[Privsec-discuss] Consolidation

Jari Arkko <jari.arkko@piuha.net> Fri, 29 September 2017 10:00 UTC

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From: Jari Arkko <jari.arkko@piuha.net>
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Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:00:21 +0200
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Subject: [Privsec-discuss] Consolidation
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In the summer, the IAB briefly discussed the consolidation trends around the Internet. Consolidation may take many different forms, for instance in terms of traffic flows becoming more focused on large content providers; consolidation in the ISP industry; drive towards fewer but more popular operating systems or platforms; consolidation in the DNS or CDN industry; dominance of popular applications and types of accounts users have; limited sources for applications; and so on.

We all probably recognise at least some forms of these trends. In general, some of these changes are a part of the Internet becoming globally commercial, the best solutions winning market share. But there are of course some concerns as well, starting from the effect few monocultures may have on security issues. Or to ensure openness, and the ability to ensure that innovation continues to generate new, better approaches in the Internet. 

But it is worth distinguishing architecural issues from marketplace problems. Obviously, much of this space is outside the scope of the IAB and more in the area of competition policies and economics. But there may be questions for the IAB as well, whether there’s something that we should understand better, or perhaps document. For instance, many of the moves towards consolidation are driven by economic factors rather than technical factors, but that it may be worth studying to see if there are any assumptions about the architecture of the Internet that no longer hold true. Similarly, there might be research questions about the state of the Internet that the research community should pay more attention to. For instance, research on Internet traffic flows and how those change wrt their diversity and/or concentration over time. As an example, is there a more recent version of what we saw in 2010 at the IETF 77 plenary: https://www.ietf.org/proceedings/77/slides/plenaryt-4.pdf? <https://www.ietf.org/proceedings/77/slides/plenaryt-4.pdf?>
So, do the folks in the different programs have advice to the IAB in this topic? In particular:

1. Do you see architectural issues within your own field that relates to consolidation trends, and how those affect the Internet?

2. What potential new architectural structures might provide support to either fighting the consolidation trend, or accelerating it?

3. Are there research programs that you believe would be useful in this space, but are currently not being pursued? Which ones?

Jari Arkko for the IAB