Anatomy of a large european IXP

  • Authors:
  • Bernhard Ager;Nikolaos Chatzis;Anja Feldmann;Nadi Sarrar;Steve Uhlig;Walter Willinger

  • Affiliations:
  • ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland;TU Berlin / T-Labs, Berlin, Germany;TU Berlin / T-Labs, Berlin, Germany;TU Berlin / T-Labs, Berlin, Germany;Queen Mary, University of London, London, England UK;AT&T Labs-Research, Florham Park, NJ, USA

  • Venue:
  • ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review - Special october issue SIGCOMM '12
  • Year:
  • 2012

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The largest IXPs carry on a daily basis traffic volumes in the petabyte range, similar to what some of the largest global ISPs reportedly handle. This little-known fact is due to a few hundreds of member ASes exchanging traffic with one another over the IXP's infrastructure. This paper reports on a first-of-its-kind and in-depth analysis of one of the largest IXPs worldwide based on nine months' worth of sFlow records collected at that IXP in 2011. A main finding of our study is that the number of actual peering links at this single IXP exceeds the number of total AS links of the peer-peer type in the entire Internet known as of 2010! To explain such a surprisingly rich peering fabric, we examine in detail this IXP's ecosystem and highlight the diversity of networks that are members at this IXP and connect there with other member ASes for reasons that are similarly diverse, but can be partially inferred from their business types and observed traffic patterns. In the process, we investigate this IXP's traffic matrix and illustrate what its temporal and structural properties can tell us about the member ASes that generated the traffic in the first place. While our results suggest that these large IXPs can be viewed as a microcosm of the Internet ecosystem itself, they also argue for a re-assessment of the mental picture that our community has about this ecosystem.