Carrier Grade DNS: Not your Parents DNS

Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the overlooked systems in the deployment of 4G and Next Generation All IP Networks. The focus tends to be on revenue-generating applications that provide ROI for these major investments. For these to be successful the CSP's have first got to be able to deploy these networks, and provide a high quality of experience in order to be sure that these services are truly revenue generating. However, most CSP’s have overlooked some of the basic IP functions in order to provide these revenue generating applications. The building blocks for these applications are a quality, efficient, scalable, and feature-rich IP architecture. One of the key items that are required for this IP architecture is Carrier Grade DNS. DNS has been a long-standing requirement for Internet services for CSP's. However with these all IP networks, DNS is being used for new capabilities along with supporting increases in data traffic for standard content and Internet services.

For years CSP's and employed cheap, inexpensive, and basic DNS systems on their network. This was done to provide basic DNS services and to minimize cost. However with and developing networks, these basic DNS deployments will not support the requirements of the future. DNS services are starting to be used for new and unique capabilities, which include managing traffic on both the internal network along with external content that is located on the Internet. Along with this new functionality, DNS is also required to provide security of DNS transactions and have the ability to mitigate against DNS attacks, along with providing for authoritative DNS zone management, resolution, and non-authoritative support, such as caching. The significant challenge for communication service providers is to provide these DNS capabilities while still maintaining a manageable Capex and Opex. This challenge can only be met by deploying a carrier grade DNS solution.

The carrier grade DNS solution comprises all the basic capabilities of DNS, along with including a logical scaling capability, security for DNS transactions, and an ability to intelligently manage authoritative zones. Historically, traditional DNS solutions have addressed scaling by simply adding more hardware. This method is a Capex nightmare. With the increases in data and data demands, these problems with DNS scaling will grow exponentially. The only solution to this problem is the ability to deploy an intelligent DNS system that allows the communication service provider the ability to manage how DNS queries and how DNS authoritative responses are managed and delivered to subscribers.

Since DNS is key in the ability to identify the location of web content it is vulnerable to both DNS hijacking attacks and denial of service (DoS) or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. To prevent DNS hijacking attacks, carrier grade DNS solutions must be incorporated DNSSEC. By incorporating DNSSEC, responses to subscribers are guaranteed the identity of the answering authoritative DNS. DoS/DDoS attacks cannot be prevented. The only strategy they can be taken against DoS/DDoS is to mitigate the impact of these attacks. The best way to address the mitigation the impact of DoS/DDoS attacks is through a distributed carrier grade DNS architecture. By using such technologies as Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) and IP Anycast, a distributed carrier grade DNS architecture can isolate and limit the impacts of DoS/DDoS attacks. GSLB allows the communication service provider to manage how DNS requests are answered based upon the location of the contents and the requester. IP Anycast allows for multiple systems to share the same IP address thereby distributing the number of systems answering request. By using these distributed systems DoS/DDoS attacks can be isolated and minimize the number of systems impacted.

As we have seen over the past year, data use on CSP networks is going to continue to increase. To provide a successful ARPU model, a Carrier Grade DNS that provides for high availability, economical scalability, subscriber security, and high performance in essential. With all of the many challenges in a CSP network, basic IP infrastructure can be overlooked. An intelligent management system of these IP essential systems is the first step in reducing an ever expanding Capex and providing for a high quality of experience for your subscribers.


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Published Oct 06, 2011
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