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Why Having a Global DNS Network can Help with Performance and Resiliency

The term “Global Network” seems to get thrown around a lot in tech conversations and can sometimes seem like one of those buzz words like “synergy”. These phrases seem to be used in so many different conversations, they begin to carry no meaning. What does having a Global Network really mean and why do you want one? This blog will outline what it means to have a Global DNS network, and touch on the benefits you can expect.

Performance

Imagine you run a business and your revenue is entirely generated from your website.  Your largest customer is based out of Sydney, Australia, but you currently have a single webserver in Ashburn, VA and you run your DNS server out of this location. Your customer from Sydney visits your website and their resolver doesn’t have the IP address of your endpoint cached, which means in order to get to your webserver, your customer needs to complete a full DNS query.  Your DNS server will then pass this answer back to your end user in Sydney where their browser will go to the IP address your DNS server provided, which is also in Ashburn, VA.

Finally, your customer will arrive at your webserver and begin to load the website.  This means that your end user has gone to Ashburn, VA two times, and is continuing to interact with your endpoint there. What does this mean for your customer? Latency. (Tip: Read more about how DNS works!)

While this whole interaction may only take milliseconds, some large companies have seen as much as a 1% decrease in sales for every 100 milliseconds in latency (forbes.com). If your largest competitor uses Oracle Dyn and their customer queries for their website from Sydney, one of our 18 Anycast points of presence (PoPs) answers the DNS query.  This means they’re getting their DNS answer and ultimately to their website in half the time.

Beyond this example, Oracle Dyn’s Anycast network allows customers to be intelligently routed to one of our various PoPs based on how close they are (measured in network hops) to our PoP.  In a world of tight margins and competition, cutting your latency down could be the difference your customer needs to choose you over the competition.

On top of reducing latency, you may also want to choose a CDN to help increase your global reach and decrease potential latency even further. We do specialize in working with CDN providers and on top of this you are able to leverage our Traffic Director service to make the best use of your CDN’s server locations and load balancing. Our Traffic Director service allows you to intelligently manipulate your routing. An important feature within Traffic Director is that it allows you to create response pools where you can choose specific geographic regions to receive a specified answer. This will ensure that whether it’s for load balancing, targeted web content or intelligent location routing, you are able to use our service to fit your needs. In addition to this, Oracle Dyn has created the Alias record type which is required by many CDN providers, in an ask to place a CNAME at the root of your zone to point to their load balancers.

Resiliency

Now you understand how a Global Network can reduce latency, but what is more important than that? Resiliency. The ability to absorb outside factors and still perform is crucial to today’s businesses and clients. How can a Global Network assist here? Well, let’s start with Disaster Recovery.

Let’s say your DNS provider is utilizing a Unicast network to route traffic and one of their nameservers and points of presence (PoP) are in Miami, FL. A Hurricane hits and their Miami data center loses power and is no longer able to respond to queries. Your customers hitting this nameserver could experience dropped queries, and users being routed to other nameservers or PoPs would see increased latency as queries are unintelligently routed to other PoPs.

Now let’s say you use Oracle Dyn instead, and our Miami PoP were to become unavailable.  Your traffic would seamlessly be sent to other PoP’s based on network hop distance with minimal impact felt to your customer. In an Anycast network, all nameservers are replicated across each of our POP’s as opposed to individual nameservers being mapped to one particular PoP like a unicast network. This level of redundancy separates a truly resilient network from a more simplistic approach. The ability to have multiple data centers/servers able to respond and load balance your customer queries, is something you would also want to look for when choosing a CDN and/or Hosting provider.

Resiliency doesn’t just mean disaster recovery. The topic of the day, and rightfully so would be DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. You can view our page on DDoS, as well as links to multiple other blogs outlining this topic, but the important thing to note is how having a Global Network provides you with enhanced protection against DDoS and allows us to mitigate attacks more effectively. Often times due to the nature of our Anycast Network and our multiple points of presence you can often see DDoS attacks centralized around a single PoP because traffic is routed to the closest location (measured in network hops). This allows us to remove the affected PoP from being served to the external internet and more easily narrow down the source of the attack while providing minimal impact to our customers.

Our multiple PoPs also allow us to more easily load balance traffic to reduce network load across our name servers. The ability for your DNS provider to effectively mitigate attacks with minimal impact on your network is one of the most important feature you should look for when choosing your DNS provider and is what separates a dedicated DNS service like Dyn from an “all in one” solution where your DNS service is packaged into other services. Having multiple web servers you can load balance, whether you’re hosting your own website or are using a hosting/CDN provider, allows you mitigate attacks that may be directed at a particular IP address without using DNS.

Throughout this blog we’ve cut through much of the misunderstanding and confusion surrounding what a Global Network really is, and why it is so crucial to your business to leverage a DNS provider who offers a truly global network. We were also able to see the benefit of ensuring your webhosting and CDN solutions are also using a Global Network. Whether it’s based on performance, or resiliency having a Global Network is crucial to your business and is a buzzword that you definitely want to pay attention to.


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Whois: Ryan Firth

Ryan Firth is a Technical Support Analyst at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.