The latest entrant to the Border Gateway Protocol routing management game is vendor netVmg, launching its product line this week with its first customer, Sony, already on board.
NetVmg offers enterprise customers who buy several high-speed data lines an appliance that picks a routing path that fits that enterprises bandwidth budget and connection quality parameters. Called "Flow Control" and priced from $20,000 to $300,000, depending on the size and number of managed pipes, the device will be available next month.
The first customer is Sonys PC games division, which sought to improve multiplayer options for the computer game EverQuest using netVmgs technology.
"The Internet doesnt work; it is broken," says Adam Joffe, director of technical operations at Sony. "Instead of me relying on the stability and reliability of my ISP network, with netVmg I can control the price and performance of my connections."
These are vital considerations for Sony, which has about 80,000 people playing EverQuest with each other every night. To facilitate gameplay, Sony has to have good access to networks that end users connect through. NetVmg helps Sony get better connectivity and save money.
Customers like Sony are the type of companies that netVmg is counting on, estimating there are 7,000 enterprises that are multihomed, i.e. that buy several high-speed access pipes at their locations. Eric Wolford, netVmg senior vice president of business development and marketing, says Flow Control helps customers avoid traffic jams on routing paths and saves them money in at least three different ways.
With least-cost routing, Flow Control can balance the traffic to ride over less expensive network providers pipes without compromising that traffics quality. NetVmgs research indicates typical savings would be based on the 80-20 rule flipped in the customers favor: 80 percent of the traffic sent over a cheaper network with 20 percent being sent over the most expensive pipe.
Flow Control also helps better manage "peak" billing, a practice where a service providers bill is based on next to highest usage spikes that exceed the bandwidth block sold for a "flat" monthly usage fee. Simply put, the device helps enterprises avoid such peaks by redistributing traffic to other networks.
Finally, Wolford says, netVmg can help enterprises that have bought too much bandwidth to cut off some contracts by using Flow Control to gain reliable routing quality, similar to the effect they got with raw bandwidth.
Besides Sony, netVmg may have eight additional customers in the near future as these enterprises -- and carriers in some cases -- finish their beta tests, Wolford says.
NetVmg has two competitors thus far: RouteScience Technologies, a vendor, and Sockeye Networks, an Akamai Technologies offshoot provisioning the same BGP management technology as a service. Sockeye already has as a customer the competitive local exchange carrier Focal Communications.