SIDN, an independent foundation responsible for the stable and secure operation of the .nl domain, has approached hosting provider LeaseWeb to integrate SIDN’s DNS anycast technology into LeaseWeb's worldwide IP network. This will enable SIDN to step up the protection of the .nl domain and better ensure uninterrupted availability. The routing technology installed at LeaseWeb Netherlands has since been activated.
The rise in the number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and especially the ferocity of these attacks, recently prompted SIDN to have its DNS anycast technology distributed “in the field” by Internet-related parties willing to do, such as telecommunications and hosting providers. The Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands (SIDN) is the first registry in Europe to adopt this method in order to lend added protection to the national top-level domain.
LeaseWeb responded favorably to SIDN’s request and immediately made the necessary data center facilities available free of charge, making the company the first market participant where the DNS anycast technology was delivered including a fully-fledged .nl-name server.
Qualifying criteria for market participants
“The usage of the .nl domain name is made more secure by having our DNS anycast technology hosted on a broader basis by Dutch Internet companies,” explains Marc Groeneweg, Project Manager IT at SIDN. “If SIDN's delivery of .nl services were to be impacted by DDoS attacks, the .nl domain will simply remain available by resorting to this routing technology, which is available locally.”
LeaseWeb was one of the first market participants to be approached by SIDN because of the size of the hosting company and the scope of its worldwide IP network. “We were initially thinking of telecom providers, cable parties and mobile providers, and similar types of businesses, to approach for distributed hosting of our DNS anycast technology. As a hosting provider however, LeaseWeb is simply huge in the industry. The company is a global top-10 player, which made it interesting for us to have our routing technology hosted by them.”
“As a hosting company, Internet security is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we did not have to think twice to comply with SIDN’s request and made our facilities available free of charge,” says Freek Hemminga, Global Channel Development & Alliances Manager at LeaseWeb. “This also ties in with the LeaseWeb Community Outreach Program where we make free server capacity and bandwidth available to organizations that act to monitor, identify, and tackle cybercrime perpetrators together with us.”
DNS anycast technology investment
Since then, five other major Internet companies have also responded favorably to SIDN’s request to implement the DNS anycast technology locally. As not all organizations want to have a node in their own network, SIDN also placed a node on the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), which is already being used by eight other Internet businesses. However, the market participants approached by SIDN are required to comply with a number of qualification criteria and technical requirements. For one thing, like LeaseWeb, they need to have substantial scope.
Groeneweg: “Our investment in deploying the routing technology locally needs to have a significant impact. These market participants need to have a certain volume. In addition, we are expecting these parties to run their routing operations in full compliance with ‘BCP 38 best practices’, to support IPv6 and, for example, to run an active policy against ‘open resolvers’ on their IP network, as these make the Internet all the more vulnerable to DDoS-attacks.”
Whereas Domain Name System (DNS) technology is used to translate computer domain names into numerical IP addresses and vice versa, DNS anycast technology is a method to make DNS servers available on a duplicated and geographically distributed basis, which enhances availability. In addition to a fully-fledged .nl name server, the technology delivered to LeaseWeb Netherlands also includes a switch, a firewall, plus a node.
In order to install the DNS anycast technology, LeaseWeb made colocation rack space at one of its Dutch data centers available to SIDN, including redundant power supply, network access, and capacity on its worldwide IP network. The technology is directly linked to LeaseWeb’s IP backbone.
SIDN is responsible for the functional stability and development of the .nl internet domain. There are now more than five million registered .nl domain names and SIDN handles more than a billion search queries every day. SIDN is well respected in the fields of governance and administration, where it operates as an expert partner on technical, legal and policy matters relating to domain names and the domain name infrastructure. From that basis, SIDN is also closely involved with various wider community initiatives, with the emphasis on increasing the security, reliability, openness and accessibility of the internet. Because the internet plays an increasingly important role in the economy and society, SIDN supports various initiatives, through which government, the business community and the scientific community work together to achieve innovation. SIDN generates its income from the registration of domain names. As a result, SIDN is able to continually invest in the reliability and security of the .nl domain and in assuring the continuity of the organization. SIDN also invests in social initiatives that provide added value for the Dutch internet community.