We now integrate PeeringDB data!
While Kentik does a great job of showing any network where their traffic goes or comes from, one outcome remains unsolved: determining where and how to interconnect with any candidate network once traffic warrants it.
Until now, this was accomplished by referencing an outside data set, namely PeeringDB.
PeeringDB is a non-profit organization providing a platform for networks to declare their footprint, as well as the conditions under which they evaluate peering requests from other networks. Since the early 2000s, this platform has been widely adopted by the peering community and is recognized as one of the inevitable tools at the core of any Strategic Peering planning activity.
The service it provides is considered by most a public utility and Kentik wants to honor the relentless efforts they've invested in keeping this community platform up and evolving it throughout the years.
Roping in the dataset from PeeringDB into Kentik, contextualizing it with traffic data and leveraging it to streamline the entire strategic decision process of peering is the goal we aim to achieve with this integration.
What is PeeringDB, and how is it used?
How is it useful?
Each network is identified by its unique ASN in PeeringDB, and its records contain:
- The policy they follow to evaluate peering requests (traffic constraints a network needs to fulfill to be eligible to peer with them)
- The list of Internet Exchanges they are present at
- The list of Facilities (data centers) they are present and if they are willing to peer
To interconnect, networks need to ensure they check all the policy boxes listed by the target network but also decide on a common footprint to physically connect at - think of it as an address book or yellow pages of peering.
Traffic Analysis to Footprint evaluation is a siloed, noncontinuous path
Every network has its own traffic analysis system (Kentik being one of the more modern and prominent ones). Network Telemetry (Netflow, SFlow, IPFIX) is used to determine the list of ASNs where it makes strategic sense to interconnect with, as well as the IN:OUT traffic ratios shared with these networks. PeeringDB doesn’t have this data for their registered networks, but Kentik customers have it in the portal. This means the path from Flow Telemetry to Peering metadata isn’t continuous: users switch context from their flow tool to PeeringDB.
PeeringDB isn’t tailored to display common footprint easily
Once traffic profiling TO and FROM a network indicates a target for peering, the next step is to evaluate the common footprint. While PeeringDB makes it easy to browse the details of footprint or policy for any given registered network, computing the common overlap of IXes and Data Centers still requires the user to have their full network map in mind.
Kentik’s PeeringDB integration
In a nutshell
This extension to the ASN quick-view page makes these frequent tasks easier:
- Evaluate the details of TO and FROM traffic of any ASN towards yours, including traffic mix and volumes, as well as ratios, and evaluate them against the other network's policy
- Evaluate the common footprint overlap between your network and this ASN
- Support strategic planners in the decision to deploy at certain Data Centers or IXes
- Identify the NOC and Peering contacts for this Network when available
Configuring the integration
Using the PeeringDB integration starts with users configuring it (in the “Integrations” section) of Kentik Portal. Two options exist: the Kentik user network is either already a PeeringDB registered member or isn’t.
- If it is, Kentik will help users create mappings between their PeeringDB “Facilities” (Data Centers) and “Exchanges” (IXes), as already configured by the users as “Sites”, and as “
Connectivity Type == IX”.
- If the Kentik user network is not already a PeeringDB user, it will let them do the reverse: link their “Sites” and “
Connectivity Type == IX” to existing PeeringDB “Facilities” and “Exchanges” based on address and name matching. This can be done via both the "Settings > Manage Interfaces" and "Settings > Manage Sites" screens.
Leveraging the integration
Once the integration is configured, Kentik’s engine has a key to decipher any network’s footprint with a common language. It will display it in a human-readable form for users to visually and efficiently consume.
To make this per-ASN data available from multiple entry points in Kentik Portal, we have chosen to add it to ASN Quick-View pages. These pages are templated and dynamically generated to show users' traffic details around any ASN (TO or FROM).
Accessing the PeeringDB View
Clicking on any ASN entry in either Network Explorer or Data Explorer will take the user to the ASN Quick View page, where the PeeringDB tab contains the target functionality:
Additionally, the quick-view pages follow an easy-to-memorize URL format, allowing users to get there easily:
Yet another way to access this data is to use the Universal Search capability in Kentik Portal at the top right of the screen), which will auto-detect ASNs entered as a search term:
Quick-View pages will be deep-linked throughout Kentik Portal:
- Kentik Market Intelligence gets a new button on any Network Details page to access these records:
- Any ASN returned as part of a Network or Data Explorer query already leads to the ASN Quick-View page where this new PeeringDB info tab appears.
Anatomy of the PeeringDB screen
The PeeringDB tab of an ASN Quick-View page contains the following elements:
Left-Side Panel: Metadata
A left-side Panel with contextual information both from Kentik and PeeringDB around this ASN
- Traffic information TO and FROM this ASN leveraging Kentik network telemetry - with all the traffic information to quickly identify if traffic matches the requirements of this ASN: Traffic volumes IN and OUT, Traffic Ratios, connectivity mix (Peering, Transit, IX…)
- PeeringDB peering information around this ASN: policy details, ratio and footprint requirements…
Main Panel: Footprint Explorer
A Main view to identify common footprint
This view will offer two different angles on identifying a common footprint: Map View or Table View, with the user able to toggle between both or view both at the same time.
The Map will display Exchanges and Facilities with different icons, these will be grey if not in common, and blue if in common.
Tooltips will give more information when the user hovers over these icons.
A Data-Table listing either Facilities (Sites) or Exchanges (IXes)
This component is a tabular version of the map visualization that sits above it. It is also controlled in real-time by the filters at the top of the main section of the screen. Exchanges and Facilities for the currently viewed network stand behind two tabs, each containing a different data table
Another useful feature is that the Exchange tab allows users to expand any IX row to list the Facilities in it - think of the use case where the user Network is colocated at a given facility, but hasn’t contracted with the IX(es) available at that facility.
Main Panel: Central filter
Both the Map View and the Table view are controlled by a set of filters allowing the user to refine the geographical scope for which they are looking for common footprint, all filters AND’ed together:
allows the user to reduce the view to either Facilities, Exchanges or both
is a multi-select list letting the users select a set of countries to narrow down the search to (note the map will zoom in and out of focus to match the footprint selected by this multi-select)
that allows users only to display the common footprint, be it Facilities or Exchanges
Common Peering Facilities will be noted with a blue checkmark in the data-table at the bottom, as well as for common Exchanges.
Additionally, Exchanges where the user's network isn't present, but which span across Facilities where the user's network is present will appear with a light blue checkmark:
Exchange entries in the data-table can be expanded into the list of the Facilities that the exchange spans across
Right-side retractable panel: Facility/IX ASN explorer
To create an even more cohesive exploratory workflow, clicking on any Facility or Exchange in the main screen (and on the map) will unveil a side panel containing both details around the Facility/Exchange, but most importantly, a list of all the ASNs available, together with the useful metadata to evaluate on the fly if more candidate ASNs are present.
To make the list even easier to navigate, additional filters have been added (exclusively for this panel) around the Peering Policy’s constraints, as well as the Traffic Ratio Type, and a free text search field.
In the future, Kentik will be putting the PeeringDB dataset to work on even more advanced use case, think of it:
- How much time would Strategic Network Planners save, when deciding on global deployments, which Site or Internet Exchange they should deploy to?
Think of being able to ask Data Explorer:
“Show me all the ASNs and the associated traffic that I am reaching via Transit and that are available at this exchange with an open peering policy”
- Beyond that, think of an insight that would scan your Top ASNs IN and OUT daily and advise which IXes you should deploy to peel traffic off of your Transit upstreams. Or even tell you if you are at an IX and are not peering with ASNs there that you should?
Truth is, this PeeringDB integration is only the 1st step towards further automating peering operations of Global Networks - let us know what you think, because we're pretty excited about these next phases!