In March of 2010, an exceptional group of technical professionals met in Kuala Lumpur, to help define the future Internet for millions of people.
APRICOT, which is short for the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies, was formed as a resource for the network architects and builders in Asia and the Pacific Rim to learn from each other, as well as industry leaders. Once a year, they meet for a ten day summit of workshops, presentations, personal and professional networking.
The goal of Apricot is to build the skillsets required to deliver a robust and ever expanding network and Internet to the industry. Members include the major ISPs (Internet Service Providers), as well industry technology leaders like Cisco, Juniper, XO Communications and MANY others.
Apricot 2010 was held in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The largest city in Malaysia, it hosts the Parliament of Malaysia. In addition to being the host for many international events, it also has the Petronas Twin Towers, which are the tallest twin buildings in the world.
The Apricot meetings are not just sitting around and listening to presentations. At the 2010 meeting there were hands on labs and demonstrations covering many topics including:
- VOIP - Packet Clearing House and Callplus NZ teamed up to put on the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) workshop. They covered how the switched telephone network works, voice protocols, basic hardware, and Cisco voice routers in a large enterprise environment.
- Network Management - The Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) put on the presentation for network management planning and principles. A variety of tools and technology was discussed, including Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), reporting tools like MRTG, Nagios, and Cacti, and even ticketing systems. Advanced topics included customization and scripting to tailor the applications to the attendees' specific environment.
- IPv4 and IPv6 Routing - In anticipation of the last allocation of IPv4 addresses, IPv6 routing and interoperability was becoming increasingly more important. The last IPv4 addresses for IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) were allocated in Jan 2011, and the last IPv4 addresses APNIC's (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) were allocated in April 2011, so the attendees were definitely working on an important and time sensitive issue. Presenters included Cisco, Global Transit, Packet Clearing House and APNIC. The topics were geared toward ISPs and IXPs (Internet Exchange Points), and included advanced discussion on BGP, OSPF, Policy Based Routing and performance tuning.
- Multicast - With the explosion of new users and bandwidth hungry applications, multicast has become a hot topic. Cisco and CallPlus NZ put together a presentation that taught design and implementation of multicast, centered on basic configuration, and best practices. Multicast architecture and components were discussed, ranging from Internet Group Membership Protocol (IGMP) all the way up to Multiprotocol BGP interdomain exchange.
- ISP Security - In every enterprise, Network Security is critically important. This is magnified many times over for ISPs, as a compromise of their network would not only provide access to corporate data, but access to the networks of the customers. Juniper and Arbor put on a presentation geared around Network Infrastructure security and Security Services.
They went over industry best practices on design, as well as during implementation and continued operation. Particular attention was paid to mitigating Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) and spoofing.
- MPLS - Over the last few years, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) has become widely deployed because of the ease of use and rich feature set available. By deploying MPLS VPNs, service providers can give each customer their own unique address space, and easily handle overlapping customer IP address ranges. In addition, bridging multiple VPNs is a simple configuration change, and the ISP also has the option to completely hide provider routers from the client. XO Communications and Cisco put on the MPLS presentation, and covered basic terminology, architecture, deployment, and advanced topics such as traffic engineering. Finally they devoted a substantial portion of the workshop to troubleshooting.
- BGP Techniques for Service Providers - Cisco presented the current best practices for ISPs. They covered BGP architecture, attributes, scaling, and basic configuration advice.
- Lightning Talks - A favorite of all the attendees, lightning talks are short presentations (usually no more than twelve minutes or so) that also include audience participation in the form of questions and answers. A few of the topics were Fiber Migration, the Haiti recovery of their DNS system after the earthquake, and VOIP in relation to emergency services.
Tutorials are always a favorite at the conference- this is when the audience learns how to do things hands on, resulting in improved retention, and directly increasing motivation to improve things back at the office when attendees get back into the office. Here's a sample of some of the available sessions:
It's not often that networking professionals can step away from their day to day jobs and go to a technical conference. The breadth and depth of the APRICOT presentation makes it a worthwhile investment of time for Internet professionals in the Pacific Rim. Here's looking forward to many more network conferences in the years to come.
- Which Routing Protocol? - Cisco presented some guidance and industry best practice on which routing protocol to deploy, not only for today, but to be scalable tomorrow. This particular tutorial compared ISIS and OSPF in detail.
- Porting IPv4 Applications to Dual Stack - With the critical importance and eminent deployment of IPv6, making applications work with the new network addressing is a topic that generates a lot of interest. Hurricane Electric, a pioneer in IPv6 deployment, talked about how to update legacy application in C, as well as in PERL and Python.
- Best Practices in Network Planning - For most network engineers, you don't get a chance to design the network you work on. With the new technology coming of age (MPLS VPN, IPv6, etc.), ISPs are in a unique position to build future ready networks today. Cariden Technologies presented a detailed methodology on how to estimate traffic, define realistic and enforceable SLAs, do proper network planning, and traffic engineering.
- Internet Resource Management - APNIC (the Regional Internet Registry responsible for Asia and the Pacific Rim) put on a presentation about how to manage IPv4 and IPv6 address space, as well as Autonomous System (AS) numbers. In addition, they discussed the policy and procedures for requesting new allocations.
© Apricot2010.net - we're not affiliated with APRICOT, but we believe their hard work should be documented and preserved.