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Re: backbone transparent proxy / connection hijacking

  • From: Michael Dillon
  • Date: Sat Jun 27 00:35:14 1998

On Fri, 26 Jun 1998, Paul Gauthier wrote:

> Transparent caching brings with it significant benefits to
> the ISPs and backbones who deploy it, but also to the
> dialup users, corporate customers and downstream ISPs who
> utilize those links. Cached content is delivered accurately
> and quickly, improving the experience of web surfing.
> Further, caching helps unload congested pipes permitting increased
> performance for non-HTTP protocols. 

Marketing blather. None of the benefits you cite above are due to
transparent caching, not one! They are all the result of caching and can
be had just as well by ISPs who give their customers a choice whether or
not to use a proxy cache.

> Many people believe that
> large-scale caching is necessary and inevitable in order to scale
> the Internet into the future.

These "many people" you talk about are fools who have no understanding of
Internet scaling. There are many uses of the Internet that do not involve
redundant transfers of identical files over the net and those uses are
likely to increase significantly in the future. Internet phone and video
conferencing are a couple of examples but there are many more. Caching is
good to have for a certain limited number of reasons but it will not help
scale the Internet into the future.

> are the following: disruption of existing services, correctness
> of cached content, and confidentiality/legal issues with
> transparent caching. We take all of these issues very seriously
> and have had dedicated resources in our development and technical
> support groups addressing them for some time.

I take this to mean that Inktomi advises its customers to disrupt their
services by implementing transparent cachin on non-dialup customers?

> The center of this debate concerns the rare disruption of
> existing services which can occur when transparent caching is
> deployed.

It's not a rare disruption, it is a *CONSTANT* disruption of service. When
a customer pays a provider for transit, the provider should not be
intercepting the data streams and substituting another stream that they
*THINK* will be identical. It is an entirely different thing when a
provider either gives a choice to their customer of using a proxy cache,
or notifies the customer that their service is routed through a cache.
This kind of thing is a benefit to the individual dialup customer and they
can always choose to not use the cache or to pay for a different access
service that does not force caching.

> We, and many others looking towards the future
> of a scalable Internet, are confident that caching is becoming an
> integral part of the infrastructure, and provides many benefits to
> hosters, ISPs, backbones and surfers alike.

The only place that caching has in a backbone network is as an optional
service that backbone customers can hook their own cache into via ICP 
if they so choose. Caching is a temporary hack that provides some limited
benefit at the moment but the need for it is fading except in areas that
are a couple of years behind in bandwidth deployment.

Michael Dillon                 -               Internet & ISP Consulting
Memra Communications Inc.      -               E-mail:
Check the website for my Internet World articles -        

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