Internet infrastructure creaky?


— 12:00 AM on April 7, 2001

ZDNet has an interesting story on the Internet's underlying infrastructure.

A two-month investigation by Sm@rt Partner shows the Internet is at risk from unexpected outages caused by everything from seismic disasters to system overloads, terrorism and just plain human error. Security is spotty, standards still don't exist in many arenas and, because of the distributed ownership of the Internet itself, getting those standards in place is anything but easy.

"The Internet should be just like the telephone network," says Steve MacKay, chief system architect at Sun Microsystems. "But if you look at the architecture of the data center and the computing environment, (it's not developed to that point). One of our big service provider customers has 30 to 40 percent of their gear down at any one time--they're either upgrading or doing maintenance, or something's crashed--and that's invisible to their e-mail and Web service. But they're the exception. Try having five or 10 friends send you e-mails at the same time--you won't get them at the same time, because some will inevitably pass through servers that are down and the servers will just hold them."

The article does a nice job of considering the potential problems endemic to the Internet and its possible solutions.
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