Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Building Towards a Comprehensive Registry Failover Plan

1 June 2007

Executive Summary

The 2006-2007 ICANN Operating Plan (http://www.icann.org/announcements/operating-plan-22jun06.htm) describes the series of projects and deliverables based on the ICANN Strategic Plan (http://www.icann.org/announcements/strategic-plan-22jun06.htm). According to the Operating Plan, ICANN is to “establish a comprehensive plan to be followed in the event of financial, technical or business failure of a registry operator, including full compliance with data escrow requirements and recovery testing” (see Section 1.1.2).

This report is being prepared as part of the registry failover project to provide guidance to ICANN and the Internet community in the event of a registry failure. This is not intended to be a policy document. The registry failover project poses a complex set of issues that involve ICANN’s mission in both ensuring DNS stability and promoting competition. Following the 29th ICANN International Public Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ICANN will synthesize a best practices document describing registry failover mechanisms. These mechanisms will also provide guidance or be incorporated into ICANN’s new gTLD process potentially as a best practices contractual requirement.

ICANN has conducted a review of the critical functions of a registry, examined transition of a registry from one operator to another, and examined potential failure scenarios. This report finds that the identification of critical functions, along with establishment of best practices by registries will assist ICANN in the event that a registry failure occurs. ICANN has identified a number of scenarios that require further examination and discussion before a registry failover plan can be adopted. This report provides the elements of the registry failover plan and initial recommendations based on current registry practices. These elements include best efforts at geographic diversity of name servers, the creation and testing of registry contingency plans, the establishment of a clear communications plan and identification of a failure as a temporary or long-term condition.

Next Steps

In order to provide guidance to the development of the comprehensive registry failover plan, ICANN is seeking input from all interested stakeholders on the issues described in this report. The scenarios described in this report are intended to serve as examples that will help inform and guide failover plan development. This report will also be discussed in a public forum session during the 29th ICANN International Public Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico (details to be announced when the meeting agenda is posted). Comments on this report may be submitted to registry-failure-report@icann.org through 28 June 2007 23:59 UTC and may be viewed at http://forum.icann.org/lists/registry-failure-report/. In addition, the report will also be posted on the ICANN blog to provide an additional venue for comments and discussion on this topic.

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