Amazon Web Services (see previous CloudAve coverage) today announced the beta release of their new DNS service, Route 53, as a part of their offerings. Unlike many others, Amazon is not resting on their laurels and the large marketshare in the public cloud market. Instead, they are innovating at such a pace that their competitors are finding it hard to keep up. Route 53, their DNS web service, fits very well with their strategy for a public cloud world domination. With just one stroke, Amazon has made life difficult for companies like DNSmadeeasy, Dyndns, Ultradns, etc..
What is Route 53?
Anyone who has set up and maintained a nameserver will know that they use port 53 to service the dns queries. Looks like Amazon chose this name based on this fact and they also have plans to make this service define the final aspect of distributed system naming. According to Werner Vogels of Amazon,
We chose the name “Route 53” as a play on the fact that DNS servers respond to queries on port 53. But in the future we plan for Route 53 to also give you greater control over the final aspect of distributed system naming, the route your users take to reach an endpoint.
Route 53 is a highly available and scalable DNS service which will let their users have an extremely reliable service at an affordable cost. It gives programmatic access to controlling the service like adding, deleting or modifying DNS records.
Why is this interesting?
Well, DNS services are not something new and we have been using them ever since web became part of our consciousness. From the early days where we managed our own own nameservers using BIND, we, then, started outsourcing the service to third party providers like DNSmadeeasy, Ultradns, etc.. These third party providers took the hassle out of managing and securing the service for us. However, there were some issues with using the third party DNS providers.
- Some of the providers had latency issues that slowed down many websites
- Some of the providers have trouble scaling.
- In some cases, some of these providers had downtime due to various reasons. The lack of high availability of DNS service could end up affecting the bottom line of many business clients. In fact, one of the well known provider in this space, DNS Made Easy, suffered a multi-GB DDOS attack and brought in downtime for some of their customers. In fact, this attack broke the 8 year record they had for 100% uptime.
AWS, with their experience in cloud computing, are well suited to offer a highly scalable and reliable DNS service. By having a global network of DNS servers, they can easily reduce the latency in the queries. DNS queries are automatically routed to the nearest DNS server, and thus answered with the best possible performance.
As Amazon pushes hard into the public cloud space, DNS could turn out to be a pain point. Not only DNS service should be scalable and highly available with low latency, it is also crucial from the security perspective. If Amazon wants to offer a seamless cloud experience, they should control the DNS of their clients. With Route 53, Amazon could offer a tighter integration with AWS services, thereby helping their clients on their DNS needs. Route 53 not just helps offer better performance but can also help handle DNS related attacks.
Highlights of this service
Some of the highlights include:
- High Availability
- Tighter integration with other AWS services. However, it can also be used by those outside of AWS
- Low Latency
- Not just cost effective, it also uses pay as you go model like their other cloud services
- Secure. By integrating the service with AWS Identity and Access Management, enterprises can easily control who has access to the DNS
With this move, Amazon can easily disrupt this market segment. By pricing it at a comparable level to many of the other DNS service providers and by offering a highly scalable and highly available DNS service, Amazon can get rid of some of the players from the market. More than any short term market disruption, I find the long term benefits to Amazon’s public cloud more interesting. What do you think?
- Expanding the Cloud with DNS – Introducing Amazon Route 53 (allthingsdistributed.com)
- Amazon Route 53 – The AWS Domain Name Service (aws.typepad.com)
- Q: Why pay for DNS? (go.theregister.com)