Purpose: To seek input from the community on recommendations for early warning of issues that might arise from root zone scaling.
Current Status: The recommendations have been published.
Next Steps: Either implementation of the recommendations as-is, or a new version of the recommendations will be published.
Section I: Description and Explanation
ICANN's Office of the CTO (OCTO) has recently published the document titled "Recommendations for Early Warning for Root Zone Scaling," which details earlier concern about root zone scaling and proposes methods to get early warning if the root zone is growing faster than the public DNS can handle. With this request for Public Comments, ICANN is asking for community input on the proposed methods.
Section II: Background
A decade ago, it became clear to the community that the root zone might grow significantly larger due to the addition of many more generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Discussions in the community led to various concerns, including:
- Root server operators (RSOs) might not be able to handle the anticipated zone growth
- The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) might become overwhelmed with requests for additions and changes to the root zone
- Recursive resolvers could run out of cache space
- Anti-abuse communities and law enforcement agencies could have trouble dealing with a greatly increased number of new gTLDs
- ICANN processes could be severely impacted by the increased number of gTLDs
To mitigate these risks, ICANN stakeholders, including the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), proposed an early warning system to alert the community that the growth of the root zone was proceeding too quickly. Discussions on what such a system would entail did not lead to the deployment of such a system due to a lack of agreement on what should be measured, and how those measurements could be made.
It is important to note that the topic of this document is the rate of scaling the root zone, not determining a maximum size for that zone. The RSOs as a group have not expressed any concern about a particular root zone size. However, the speed of additions and changes to the root zone might be an issue for RSOs that are not prepared.
This document describes the initial desire for an early warning system, outlines proposals that were ultimately abandoned, and details a new proposal for a non-technical means for providing an early warning that the root zone is growing too rapidly. The document assumes a medium amount of understanding of the root server system (RSS) and the various parties who manage it.
ICANN seeks input from the community about the recommendations in this document.