Report from the third ZAPF event: GOTI, WCNOG & telemetry monitoring

We co-hosted the third South African Peering Forum in Cape Town, South Africa in November, during AfricaCom week. It was the biggest meeting yet, with sponsors including Workonline, AMS-IX, DE-CIX, Facebook, Flexoptix and LINX. Thank you to all, this wouldn’t be possible without you.

Workonline senior network engineer, Robert Jooste, shares his highlights of the day:

Andrew Owens from NAPAfrica shared news of an interesting Teraco initiative that is intended to benefit the Internet in South Africa. They have launched a cabinet called the Good Of The Internet (GOTI) where people can host services and kit that is of benefit to the entire industry. Currently it is only serving DNS servers, but the plan is to expand this over time. A fundamental principle of the GOTI cabinet, however, is that it cannot offer services for free that other ISPs would charge for, or would compete with customers of Teraco. I’m very keen to see what will happen with this cabinet and how it would change the Internet in Southern Africa for the better.

After Edrich De Lange from INX-ZA and Thusa Connect spoke about the success of KZNNOG and the “basic formula” it follows, the room erupted with excitement as the Cape Town community discussed the feasibility of creating their own network operators’ group. A 15 minute talk soon turned into a 45 minute session as the founding of the Western Cape Network Operators Group (WCNOG) was discussed. In fact, the new NOG bagged its first two sponsors for its first two meetups then and there. A mailing list was set up, and once logistics are finalised, you should look out for the kick-off of the WCNOG!

As an active member of the KZNNOG, I can say that this is a very exciting thing to happen in our community. This allows us, the network operators, to regularly expand on issues that we face, collectively work on solutions and then implement them. This also hopefully heralds more active involvement by the South African Internet community in discussing, voting and making a difference to the Internet in Africa and policies within AfriNIC.

Andrew Alston from Liquid Telecom spoke about telemetry monitoring which is set to totally change the way we monitor our networks. Telemetry monitoring will replace simple network management protocol  (SNMP) completely, which is good news as SNMP is slow and causes our routers to work harder than they should. By contrast, telemetry monitoring is easy on the routers and updates happen in real time as opposed to the 5 minute average that SNMP offers. This is a fairly new thing in networking as it has only been around for about two years.

For more about the South African Peering Forum, see