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CIRA is evolving its DNS services to support other ccTLDs

By Byron Holland
President and CEO

CIRA partners with Internet Foundation in Sweden as technical and business partner to deliver Anycast DNS service to customers in Sweden.

Today we announced that the Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS), operator of the .SE and .NU country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) has chosen CIRA as a technical and business partner to help deliver an Anycast DNS service to customers in Sweden. It’s a huge deal for us and the beginning of a great partnership that we’re very excited about. 

I want to take a few minutes to describe how CIRA got here and why we think this is a great move for our organization and our community. It’s no secret that the ccTLD business today is exceptionally different from five years ago. Our market is fundamentally different (see the 1000+ new gTLDs we’re all competing with) and the online environment that we’re operating in is in a constant state of attack from malicious online actors. 

What’s a modern ccTLD to do? 

At CIRA we’ve taken this new reality head-on.  After reviewing the existing options on the market, we made the decision to build our own DNS infrastructure. We have made significant investments in a global Anycast DNS architecture to host the zone file for the .CA and help keep it resilient, safe and secure. 

Owning our own DNS architecture has allowed us to make decisions about how the service will support our business and our values. We’ve placed Canada’s Internet Exchanges at the centre of our network design, peering locally in the communities where people are accessing .CA domains every day. We’ve built a service that is scalable with a network architecture that is designed to help protect .CA users against foreign-originating DDoS attacks. We’ve recruited some of the world’s top talent in this space and have been able to develop both a great product and a great team to support it. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in a short period.  

We recognized that we’re not alone in facing an expanded threat profile and we’ve built a service, called D-Zone Anycast DNS that leverages the same technology, data-centers, and transit.  We offer this service to both our channel partners and other Canadian organizations.  This is one of the ways we are creating a diversified revenue stream for CIRA (as we face a maturing domain market and need to move beyond just domain registration revenue), while bringing a top-shelf Canadian-made DNS service to our customers who couldn’t previously access one. 

Today’s announcement expands CIRA’s service further. We are delivering a fully turn-key global Anycast DNS network to The Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS). Because we have both the infrastructure and the team in place, CIRA can rapidly deliver a white-labeled solution for IIS that it can offer to customers in Sweden. The service will share the D-Zone cloud architecture (which will be augmented by a new node in Stockholm). IIS will have its own customer portal, custom-branding, and separated customer databases. In short, IIS will have its own world-class Anycast DNS solution, leveraging the infrastructure that CIRA has built over the past two years. 

It’s the technology and CIRA’s ability to deliver that makes this deal work, but I am also struck by the strong values-alignment between our two organizations. We’re both actively working to nudge the Internet in our respective geographies in the right direction and are supporters of projects and programs to build a more inclusive, safer and better performing Internet. 

CIRA and IIS are not alone in looking for ways to scale our businesses, while improving the Internet experience in our communities. Our D-Zone Anycast DNS is a great example of how this can work. Outside of the traditional hosting and registrar markets, our first big successes have been in the so-called MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) and we’ve signed-on several of Canada’s major research and education networks. These are organizations that target Canadian users and recognize their contribution to a stronger national Internet. 

I know that many of my peers in the ccTLD community are struggling with what their future portfolio of services will look like. It’s a rapidly evolving business and we all need to shift our thinking. We’ve found success with our Anycast DNS offering and we know that IIS will also benefit from this service. 

We’re happy to talk with other partners from the ccTLD community who are exploring their options. We may be just the partner you are looking for. 


About the author
Byron Holland

Byron Holland (MBA, ICD.D) is the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the national not-for-profit best known for managing the .CA domain and developing new cybersecurity, DNS, and registry services.

Byron is an expert in internet governance and a seasoned entrepreneur. Under Byron’s leadership, CIRA has become one of the leading ccTLDs in the world, with over 3 million domains under management. Over the past decade, he has represented CIRA internationally and held numerous leadership positions within ICANN. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for TORIX, and is a member of the nominations committee for ARIN. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, two sons, and their Australian shepherd, Marley.

The views expressed in this blog are Byron’s opinions on internet-related issues, and are not necessarily those of the organization.