Sponsor: Noction makes BGP make smarter choices (posted 2014-06-10)
If you haven't seen this TED talk, go do that first: The paradox of choice by Barry Schwartz. Schwartz is a psychologist who talks about how having more choice isn't always a good thing.
This applies to networking, too. If you have a router connected to (say) two ISPs with BGP, for every destination on the internet, your router now has to decide whether to send packets over ISP A or ISP B. If your router consistently makes the right choice, you're better off than someone who is only connected through one ISP. But if your router consistently (or just mostly) makes the wrong choice, your performance will actually be worse than someone connected through one ISP!
Unfortunately, the BGP protocol has a very limited notion of what is best. This means that in practice, it's a good idea to not leave BGP to its own devices, but rather check whether your router(s) at the very least avoid underperforming paths. However, this can be a lot of work.
An alternative is to use a system that automatically optimizes routing performance, such as the Noction Intelligent Routing Platform:
Acting as a route reflector, Noction IRP can improve BGP routes, reducing packet loss and latency rates with over 40%. The platform can also proactively re-route outages and blackouts, improving the overall network performance for enterprises connected to multiple service providers. Aside its performance improvement worth, Noction IRP delivers Exquisite reporting options, enabling operations to see exactly what happens to their traffic in the internet's mid-mile.
Noction will be sponsoring this website, please check out their web page and see if the IRP fits your needs.