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Designing ISP Architectures

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Designing ISP Architectures

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  • Copyright 2002
  • Edition: 1st
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  • ISBN-10: 0-13-045496-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-045496-6

  • Apply an architectural model to plan and design a scalable architecture for any size ISP.
  • Evaluate requirements to determine trade-offs, assess limitations, and make key decisions.
  • Create a logical and physical design to decide which software and hardware components provide the best-fitting solution.

This book is a model for designing architectures for ISPs of any size. Expressly for IT architects and consultants who design ISP architectures, this book details the design process from start to finish. Throughout this book, whether it's obtaining and evaluating requirements or creating logical and physical designs, we provide helpful tips, insights, and expertise. We compare design approaches, offer suggestions for evaluating trade-offs, and alert you to common pitfalls. Included are chapters on capacity planning and selecting components. During the design process, we apply the model to a realistic sample customer.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Introduction to the ISP Market

Table of Contents



About This Book.

Sun BluePrints Program.

Who Should Read This Book.

Before You Read This Book.

Introducing FijiNet.

How This Book Is Organized.

Ordering Sun Documentation.

Accessing Sun Documentation Online.

Recommended Publications.

Using UNIX Commands.

Typographic Conventions.

Shell Prompts in Command Examples.

Sun Welcomes Your Comments.

1. Introduction.

Defining an ISP and Its Architecture. Identifying Market Trends. Value Proposition. Market Positioning. Present and Future Trends. Obtaining Market Data. Challenges in Becoming an ISP. Key Challenges. Considerations. Requirements. Alternative Approach.

2. Formulating Design Requirements.

Formulating Requirements for a Design. Obtain Requirements. Evaluate Requirements. Establish Assumptions. Determine Design Trade-Offs. Address Architectural Limitations. Formulating Requirements for FijiNet. Obtain Requirements for FijiNet. Evaluate Requirements for FijiNet. Establish Assumptions for FijiNet. Determine Design Trade-Offs for FijiNet. Address Architectural Limitations for FijiNet.

3. Establishing an Architectural Model.

Understanding the Model. Identifying Key Components. ISP Services. Operating Environment. Operating Platform. Applying Architectural Principles. Scalability. Availability. Reliability. Manageability. Adaptability. Security. Performance. Open System. Applying the Model to FijiNet. Identify Key Components for FijiNet. Apply Architectural Principles to FijiNet.

4. Creating a Logical Design.

Creating a High-Level Framework. Identify High-Level Topology. Identify Services Within the Topology. Define Service Flows. Define Networking Components. Creating a High-Level Framework for FijiNet. Identify High-Level Topology for FijiNet. Identify Services Within the FijiNet Topology. Define Service Flows for FijiNet. Define Networking Components for FijiNet.

5. Creating a Physical Design.

Creating a High-Level Network Design. Build a Network Design Diagram. Create IP Address Schema. Planning Capacity. Estimate Software Capacity. Estimate Server Capacity. Estimate Network Capacity. Creating a Network Design for FijiNet. Build a Network Design Diagram for FijiNet. Create IP Address Schema for FijiNet. Planning Capacity for FijiNet. Estimate Software Capacity for FijiNet. Estimate Server Capacity for FijiNet. Estimate Network Capacity for FijiNet.

6. Selecting Components.

Selecting Software. Choose Software for Basic Services. Choose Software for Value-Added Services. Choose Software for Infrastructure Services. Choose Software for Operation and Management Services. Choose an Operating Environment. Selecting Servers. Determine Server Types. Choose Enterprise Servers. Choose Storage Equipment. Selecting Network Components. Choose Routers and Switches. Choose Load Balancers. Choose Firewalls. Choose Intrusion Detection System (IDS). Choose Console Servers. Choose Network Access Servers. Selecting Hardware Rack Equipment. Selecting Software for FijiNet. Choose Software for FijiNet's Basic Services. Choose Software for FijiNet's Infrastructure Services. Choose Software for FijiNet's Operation and Management Services. Choose Operating Environment for FijiNet. Selecting Servers for FijiNet. Determine Server Types for FijiNet. Choose Server Equipment for FijiNet. Choose Storage Equipment for FijiNet. Selecting Network Components for FijiNet. Choose Routers and Switches. Choose Load Balancers. Choose Firewalls. Choose Intrusion Detection Systems. Choose Console Servers. Choose Network Access Servers. Selecting Hardware Rack Equipment for FijiNet.

7. Implementing a Solution.

Implementing a Prototype. Implementing a Design. Apply an Incremental Approach. Test and Optimize Your Implementation. Implementing an Operating Platform. Implementing an Operating System. Implementing Infrastructure Services. Implementing Basic Services. Implementing Value-Added Services. Adapting to Changes. Usage Pattern Changes. Technology Changes. Business Strategy Changes.

A. Questions for Obtaining Design Requirements.

General Questions. Business-Related Questions. Support Questions. Systems and Network Management Questions. End-User Questions. Registration Questions. Customer Care Questions. Billing System Questions. Service Availability Questions. Security Questions. Demographic Questions. Networking Questions. Dial-up Questions. Directory Questions. Email Questions. Web Hosting Questions. Search Engine Questions. Caching Proxy Questions. Internet Relay Chat Questions. FTP Questions. Internet News Questions. Development and Staging Questions.

B. Sample Network Configurations.

Cisco 2651 Router. Cisco 3512-XL Switch. Cisco PIX 525 Firewall. Cisco AS 5400 Access Server. Cisco AS 2511 Console Server.

C. Sample DNS Configurations.

External DNS Configurations. Primary External Server. Secondary External Servers. Internal DNS Configurations. Primary Internal Server. Secondary Internal Servers.

D. DHCP Server Configuration.

E. NTP Server Configuration.

F. DNS Benchmark Data for Sun Enterprise Servers.

Benchmark Data for BIND v8.1.2. Benchmark Data for BIND v8.2.2-P7. Benchmark Data for BIND v9.1.0.

G. Network Capacity.

North American Digital Hierarchy. Committee of European Postal and Telephone Hierarchy. Synchronous Digital Hierarchy.

H. HTTP Throughput.

I. Port and Protocol List.





This book is one of an on-going series of books collectively known as the Sun BluePrints program. This BluePrint is a resource for designing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) architecture.

About This Book

In this BluePrint, you'll find practical advice and information helpful in making key decisions for designing platform-independent ISP architectures. Based upon industry standards, expert knowledge, and hands-on experience, this book:

  • Details the design process
  • Introduces fundamental design principles
  • References sources for advanced design principles
  • Shares tips, insights, and preferred practices for considering requirements, technology, and trade-offs
  • Describes how to avoid common pitfalls
  • Offers a low-cost approach for entering the ISP market and provides sources for obtaining market data
  • Suggests criteria for selecting components, based on varying design scenarios
  • Provides general guidelines for capacity planning
  • Applies the material to a sample customer scenario, where applicable
  • Includes appendices containing a prototype for small to medium-sized environments that we successfully implemented in the lab at Sun Microsystems in San Diego

Sun BluePrints Program

The mission of the Sun BluePrints program is to empower Sun's customers with the technical knowledge required to implement reliable, extensible, and secure information systems within the datacenter using Sun products. This program provides a framework to identify, develop, and distribute best practices information that applies across Sun product lines. Experts in technical subjects in various areas contribute to the program and focus on the scope and usefulness of the information.

The Sun BluePrints program includes books, guides, and online articles. Through these vehicles, Sun can provide guidance, installation and implementation experiences, real-life scenarios, and late-breaking technical information. The monthly electronic magazine, Sun BluePrints OnLine, is located on the Web at http://www.sun.com/blueprints. To be notified about updates to the Sun BluePrints program, please register at this site.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is expressly for IT architects and consultants who design ISP architectures. Portions of this book are beneficial to systems engineers, system administrators, security administrators, application designers, and network administrators who implement solutions. For this secondary audience, this book provides design fundamentals, configuration considerations and examples, and tips and resources for implementing a design.

Note - Operation and management issues are beyond the scope of this book.

Before You Read This Book

To provide the best focus for the subject of this book, we assume readers have experience in systems engineering, system administration, and network administration, and that now they are focused on designing solutions for ISP customers. This audience understands ISP services, components, infrastructure, networking, and related technologies.

Introducing FijiNet

Throughout this book, we use a fictitious company called FijiNet to demonstrate how to design an ISP architecture. Our goal is to apply the concepts and information to a realistic scenario while making the content enjoyable to read. Any resemblance to a past, present, or future company named FijiNet is purely coincidental.

Note - Use this book to design an ISP architecture for any size ISP. In our design and examples for FijiNet, we purposely limit the scope to an initial 10,000 subscribers, so that we can effectively cover subjects.

How This Book Is Organized

Chapter 1 "Introduction," introduces the ISP subject matter and briefly describes the market, value, challenges, and approach to solutions.

Chapter 2 "Formulating Design Requirements," introduces a systematic approach to obtaining and evaluating business and functional requirements for a new ISP architecture. Before you start designing an architecture, use this chapter to organize and derive the information you need to develop a design that meets requirements, takes into account unknowns (assumptions), and bases decisions on realistic data.

Chapter 3 "Establishing an Architectural Model," provides an architectural model and principles to use in designing an ISP architecture. Building upon the approach in Chapter 2, this chapter shows you how to apply an architectural model and principles to design requirements.

Chapter 4 "Creating a Logical Design," recommends engineering a logical design based on high-level topology of the architecture. It describes elements necessary for creating a logical design, and it presents these elements in a high-level structure, showing how to design an architecture from the top-level down.

Chapter 5 "Creating a Physical Design," builds on the previous chapter by using the logical design to construct a high-level network design and perform capacity planning. This chapter provides information to assist you in formulating estimates for how much capacity your design needs. Use it as a general sizing guideline for estimating storage and memory for services.

Chapter 6 "Selecting Components," provides general guidelines for selecting software, server, and network components for an architecture design. As part of this chapter, we provide tables listing commonly used commercial and Open Source products appropriate for ISP infrastructures. Think of this chapter as a shopping list for physical components needed to implement the design arrived at in earlier chapters.

Chapter 7 "Implementing a Solution," offers general practices and recommendations for implementing a design. Includes recommendations for developing a prototype prior to implementing a solution. Also in this chapter are considerations for adapting to change after an ISP has implemented a solution.

Note - Most of the following appendixes contain details of an implementation for FijiNet, the prototype that was built and tested in the Sun lab in San Diego. Although numerous details would obviously change with another implementation, based both on design decisions and changes in versions of base software, these appendices serve as a useful reference for the reader who wants to see an implementation.

Appendix A, "Questions for Obtaining Design Requirements," provides interview questions to use when you are obtaining and refining requirements for an architecture.

Appendix B, "Sample Network Configurations," contains sample configurations for routers, switches, network access servers, and domain name servers.

Appendix C, "Sample DNS Configurations," provides sample configurations for your domain name service (DNS) servers.

Appendix D, "DHCP Server Configuration," contains a sample configuration for the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server.

Appendix E, "NTP Server Configuration," provides a sample configuration for the network time protocol (NTP) server.

Appendix F, "LDAP Configuration," contains a sample configuration for the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP).

Appendix F, "DNS Benchmark Data for Sun Enterprise Servers," contains benchmark results from the Sun DNS/BIND Benchmarking and Sizing Guide, dated March 2, 2001. We use this data for making assumptions about performance.

Appendix G, "Network Capacity," contains specifications for network capacity.

Appendix H, "HTTP Throughput," provides a table for HTTP throughput for network capacity.

Appendix I, "Port and Protocol List," provides a partial list of protocols and ports helpful in identifying services and associated protocols/ports for firewall rules.

Ordering Sun Documentation

The SunDocs SM program provides more than 250 manuals from Sun Microsystems, Inc. If you live in the United States, Canada, Europe, or Japan, you can purchase documentation sets or individual manuals through this program. Fatbrain.com, an Internet professional bookstore, stocks select product documentation from Sun Microsystems, Inc. For a list of documents and how to order them, visit the Sun Documentation Center on Fatbrain.com at:


Accessing Sun Documentation Online

The docs.sun.com web site enables you to access Sun technical documentation on the Web. You can browse the docs.sun.com archive or search for a specific book title or subject at:


Recommended Publications

In addition to other sources we cite in this book, we recommend the following publications:

  • Dot-Com & Beyond - Breakthrough Internet-Based Architectures and Methodologies
  • Sun Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition
  • Capacity Planning for Internet Services
  • Solaris and LDAP Naming Services

Using UNIX Commands

This document does not contain information on basic UNIX(r) commands and procedures such as shutting down a system, booting a system, and configuring devices. See one or more of the following for this information:

  • AnswerBook2 online documentation for the Solaris Operating Environment
  • Other software documentation that you received with your system

Sun Welcomes Your Comments

We are interested in improving our documentation and welcome your comments and suggestions. You can email your comments to us at: docfeedback@sun.com or blueprints@sun.com

Please include the part number (806-0917-10) or title of this document in the subject line of your email.


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