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Root Server Scaling Reports Released for Public Comment

6 October 2010

ICANN is releasing two documents pertaining to its ongoing efforts to ensure DNS (Domain Name System) stability of in light of potential root zone growth due to the delegation of new gTLDs (generic Top-Level Domains). Both documents are for public comment until 5 November.

1. Summary of the Impact of Root Zone Scaling

One document describes the potential impact to the root servers due to the inclusion of a number of new technologies and the potential addition of significant numbers of new top-level domains to the root of the DNS. The new technologies are already largely in place:  IPv6 (both in terms of IPv6 addresses being associated with top-level domains and root servers as well as supporting IPv6 queries sent to the root servers), IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names), and security enhancements for the DNS (DNSSEC).

The paper states the assumptions that: there is a cap of 1000 new gTLDs per year being added to the root zone (see accompanying paper for more on this topic); other parameters relating to the management of the DNS root are not altered substantively; normal operational upgrade cycles and resource allocations will continue to occur.  It concludes that these assumptions are sufficient to ensure that scaling of the root, both in terms of new technologies as well as new content, will have no significant impact on the stability of the root system.

Access this public forum here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-201011-en.htm#root-zone-scaling

2. Delegation Rate Scenarios for New gTLDs

This paper describes the model and rationale for the maximum rate of applications that can be processed over the next few years, essentially limiting the rate of new delegations. Based on the limits inherent in the evaluation process, annual delegation rates are expected to be in the 200-300 range at projected applications rates. More importantly (to inform the root zone scaling issue) the annual delegation rate will not exceed 1,000 per year in any case, no matter how many applications are received.  The reasoning and process methodologies are described in the paper.

It is important to note that the limit on the number of delegations does NOT impact the number of applications ICANN is able to accept when the New gTLD Program launches. ICANN will be operationally ready to accept and process from small to a high number of applications. An objective method for determining the order of application processing that conforms to the limited delegation rate is being developed for the next version of the Applicant Guidebook. For specifics about the current evaluation processing timelines, see the Applicant Guidebook, version 4 [PDF, 4.68 MB].

Access this public forum here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-201011-en.htm#delegation-rate-scenarios

What’s next?

Work will continue to ensure stability of the root zone management system over time, for example, ongoing monitoring of aspects of system behavior. Formal communication channels established between ICANN and root server operators so those parties are working together to ensure stable root zone operations.

Background Information:

The efforts to analyze the impact to the Root started in February 2009, with Resolution 2009-02-03-04, when the ICANN Board requested the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC), the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), and the ICANN staff, including the IANA team, to study the potential issues regarding the addition of IDNs, IPv6 addresses, DNSSEC and substantial numbers of IDNs and new gTLDs to the root zone.

Related Links:

New gTLD Program: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-program.htm

Board Resolution September 2010: http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-25sep10-en.htm#2.3