Now Shipping: Improved DNS for Faster Lookup Times
April 16, 2015 | Adam Ossowski
Over the past several months, we’ve been making changes to our DNS infrastructure and providers to improve the overall speed of our network. Because our customers’ domains do tens of billions of requests per month for ads, widgets, games and more, this upgrade affects the whole spectrum of content on a global scale.
In addition to launching new PoPs in high-traffic areas like Israel, Paris (just went live today) and Brazil (upcoming), upgrading DNS is yet another way we’re helping customers improve the content experience they provide to users.
One of the main benefits of implementing our new DNS strategy is that the time to first byte for requests is faster. This is because DNS lookups are now performed closer to the CDN servers that ultimately deliver the content being requested.
A Visualization of Improvements
Across the United States and Europe, users are experiencing faster DNS lookup times due to the upgrade. Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent faster. However, where the most dramatic speed increases are occurring is outside the U.S. and Europe – in locations we refer to as “flex locations” or simply “more locations.”
By using a distributed synthetic monitoring system, we benchmarked the new DNS against our legacy system. We initiated 10 days of GET requests on an identical asset hosted on both configurations, from 12 tier-1 data centers located near our flex locations.
10,000 test runs later the results came in:
The most dramatic improvements in DNS lookup times were in Hong Kong and Singapore, both averaging around 60 percent lookup time decrease.
Percent change for DNS lookup times:
- Hong Kong – 61.8%
- Singapore – 58.71%
- Sydney – 57.26%
- Tokyo – 38.37%
Choosing Dual DNS Providers
As DNS expert Mark Jeftovic puts it:
“You can go active/passive — where you run your primary solution and failover to your backup platform in an emergency, or you can run active/active and have the multiple vendors or platforms on all the time. There are trade offs to each method, but one thing is universal; have a DNS failover plan and dedicated resources to execute it when the time comes.”
We chose the active/active route, and so far our customers are happy with the results. To see how our friends at Turbobytes improved their DNS strategy with the same two providers we are using, check out this post.