Service Helps Sites Gain Control Over ISP Traffic

Sockeye's GlobalRoute enables enterprises to avoid higher bills.

Sockeye Networks Inc. last week upgraded its GlobalRoute bandwidth optimization service to give enterprises using multiple ISPs a more granular view of their traffic patterns.

GlobalRoute 3.0 lets multihoming enterprises—those that route traffic over more than one ISP to achieve the most cost-effective and performance-efficient paths—map their ISPs contract terms into load balancing decisions. ISP contracts can include more than a dozen billing tiers that charge high rates for spilling over a specified tier, and manually configuring the many different terms and conditions can be challenging.

EBSCO Publishing Co., in Ipswich, Mass., began using GlobalRoute late last year to gain more control over traffic routing than it could get using BGP (Border Gateway Protocol). "We were at the whim of whatever the BGP meshes dictated," said Mike Gorrell, CIO and senior vice president at EBSCO.

For its online periodical service, EBSCO uses four ISPs, two of which are managed by GlobalRoute, Gorrell said. The technology, which analyzes all possible links for a stream of traffic, changed the distribution of bandwidth over the ISPs and improved response time for EBSCOs customers.

"It probably shaved 20 to 25 percent off the latency that people saw," Gorrell said. "Thats coming from a pretty fast response time to begin with. Well take it, but it wasnt incredibly dramatic."

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From Gorrells perspective, the most dramatic benefit of GlobalRoute is that it enables EBSCO to balance its traffic among its service providers and avoid getting bumped into a higher billing tier by a provider.

"As you approach half of a T-3 capacity, theres a cliff that you fall off of in terms of pricing. You pay for almost a T-3," Gorrell said. "What was most compelling [about GlobalRoute] was that it allowed us to even out our providers."

As for the latest version, Gorrell said it is interesting, but the benefits of the service are in the core capability.

"The latest release is nice, but it wasnt an essential upgrade," he said. "It does give us more to play with, more control."

Complex billing model support was incorporated into the latest version because service providers use different billing mechanisms, and contracts often have rising overage charges from one tier to the next, and these charges are difficult to calculate manually, according to Sockeye officials, in Waltham, Mass.

Version 3.0 also offers executive-level reporting, giving users a more detailed look at the performance of routing to destinations. It summarizes performance results and identifies such metrics as destinations that have the most outages and those that are most often rerouted.