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ICANN Installs Root Server Cluster in Singapore

I am pleased to update our community on the installation of an ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Singapore. This new cluster will help to increase the root server capacity for the Asia Pacific region and bolster the resiliency of the entire Root Server System.

What is an IMRS cluster?

There are 13 root server identities in the world. ICANN org manages one of them, the IMRS, previously known as the L-Root. The IMRS is made up of independent machines located at nearly 170 large and small sites across the world. An IMRS cluster refers to a large site, composed of dozens of servers with substantial Internet connectivity. Clusters have considerable capacity to answer Domain Name System (DNS) queries.

While the capacity of IMRS clusters is useful in times of normal query load, this becomes critical in times of larger-than-normal load. For example, this capacity is essential during distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks when the IMRS is flooded with traffic.

Why Asia? Why Singapore?

We believe that our decision to add an IMRS cluster in Singapore is both strategic and a good use of ICANN org resources. There are three IMRS clusters – two in North America and one in Europe. The upcoming fourth cluster in Singapore will help address existing and anticipated increases in demand for root services in the Asia Pacific region.

Our existing IMRS sites in the Asia Pacific region already receive twice as many queries as Europe, the next-busiest region. The IMRS cluster in Singapore will provide a significant increase in overall resiliency for the IMRS by allowing queries originating in Asia Pacific to be answered regardless of the behavior of networks or servers in other regions. Also, this deployment is a timely exercise against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as DNS traffic has increased by nearly 30% during lockdowns across the world.

In the event of an attack resulting in significant additional traffic, the extra capacity provided by the Singapore cluster will allow the traffic to be absorbed and help mitigate the attack. With sufficient capacity, queries in the Asia Pacific region can then continue to be answered, minimizing or eliminating downtime caused by an inability to access root service.

Our Asia Pacific regional office is located in Singapore, where the Internet infrastructure is highly developed and robust, making it well-suited to support an IMRS cluster. In addition, the country is extremely well connected via submarine cables. We are grateful to the Singapore government for its support in establishing the IMRS cluster.

What's next?

My team is working on a study to better understand where siting new IMRS instances within the network topology would provide the most benefit to users. We will continue to monitor and add more clusters as needed. If you wish to learn more, I encourage you to read this overview of the Root Server System (OCTO-010) published in May and available in several languages.


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."