Pros and Cons of Cloud DNS Services

As more organizations move to the cloud for Domain Name System (DNS) services, the global DNS services market is now valued at more than $215M, with continued growth expected.

There are many advantages of cloud-based DNS, including affordability, scalability, resiliency and security, especially in regard to absorbing DDoS attacks. Depending on the provider, cloud-based DNS may enable the organization to easily configure DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions), which provides a cryptographic method of authenticating DNS records and helps protect against many common DNS security issues.

Other advantages of cloud-based DNS services may include advanced traffic routing, such as AWS’s Route 53 cloud DNS service, which offers round-robin, latency-based routing, geographic DNS and geo-proximity routing in addition to simple failover. Hosting your DNS in the cloud may also provide better monitoring and visibility, and enable organizations to make configuration changes easier and more quickly.

On the other hand, moving to cloud-based DNS means that your network – and all your enterprise applications – are reliant on a third-party. If the DNS provider has an outage, the impact to your business could be catastrophic.

In addition to the different services offered by cloud DNS providers, the location of the provider relevant to your users bears consideration. If a DNS resolver is “far away” from a company from a network-topology perspective, then this adds latency to each client connection requiring a DNS resolution that is not cached locally. There can also be problems with geolocation, if your DNS resolver is not close to your true physical location.

If you are thinking about utilizing cloud DNS services, do your homework before making the move. There are many providers in this burgeoning market to choose from. Fortunately there have been a number of studies and evaluations of the various providers. In addition to comparing their services and costs, you should test the performance before choosing using one of the tools available specifically for testing DNS, such as DNSdiag, DNSPerf, or Namebench.

For more on the advantages and disadvantages of cloud DNS, read my latest Network World article, “DNS in the cloud: Why and why not.”