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ICANN Root Server Cluster In Singapore Now Live

Increasing Asia Pacific root server capacity and bolstering the resiliency of the root server system

SINGAPORE – 8 October 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the successful activation of the ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Singapore. This cluster, composed of dozens of servers with substantial Internet connectivity, will help to increase the root server capacity for the Asia Pacific region and bolster the resiliency of the entire Root Server System.

Adding an IMRS Cluster in Singapore

“The Singapore IMRS cluster will be our fourth cluster, in addition to two in North America and one in Europe,” said David Conrad, ICANN SVP and Chief Technology Officer. “Our existing, smaller IMRS sites in the Asia Pacific region already receive twice as many queries as Europe, the next-busiest region. Adding an IMRS cluster in Singapore is both strategic and a good use of ICANN org resources.”

As documented in the OCTO-008 paper, global Domain Name System (DNS) traffic increased by nearly 30 percent during the current COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The IMRS cluster in Singapore will enable more of the queries originating in Asia Pacific to be answered regardless of the behaviour of networks or servers in other regions. In the event of an attack resulting in significant additional traffic globally, the extra capacity provided by the Singapore cluster will absorb the traffic and help to mitigate the attack. Queries in the region can then continue to be answered, thus reducing the risk of downtime caused by an inability to query the top of the DNS name hierarchy.

Domain Name System queries and root servers

Root servers respond to initial DNS lookup requests made by DNS resolvers generally operated by Internet service providers. For all other queries, the root server will respond with either a referral to the appropriate top-level domain (TLD) name server or an error response (e.g. to indicate a non-existent TLD). For example, a query sent to a root server by a DNS resolver for “company.example” will elicit a response that directs the DNS resolver to query one of the name servers for the “.example” TLD.

The root name server system is comprised of over 1,000 instances operated by 12 independent organizations, including ICANN. Each root server is made up of a number of independent machines at multiple locations. The IMRS is made up of nearly 170 large and small sites across the world. The machines at the large sites are known as clusters, while the ones at small sites are known as instances.

ICANN’s Asia Pacific regional office is located in Singapore, where the Internet infrastructure is highly developed and robust, making it well-suited to support an IMRS cluster. “We are very grateful to the Singapore government for its support in establishing the IMRS cluster,” said Conrad.

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