BGP 011: multiple sessions with upstreams

Steve Gibbard scg at
Mon Jan 3 18:52:53 UTC 2005

On Sun, 2 Jan 2005, Edward B. Dreger wrote:

> CLM> From: Christopher L. Morrow
> CLM> as a start, dropping HSRP and just managing 2 BGP peers from both
> CLM> ends one with metric 0 and one with metric 10 toward his ISP should
> CLM> satisfy all parties requirements. It should be a 'standard' config
> CLM> for the ISP and should be very simple for his customer to manage as
> CLM> well.
> Correct.  I'd actually prefer RFC1998-style communities to select
> LOCAL_PREF, but I'm waiting to suggest that.  Yes, it's standard, but
> being standard hasn't helped me so far. :-/  Their ASN was registered Q4
> 2003, so it's possible they're new to BGP.  I hate to speculate about
> experience and clue level based on ASN number, but there's probably some
> empirical, macroscopic statistical validity.

What apears to be missing here is a reflection on the various meanings of
standard.  I can think of at least two in this context:

- Commonly done in the industry.  An experienced engineer hired away from
  another ISP would be able to support it.

- Commonly done at a particular ISP.  That ISP's support people would have
  no trouble with it.

It appears to me that you're working from the first definition.  That's
fine if your goal is to get the ISP to "productize" your request and sell
it to lots of customers, or if their support staff all has lots of
experience supporting such a product elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, your ISP is hring their graveyard shift support
staff from the local restaurants and grocery stores, the second
definintion is a lot more useful.  The support staff will quickly end up
well-versed in the things they get lots of calls about, but will likely be
completely mystified when confronted with your one-off.

Since having an outage and being told that the one person who knows how to
fix it is on vacation and unreachable is rarely a good thing, I suspect
you'll be much happier in the long run if you either find a way to work
within your ISP's well supported products, or find an ISP that's already
in the habit of doing what you're asking for.  Otherwise, you'll end up in
conversations like one I had several years ago, with the support
department of what's now a well-respected international backbone:

Me:  Hi.  We have a connection to you that appears to be down right now.
Support guy:  Is this a T1 or a T3?
Me:  We're in the cage next to you in the colo facility.  It's an ethernet
cable running across the floor.
Support guy:  Hmm...  I'm not familiar with... ethernet?


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