January 20, 2005

The .net Top Level Domain and Cross-Coupled Failures

The .net Top Level Domain (TLD) contains the names of the main group of DNS root servers as well as the names of the servers for several other large TLDs, such as .com, .org, .arpa and .mil.

Most of the focus about the .net redelegation has concerned the quality of the registration systems.  But that is a minor matter next to the quality of the name server operation.  If registration problems occur then the only people affected are those who are engaged in obtaining or transferring a name.  But if the name servers go awry then the entire net will be strongly affected.

Because .net contains the name servers for so many other TLDs, any weakness in the .net servers could sweep across the net like a tsunami.

Perhaps part of the .net redelegation should include an effort to reduce the dependency of other TLDs on .net.  Perhaps the name servers for other TLDs should be moved out of .net 

Yes, this will have an impact on the effectiveness of DNS name compression.  But should we not be trying to reduce the cross-dependencies in DNS and protect against cascading net failures and reduce the interdependencies that could hinder recovery from any major failure?

Posted by karl at January 20, 2005 4:37 PM