Designed at the dawn of the commercial internet, the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is a policy-based routing protocol that has long been an established part of the internet infrastructure. Historically, BGP was primarily of interest to ISPs and hosting service providers whose revenue depends on delivering traffic.
More recently, as we saw with Facebook’s historic outage, monitoring BGP proactively has become equally important for digital enterprises and web businesses. That’s because their user experience and revenue streams depend on reliable, high-performance internet traffic delivery. To help our customers manage this critical element of network performance, Kentik now includes BGP performance monitoring as part of the Kentik Network Observability Cloud.
While free and commercial solutions for monitoring BGP have existed for several years, there was something that compelled many of our customers to nudge us towards building our own. Part of this had to do with our approach to network observability. Our customers give us great reviews for user experience and for our approach that enables users to answer any question about their network. They wanted BGP monitoring to be a part of the solution.
The other big reason was the limitations that some of the existing “best-of-breed” commercial solutions have. Limitations include:
Those limitations, coupled with our customers’ need for true network observability, were the key reasons for why we embarked on the journey to creating a next-generation BGP monitoring solution, as part of the Kentik Network Observability Cloud. While Kentik BGP Monitor is already more feature-rich than many existing solutions, we can’t wait for you to start using it so we can continue to build on what we have.
Kentik’s BGP Monitor will address the most common use cases around monitoring BGP state as well as root-causing routing issues when they occur. These include:
See route announcements and withdrawals over time and filter the data by day, hour, AS, prefix and announcement type. This is a crucial part of the day-to-day observation of BGP routing infrastructure and policies.
Malicious exploits of BGP’s vulnerabilities can cause routes between the internet’s tens of thousands of Autonomous Systems (ASes) to change, resulting in disruptions to application and service delivery. Being able to alert as soon as these happen is one of the primary use cases of BGP monitoring.
Route leaks are similar to the malicious hijacking of routes, but caused by inadvertent misconfiguration (for example, human error).
Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) is a best practice for securing BGP route announcements, but the improper configuration of ROAs can cause reachability issues. Knowing when these occur and getting alerted is a crucial part of monitoring BGP.
We help you track changes in the reachability of your prefixes from hundreds of vantage points all over the internet and will alert you when any of them become unreachable. You need to be sure that traffic from your ASes can make its way to your customers and the service providers you depend on.
Frequent changes in the path that BGP route announcements take between ASes can be a sign of instability. Monitoring for these changes and getting alerted as soon as they occur is a key part of ensuring service reliability.
Fast troubleshooting of issues requires being able to visualize data to find trouble spots quickly. We give you a 10,000-foot view of changes in BGP routes over time — an indispensable tool!
Last but not least, all of the above metrics can be set up to alert within the product and can be tied to the most common notification channels:
This blog post is just a preview of some of the features of Kentik’s new BGP monitoring solution. In the coming weeks, we will write individual blog posts on each of these use cases. We’d also love to hear from you about other use cases we can be solving for. Please reach out (here or via your account team) today if you’d like to set up a conversation with our product and engineering team.
Sign up for a free trial today to start using BGP monitoring capabilities in Kentik.