Marketing

Sections that follow describe the target market for this book, make some guesses about the market size, and comment on potential competition. I'd only expect the target market comments to remain in the completed book's preface.

The Market for this Book

I've designed this book to meet these four distinct audiences and their needs:

In addition to the Network Manager, it's becoming more important for the MIS manager or CIO to have at least a basic understanding of the mechanisms behind reliable Internet connections. Early chapters will be of interest to these audiences as they cover the basic network design decisions that have to be made, the benefits, and the costs.

The detailed sections of this book are of interest only if you'll be involved in managing your own reliable Internet connection. However, the earlier material will be of interest even if you've decided to leave the details to your provider but want to be familiar with the issues involved.

Since real-time BGP decisions can trade off cost for performance, this book is of potential interest to any manager responsible for minimizing Internet connectivity costs or maximizing performance.

The router configuration examples given in this book will use cisco IOS so it'll be of greatest interest to those with cisco routers at their border with the Internet.

If you are running a large BGP network, there's a part of the book covering the BGP features designed just for you. That'll get you started. But the range of possible architectures for a large BGP network and the different business environments in which they run make it impractical to give complete examples for large BGP networks.

Market size

Here's little technical factoid that'll help estimate market size: an "Autonomous System" (AS) number is required to use BGP with more than one ISP. These numbers are assigned by a central authority (e.g. ARIN). The largest number assigned at this writing is 12,287. (Some of the very largest corporations and ISPs have more than one AS number, but that's the exception rather than the rule.) Hence there's a market of at least 12,000 interested folks.

It's also interesting to note that the ARIN database gives you the E-Mail and postal addresses of the network administrators requesting these AS numbers. Talk about tightly targeted marketing! There may be some legal/ethical concerns, but a direct mail piece to AS number registrants announcing such a book might produce good results. (Type "whois -h whois.arin.net 12287" at your nearest Unix prompt to have a look at an entry from the database.)

Competition

Cisco Press has published "Internet Routing Architectures" by Basam Halabi, ISBN 1562056522, (C)1997. This is a hard cover 500 pager that'll scare off many who need BGP as a means to an end (but not as an end itself). It does have two chapters with some router configuration fragments, but much of the rest of the content is in a generic, vendor-neutral format that makes it difficult to apply for someone struggling with BGP for the first time. There's nothing in the way of the transition plans that I expect to include.

Addison-Wesley has published "BGP4 Inter-Domain Routing in the Internet" by John W. Stewart III, ISBN 0-201-37951-1, (C)1999. Although a small book in size (5-3/8 x 8-1/4) and length (130 pages), this book gives a thorough description of the BGP protocol itself. It takes a "protocol up" point of view throughout. That's ok for somebody who's job is BGP, but it's inappropriate for somebody trying to solve real-world problems with BGP and then get on with the rest of their work.

I think there are a large number of readers who's job involves reliable Internet connectivity (among a zillion other things). They could care less about the protocol. They just want to know what decisions they have to make, what to buy, how to configure it, and how to monitor it so they can tell when it's broken.

Another potential competitor is O'Reilly's own "Managing IP Networks with Cisco Routers," by Scott Ballew. It has only 8 pages dealing with BGP. The book I'm proposing would be much more of a compliment than a competitor. I can see several places in my proposed book where I could reference this book.

Copyright © 1999-2000 by Robert A. Van Valzah