Kentik brings real-world business context to the telemetry we collect and the analytics we provide. That’s the overarching theme I got from Networking Field Day: Service Provider 2.
As I watched and listened to each presentation, it was pretty obvious to me that Avi, Steve, Doug, and Nina, all technical powerhouses, were a little less focused on packets and a little more focused on how we can improve network operations and a service provider’s ability to make smart business decisions.
What struck me was how the presenters explained Kentik’s technology. It was always in the context of what all this amazing telemetry, analytics, and data-crunching can do to help you, as a service provider, run your network smarter and provide a better service to your customers.
For example, Steve Meuse, a long-time solutions architect working with service providers, talked about how the network-centric perspective of ASNs, peering relationships, transit networks, etc. needs to change. Instead, our perspective needs to be on the actual services that run on top of all that cool technology.
Check out the screenshot from his presentation below. This is a graphic Steve snagged from the Kentik portal that shows a major outage from last year with ASN32934. Do you remember that outage? No? Neither do I. But I do remember the Facebook outage that happened at the exact same time and involved the exact same ASN. Real-world business context.
Nina Bargisen had her own take on this, too. Nina looked specifically at how to use Kentik to analyze traffic volume and quality to and from specific peers — specific ASNs — so that an engineer can be selective about who they peer with. An engineer could then actually conserve real, physical hardware resources to make the most out of the gear chugging along in the rack today. This has a direct impact on a service provider’s budget and ability to deliver services to their own customers. Real-world business context.
Doug Madory, Kentik’s director of internet analysis, introduced Kentik Market Intelligence, a SaaS business intelligence tool for understanding AS transit and peering relationships for any market in the world. To me, this was a break from Doug’s typical deep dive technical analyses into what’s happening on the internet, but in reality, it actually wasn’t.
You see, Kentik Market Intelligence starts with a deep dive into peering relationships and AS paths, but it presupposes (correctly) that each hop represents an actual business relationship. KMI asks the questions, “how much does this specific hop cost?”, and “how does a specific ASN compare to other ASNs in a similar market?”
Doug explained that with KMI, an engineer can make better business peering decisions, find future customers in specific markets, and determine who are the top retail, wholesale or backbone providers in any country. This is rich business context around Kentik’s very technical underlying analysis. Again, real-world business context.
Networking Field Day events are some of my favorites because I can nerd-out and talk packets and flows without shame. But this last NFD: Service Provider 2 brought that technical conversation to a new level. Yes, Doug got into the details of transit networks, and Steve’s presentation was like taking an online class, and Nina got into the weeds on peering. But it was awesome to see all that technical depth and analysis wrapped neatly in a real-world business context for service providers trying to run a business and deliver a great product to their customers.