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Re: Internic does it again
From: David Stoddard <dgs () us net>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 12:19:34 -0400 (EDT)

Eric Germann writes:
Well our friends at Internic apparently forgot how to update their servers

*.root-servers.net from here is showing a serial of 1997072500 with no
updates made Friday night showing  (11:30am EDT July 27).

        While is is easy to blame the InterNIC and NSI for all the evils
        in the world, the InterNIC of five years ago (or even one year ago)
        is not the InterNIC that exists today.  Last week I went to Network
        Solutions to meet with Dave Holtzman (SVP of Engineering) on an
        unrelated matter, and while I was there I got a chance to observe
        first hand the metamorphosis that has transpired over the past year.
        Here are just a few points that everyone should be aware of:

        *  NSI completely replaced senior level management about nine
           months ago.  Most of those folks were responsible for the arrogant,
           unresponsive attitude that NSI displayed for so many years.  NSI
           replaced those folks with the most qualified people they could
           find.  For example, Gabe Battista, NSI's CEO, was President of
           Cables and Wireless before coming to NSI last year.  Dave Holtzman
           was one of IBM's most-talented senior engineers, and also has a
           substantial business background.  There are dozens of other
           examples throughout the organization.

        *  Since the transistion in the management structure, the call
           support area has gone from three people to 50 people, and the
           engineering support desk has gone from two to over 30 (and they
           are trying to hire more people right now).  Hours have been
           extended from 5 PM EDT to 9 PM EDT, and plans are underway to
           make InterNIC support a 24x7 operation very soon.

        *  The operations area is much like you would expect any large
           industrial organization to have -- a controlled environment 
           computer room with raised floors, fire and water detection alarms,
           racks of equipment and systems, hot spare systems, several large
           Cisco routers including a spare Cisco 7500, three T3 links to
           separate backbone carriers, a UPS system with 200 lead batteries
           capable of running the entire facility for more than 24 hours,
           and a large deisel generator with enough fuel capacity to run
           for two weeks.  The entire facility is secured with access cards,
           limiting people to those areas that they work in.

           [BTW, the entire InterNIC moved from its old location to its new
           location one month ago without any outage -- this is a true test
           of the InterNICs resources and expertise to be able to move an
           operation that large without impacting the rest of us.]

        *  Effort is underway to define and document formal procedures for
           every activity that goes on in the InterNIC.  Systems are being
           implemented everywhere to make the InterNIC as fault tolerant as
           possible.  Based on what I saw, problems like the partial DNS
           update two weeks ago will be a thing of the past very shortly.
           I had the opportunity to talk with Richard Walsh, the Director
           of Operations, about the DNS problem and I am convinced it will
           never happen again -- there are too many automated systems and
           check procedures in place to allow a repeat of the previous
           partial update problem.

        *  There is a complete focus on customer service in the InterNIC
           now.  With a 1600+ percent increase in customer supprt personnel
           in just the past few months (which continues to grow as they are
           able to find and train people), the folks at NSI now talk about
           quality of service, response time, escalation procedures, and other
           customer support concepts that were anathma to the organization
           just one year ago.

           [Case in point -- before Dave Holtzman started posting on NANOG
           a few weeks ago, I can't remember anytime when an SVP at the
           InterNIC cared enough to post anything to the NANOG list.]

        Before I started US Net four years ago, I spent 16 years managing
        software engineering projects for KPMG Peat Marwick and American
        Management Systems (before that I taught CS at UofMD) -- I know
        what it takes to build, operate, and manage an industrial-strength
        operations center, and Network Solutions has one.

        I know what the response to this is -- "These folks are the InterNIC,
        they SHOULD be doing all these things!".  And I agree 100%.  The
        difference is they ARE doing these things now.  This is a direct
        result of the new management at the InterNIC.

        Also, a lot of folks have made derogatory comments about NSI going
        public.  Frankly, I think this is a good idea -- it will give them
        the financial depth to be able to support the InterNIC at a level
        that will benefit all of us.  Based on what I saw, and knowing the
        skills of Battista and Holtzman, NSI is sure to be one of the best
        stock deals of the '90s.

        [FWIW, I have no connection to the InterNIC what so ever -- like
        the rest of you, I rely on them for their domain registration services

        So if your idea of the InterNIC is two engineers, two computers, and
        a half-dozen support personnel with an attitude, forget it -- it is
        not that way anymore.  Dave Holtzman wants to make the InterNIC a
        world-class support organization that puts reliability and customer
        support first.  From what I have seen, he is well on his way ...

        Dave Stoddard
        US Net Incorporated
        dgs () us net

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