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Lessons from Guyana: It takes a network to run a network.

It was interesting to see discussions start on the blog around “What does it take to run a registry”. Jacob Malthouse (Liaison for Canada and the Caribbean) and I (John Crain, CTO) have just returned from Georgetown, Guyana.

With us in Georgetown, locked into a classroom for four days, were various others with expertise in networking and running registries and sixteen individuals from the Caribbean who work for or are involved in ccTLD management. The local host was the University of Guyana, who administer .GY and to whom I have to extend a heart felt thankyou!

Guyana Workshop

Why were we in Georgetown?

We were there for a workshop aimed specifically at ccTLD administrators who may not have the resources or networks that others in the developed world take for granted. It’s part of a project originally put together by a group of Internet savvy individuals who wanted to use their skills to make a contribution to improving the state of the DNS around the world.

Funding for the attendees was contributed by ISOC with the bulk of the effort coming from organisations such as the Network Startup Resource Center. ICANN and others also played a small role in the preparation and delivery of the workshops.

Experts on various topics, ranging from systems administration to networking, databases and of course DNS operations are part of this program and either donated their own time or had their time graciously donated by their company.

To date staff from more than fifty ccTLDs have taken part in workshops given in various locations around the globe.

Take a look at http://ws.edu.isoc.org/workshops/2007/ccTLD-Guyana/ to see a list of those who have been so kind as to donate their time, effort and other resources for the Guyana workshop.

As for the question of “what does it take to run a registry?” the answer is not straight forward. Depending on the size of your zone, the complexity of your policies and a multitude of other factors running a registry can range from a part time job to a full fledged business with tens or hundreds of staff.

What we have found is that the basic building blocks of registries are fairly common between any registry. Network operations, database systems for all related data and publication systems, be that, DNS, whois or other, and the most complicated part: policy development.

One of the best tools that we can give any registry, and a core goal of the workshops, is to help build the community of peers so that they can share knowledge and learn from each other. It takes a network to build a network.

It was nice to spend time with such a great group of our colleagues and to be part of that network,

John

Comments

    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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."