June 3, 2020
Last week, we organised our first webinar with presentations of three of our MT members. Exciting stuff! Of course, we understand that not everyone was able to join us. So, if you weren’t there, read this 4-minute report, or watch the full webinar on YouTube.
The webinar kicked off with a presentation of our CEO Peter van Burgel. His talk was about how AMS-IX handled the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic had an impact on multiple fronts. First of all, AMS-IX had to implement measures in the face of the pandemic (working from home, secure access to Data Centres … etc.) AMS-IX is considered vital infrastructure which means securing access to Data Centres during the lockdown was guaranteed by the Dutch government. As a result, AMS-IX was able to adjust to the situation well. Three months in, moral is reasonably high, and we are continuously updating policies and procedures as the situation develops.
The second thing we had to deal with in the face of the pandemic was the traffic uptake caused by the lockdowns in Europe and other parts of the world. Due to these confinement measures, traffic was up 17% in a month time and there were three traffic peaks in Amsterdam in two weeks’ time, with 8.14 Tbps as our latest record. All of this meant that a lot of companies upgraded their port capacity in order to cope with this traffic surge. So, engineers had a lot of work to do. And the press knew how to find AMS-IX as well, making the exchange a frequent phenomenon in the newspapers during the first weeks of the crisis.
It is still unclear how the pandemic will affect AMS-IX in the long run. In the short run, there was a positive impact with multiple upgrades, but the first signs of economic fallout are already becoming visible across Europe. We will monitor the developments closely in the months to follow.
Our second talk was done by AMS-IX CTO Henk Steenman, who shared AMS-IX’ vision for the future. He began his presentation by pointing out some of the major shortcomings the operational internet has today. All kinds of misbehaviour, like DDoS attacks and hacks, are possible. Moreover, there is limited capability to introduce and/or evolve new technologies. The lack of migrations towards IPv6 is a good example of this. Nobody foresaw the scale the Internet would grow into and its design was never intended to support a global economy on top of it. We just grew into it and kept it running by a huge effort of brilliant engineers and developers.
For the coming years, AMS-IX is committing itself to addressing some of the shortcomings of the Internet. We want to build communities with common interests and introduce new and better standards and protocols to be used within these communities. AMS-IX is already doing a lot of work in this regard. We are involved in many projects that aim to provide more security and reliability for AMS-IX connected parties (MANRS. RPKI, DNSsec, IX-API, etc.) In addition, we are currently part of the 2STiC Consortium, a joint initiative aimed at introducing new interconnection technologies. A promising initiative is SCION, an alternative for the internet protocol, that allows for more control and path awareness during routing on the internet. Please reach out to us if you are interested in joining the research.
The last talk of the webinar was done by Tim Vriend, AMS-IX manager implementations and operations, who gave an overview of the technical projects within AMS-IX. Last year, we finalised the handover of our physical installation to our US partner Epsilon and added an additional layer of security with the DNSsec extension. As could be expected, the technical projects in AMS-IX were in part affected by the pandemic. The Data Centres of Interxion and Iron Mountain are up for more port capacity due to all the extra ports of customers. Some of the projects are somewhat delayed due to the extra upgrading efforts, but the engineering team is picking up on those as well. The SLX switch reseller migrations is going ahead as planned. Besides, the project of moving the core is currently in its final stages of preparation. And most importantly, the engineering team is currently refactoring the Route Servers, making the system more scalable.
The work on some of the new products and standards is continuing as well. IX-API for example has seen significant progress. The first integrations of IX-API are done. There is continued development of the IX-as-a-Service (IXaaS) product. We are currently in the process of shipping another exchange. More details about this project will follow shortly. Moreover, AMS-IX is currently looking into onboarding new vendors. One for our DCI capabilities, one for our new high capacity switches and one to replace Glimmerglass.
Of course, there is a lot more happening at AMS-IX. If you wish to be updated on our work, you can follow our monthly newsletter, check our website or follow our social media channels. In the meantime, stay tuned for more AMS-IX Talks!