I have been on the IAOC for about a year and wanted to explain my
view how the IAOC decides to to have an IETF meeting in a specific
location. I thought this might be useful given the discussion about
IETF72 in Dublin. This is my personal view, not anything official
from the IAOC.
First of all and for background, the IETF uses the revenue from the
IETF meetings to pay for the meetings themselves and for the other
fixed costs of running the IETF. Meeting costs include meeting
rooms, power, power strips, AV, cookies, drinks, continental
breakfast, network, WLAN, IETF secretariat costs associated with the
meeting, etc., etc. The fixed costs of running the IETF include IETF
secretariat, phone conferences, IAD salary, RFC Editor, IT
infrastructure to host ietf.org, software tools development (those
not done by our great volunteer developers!), etc., etc. The total
expenses are greater than the total revenue. The ISOC pays for the
difference (e.g., the deficit). The budget information can be found
at: http://iaoc.ietf.org/. In round numbers total expenses are about
$4M, revenue is about $2.5M, and the ISOC contributes about $1.5M.
If it wasn't for the ISOC we would have a big problem.
I believe the IAOC is trying to keep this stable and not grow the
deficit beyond what the ISOC is willing to subsidize.
We have two kinds of IETF meetings, hosted meetings and non-hosted
meetings. When we have a host (e.g., Alcatel-Lucent for IETF72) they
pay for a lot of the meeting expenses. This reduces our expenses and
helps support the rest of the IETF operation. Hosts usually cover
the expenses for the network, circuits, NOC, social, t-shirts, etc.
Sometimes they pay the IETF to do some of these things or pay for
them directly. When we have a non-hosted meeting, we pay for
everything. Not surprisingly the IAOC prefers to have hosted
meetings. In most cases the host has a preference for where they
would like to host the meeting. For example, the host for IETF72
wanted the meeting to be in Dublin. As long as the facilities in
that location are acceptable we will do it at the host's preferred
location. Acceptable includes the right ratio of large and small
meeting rooms, hotel room availability and price, ability to build a
working WLAN network, availability of transit network connections,
availability of other hotel rooms and restaurants, etc. We won't go
somewhere if we don't think we can have a successful meeting. That
means in a location where we think people are willing to travel to,
get visas, hotel rooms are not $500 per night, etc. We will be more
flexible on some of these things to meet the hosts desire for a
specific location, but not to the point where don't think the meeting
would be successful.
In the case of Dublin, the IAOC did understand that the sites
distance to Dublin wasn't ideal, but it was the only site we could
find in the area that meet the other requirements. In this case, we
will try to ameliorate this issue by providing busses to downtown
Dublin. In my view we are having a meeting in Dublin because we have
a host to wants to host the meeting there. I don't think we would
have done it there if there was not a host.
I hope this helps the IETF community to understand the decision
process the IAOC uses. We are trying hard to book meetings as far
out in the future as possible, maintain a good balance of North
America, Europe, and Asia, and keep the IETF financially afloat. If
we had some other significant source of income besides meeting
revenue, there would be more flexibility, but until that happens we
will continue to have a preference for hosted meetings.
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