Why does network convergence time matter?

When a link fails, service providers use the BGP protocol to reroute internet traffic. The time taken to restore traffic flow is network convergence. This blog introduces why it matters to business.

Why does network convergence time matter?By Shane Minogue    June 18, 2014      Thinking

In the normal course of business the issue of network convergence time is not high on the priority list of a C-Level executive. More likely it concerns the ISP network architect or an overworked enterprise IT Services manager who may view it as an interesting technical problem, until...

A link failure on the network of your global enterprise triggers a sequence of events that reroutes the traffic onto a redundant path.

The time taken from link failure to restored traffic flow on a new set of routes is known as the network convergence time.

So what can happen to your business while the network is converging?

  • Online payment systems may cancel all transactions in progress.
  • Market data gaps can result in trades being lost or mis-priced.
  • Video streams are dropped just before THAT vital World Cup goal is scored.

The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is the primary mechanism used by Internet Service Providers (ISP) globally to signal route failures and provide corrective route updates.

A recent report from CIDR shows the global BGP routing table now exceeds 500,000 routes. The graphic plot below shows how this has grown since the 1990s. The growth is significant but network engineers are comfortable in the knowledge that the internet routers which support this infrastructure have also grown in terms of processing and memory capacity.

graph showing growth of number of routes in the global BGP routing table

What is perhaps less obvious and more difficult to quantify is the degree to which today's real-time applications depend on this always-on connectivity. So whether it is exchange connectivity or a video streaming hub, every second lost is damaging to both the revenue and the brand of the provider. The SLA between provider and customer is now central in assessing the real business cost for an outage.

So how to mitigate the damage?

  • Listen on the network in real-time for any BGP route withdrawals and healing updates.
  • Instantly alert the service desks on which route pathways are out and verify traffic recovery time.
  • Use a forensic Event Analysis to determine the root cause and implement improved network services.

Corvil has this capability right now to reduce the convergence times on your network.

When an SLA is contested with regard to application or network performance issues, you know that Corvil has all the evidence you need to support your case.

Why does network convergence time matter?

Shane Minogue, Senior Sales Engineer, Corvil
Corvil is the leader in performance monitoring and analytics for electronic financial markets. The world’s financial markets companies turn to Corvil analytics for the unique visibility and intelligence we provide to assure the speed, transparency, and compliance of their businesses globally. Corvil watches over and assures the outcome of electronic transactions with a value in excess of $1 trillion, every day.

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