from the content provider to the enterprise. So one

needs to look for connectivity solutions that provide content gateway services

with intelligent caching and bandwidth management that streamlines content

delivery to users and reduces bandwidth consumption and costs.


It is important that the solution provides load balancing between service

providers without the need for coordination between them. Features that are

particularly important here include: application, Web and content switching;

optimal content routing that ensures the fastest inbound and outbound content

delivery using a proven proximity detection method. Other features include

simplified management of IP address ranges assigned to the network by various

ISPs, and provision for user-defined algorithms. Also important is the ability

to combine link availability, link load and link speed to make load-balancing

decisions. A full-featured solution can increase link availability by monitoring

the health of all the defined paths within the service provider network

directing traffic around any failed links, bandwidth management and enhanced

application security.

The solution should use optimal content routing to ensure that information is

transmitted through the best performing link. For ISPs, it should ensure the

fastest content delivery as well as high scalability and network availability.

It should enable ISPs to provide better response performance by redirecting

users through the best performing link to the backbone each time. In large

enterprises, it should keep the routing of multiple links simple by

transparently redirecting traffic through optimal links with no need for user


Nikhil Karan Taneja, country manager–India and SAARC Radware (India)


Trends that Will Drive the Storage Management Software Market

Latest research from IDC has noted a 74 percent increase in the storage management software market in India, from $8.5 million in 2000 to $14.8 million in 2001. This market will be fuelled by the development of Internet data centers (IDCs), the greater awareness of the need for data recovery solutions, opening up of banking and insurance sectors, and demand for 24x7x365 business continuance. Talking about the key market trends beyond the year 2002, a market research company suggests that the demand for storage management software will be triggered off by the drop in prices for storage devices, which is expected to stimulate the purchasing cycle. Also, large enterprises are expected to improve their business processes by investing in enterprise applications that will encourage demand for storage devices and storage management software.

IDC says that the storage management software market has attracted a significant amount of interest with recent worldwide events and local governments encouraging businesses to invest in disaster-recovery solutions. There is a uniform sustained interest in storage management software solutions, but expectedly growth rates are lower in countries, such as Australia and Singapore, where purchasing of storage capacity and management software have been integrated into normal business IT practices and budgets over the years. 

As for vendor standing, according to IDC, in the Asia-Pacific region EMC topped the overall storage software market, almost doubling its revenue base between 2000 and 2001, to reach a market share of 33 percent. Veritas and Computer Associates followed behind in close succession to each other, with market shares of 15 and 10 percent, respectively. IDC states that strong growth rates were recorded by Veritas (56 percent) and Legato (55 percent), as well as StorageTek (61 percent) and Sun Microsystems (67 percent), albeit from a smaller revenue base. Looking forward, IDC says, the competition in the market will become more intense, particularly from these two players, who have both cited storage software as a key focus area from 2002 onwards.