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Case Study: A Harmonious Relationship

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Rock Steady
"But the first and most important criteria is that a 10G provider be able to bring an excellent experience to all of our listeners. That can only be done by providers that have superior technical staff and robust infrastructure with enough capacity," Ginsberg says. "Being able to deliver a diverse path to the Internet is something we put a strong premium on as well—that’s all about meeting service level agreements and providing fault tolerance."

Pandora’s media servers provide data on how long it takes to deliver audio to each end user, which means that Ginsberg’s team can assess the performance of each of its carriers. "That’s one way we know that NTT Com has outstanding performance," he says. "Generally we’ve found their reliability has been fantastic."

On the few occasions where Pandora has had to address an issue in the NTT Com network, engineers were able to call directly into the NTT Com network operations center (NOC) to quickly resolve the issue, or to get questions answered by a certified network engineer. "We certainly like that we can call directly into the NOC," Ginsberg says. "NTT Com has been responsive and we’ve really been satisfied with the quality of their answers."

Pandora has been similarly pleased with the way NTT Com handles routine maintenance on its network, both in terms of communicating planned maintenance windows and performing the work on schedule, he says.

Looking ahead, Pandora is planning to employ the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which is the core routing protocol on the internet. BGP will provide additional redundancy and load balancing for Pandora by giving it more granular control of traffic flows. For example, if a large number of Pandora users are served by the same ISP, they can be divided onto separate 10Gb links provided by different carriers.

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