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Advanced DNS Speeds Up Services

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Advanced DNS Speeds Up Services

May 12, 2016

  By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor

Domain name systems (DNS) have been kicking around forever on the Internet, so it's always fun to find a company like Teridion that is intelligently turbocharging DNS to improve user and service delivery – especially because Everything is a Service (<fill in the blank> aaS) these days. 

"Harnessing the power of DNS to make the Internet faster," a blog posting available on Teridion's website, discusses how the company applies application-specific SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to speed up Internet traffic through optimum routing paths, using parameters such as throughput and latency.

In a stock delivery model, services would be deployed across multiple servers in a data center, with inbound traffic (users) distributed by a central load balancer with a stock domain name. All the load balancer does is distribute inbound traffic; there's no way to tweak IP packets, since all packets are equal and there's no way to provide priority or quality of service.  Everything works, but not everything works great.

A more intelligent way to handle traffic is to determine what it is and then send the traffic over specific routes.  Uploads and downloads, for example, should be directed to paths with bigger bandwidth, while API calls between a client and server – WebRTC, for example – should be sent over links with lower latency.

Teridion works by having a company/service do a CNAME change to their load server, pointing the front-facing load balancer or whatever the universal inbound server name is to a Teridion-designated name -- the blog example is CNAME  This puts Teridion in the app traffic flow path, enabling it to make better routing decisions based upon the application, throughput, latency, and other characteristics.  

Benefits to service providers using the Teridion DNS redirect include up to 20 times faster performance without having to do other changes, buy new hardware or software, or buying more bandwidth.  Customers treat it as a simple "black box" with the CNAME redirect.

On the Teridion end, the company uses multiple DNS service providers, such as NS1, to intelligent route traffic. For example, Teridion uses various methods to geographically determine where users are at – a variation of a trick you see every day from Foursquare (News - Alert) and Swarm – and then route traffic to the geographically closest server. Teridion further optimizes traffic beyond general geographic distribution – such as East Coast / West Coast – to the best route between the inbound user and the closest data center location.

A lot of people take DNS for granted and assume the only way you can get optimized distribution for services is to build your own networks from scratch, then plug them in at a crazy number of Internet exchanges around the globe.  Certainly, the gaming and financial communities have taken that route, but they have done so because they've got a lot of cash swishing around.

Teridion provides a different path for service delivery optimization short of either going all-in on a content delivery network or building dedicated (expensive) network infrastructure.   With the growing number of software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) and API-based services proliferating across the virtual world, service provider winners will be determined by a combination of cost, fastest and/or most efficient speed of service delivery, and ease of use.   Having a smarter, more efficient DNS to route traffic without having to build a dedicated network is a big win for both service providers and customers.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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