Improving DNS

We like to concentrate on what we’re good at, and therefore don’t run our own DNS or Mail services – relying on trusted external providers to provide these services – however, the importance of DNS cannot be underestimated.

Some time ago we moved from the – reliable – DNS Made Easy that had served our domains for many years to Cloudflare amidst promises of Web Application Firewalls and other DoS protection. Unfortunately it never quite worked as expected. We swiftly disabled these, leaving Cloudflare as nothing more than a DNS provider – something where DNS Made Easy consistently ranks higher in performance and in features.

Earlier this week we moved back to DNS Made Easy or, rather, to the latest incarnation of their product – Constellix.

Global DNS

One feature we’ve taken advantage of immediately is their Global Traffic Director. This allows us to present different DNS records depending on where a query originated.

So now customers in the USA using our main SIP outbound address will see a different set of SRV records from those in the UK and Europe, pointing instead to our US PoPs negating the need to use location-specific hostnames in this region.

We’re hoping to be able to take this one step further soon, and dynamically alter the SRV records you see based on network performance and availability ensuring that – for customers within the UK and Europe – you always reach the best site, despite using the same domain.

Performance

Independent testing consistently puts DNSMadeEasy and Constellix at the top of the charts for performance. Almost twice as fast as CloudFlare, and 5x faster than the likes of GoDaddy, and an incredible 25-30x faster than the likes of Rackspace.

Whilst DNS resolution is still measured in milliseconds, performance is important when there are in the region of 20+ million queries per month for simwood.com domains, even taking into account caching (and we know some customers cache DNS results for abnormally long periods!) and the fact that (against our advice) many customers insist on hardcoding IP addresses for SIP proxies.

This sort of performance means that even if you were to make a new lookup for every call to get the best SRV records at that time, we’re confident that Constellix can scale with that and respond in a way few others can.

More than DNS

Constellix offers a lot more than just DNS, and provides the ability to dynamically alter our DNS responses based on network performance and has a powerful API. We’re only scratching the surface of these features internally, but some of them are a good match for us.

Sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch! It isn’t, we just respect people who do things right and know our customers demand the same of us.