Is this ISP virtualization?

Ok, I know what I’m about to describe isn’t ISP virtualization, but the task does bear some resemblance to what we do in the data center to abstract services from the underlying infrastructure, thus making it possible to elastically expand and contract the environment as necessary.

At Westminster College, more and more services rely heavily on our Internet connection, many of which have become mission-critical. Our current connection is a serious single point of failure. Although we’ve had great luck so far with our provider, we’ve been lucky. We need to keep this connection up by implementing some kind of redundancy,

Further, as bandwidth demands from students continue to skyrocket, doubling roughly every 18 to 24 months, we need to find a way to add less expensive bandwidth to our arsenal while continuing to maintain our high quality, high cost connection.

Enter Elfiq. By playing DNS tricks, we achieve the ability to fully utilize bandwidth from multiple Internet Service Providers for both outbound and inbound traffic. The Elfiq device handles the heavy lifting for us. In essence, it abstracts the Internet connections out and makes on-the-fly decisions about which path to use based on current conditions. Sounds sort of like virtualization.

We’ve only just ordered our Elfiq boxes, but they will solve the business problems I previously described. We also considered FatPipe, but the pricing wasn’t in our budget.

For the record, I seriously considered simply implementing BGP but don’t have that skill set in house nor is it really one that I want to attain and maintain, hence the hardware solution.

Once we’re fully implemented, I’ll report back!

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