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Username: kiyu
Date/Time: Sun, October 15, 2000 at 4:05 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: Affilias is the most reliable


      Although there seems to be a legitimate appeal here for the good of the Internet, I believe that after reviewing both IOD's and Afilias' applications, there is no comparison for technical or organizational stability.  The existing registrars have combatted all ranges of issues and are tried and true in their capabilities and stability.  Furthermore, following the recognition of additional registrars and the destruction of NSI's monopoly, the new registrars and NSI have established relationships and worked out a constantly improving method for sharing their databases.
      IOD has a method planned of operating some larger servers pending the acceptance of their proposal, but what about security?  Yes, they will operate a small load-balanced cluster , but I am sure this cannot offer near the stability or power of the root servers established by the existing registrars which make up Afilias, nor does it even come anywhere near the power which Afilias will establish, pending their application's acceptance.

Lets compare:
"The current database system is implemented in the same data center as the front-end web servers for speed, security and efficiency, and will be comprised of eight (8) servers, when fully configured, running the Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server Operating System and Microsoft SQL Server Version 7 database software. An upgrade to SQL Server 2000 is underway, and beta versions have been evaluated and met our criteria for continued use. The description of the database, including a discussion of its operation and integration with our front-end systems can be found in section D15.2.3. Network storage is contained in 2 external RAID arrays connected via Fibre Channel systems. See attachment D15.2.1_H for a description of Fibre Channel storage systems.

"The decision to standardize on Microsoft SQL Server was based upon a number of factors, including the robustness and scalability of the platform (see D15.2.3 and D15.2.11), its designed interoperability with Windows 2000, and the available knowledge base of expertise both in-house and outsourced.

Servers are located in 8 carrier grade secure data centers (Above Net/Exodus) around the US and Europe. The servers are located in secure grounded cabinets, in air conditioned rooms, at secure facilities and have 100MB connections to the Internet. The DNS servers themselves are highly available Solaris platforms running Oracle 8i."

Server Space

"A maximum of six remote, geographically-distributed, co-located data centers for propagation of the Whois database and zone file updates with a recognized hosting company (e.g., Exodus Communications, Global Crossing)
"Each datacenter will require a maximum of five racks of server space.
"A centralized Network Operating Center (NOC) with 20 racks of server space.
Equipment and Software

6 Sun E6500 Servers
2 EMC Storage Devices
40 x 86 Dual 1 Ghz Servers
32 Sun E450 Quad Processor Servers
16 Cisco 7200 Routers
16 Foundry BI 8000 Switches
6 Oracle Enterprise (Cluster) software packages
1 package of registry operator software from Tucows "

This does not include protocol handlers:
"Each protocol handlers will run on a Sun E250 with dual CPU, 2G of RAM, 2x36 GB mirrored hard drives, running the Solaris operating system"

session managers:
"Each session manager will run on a Sun E450 with quad CPU, 2G of RAM, 2x36 GB mirrored hard drives, running the Solaris operating system."

or their registry service database servers:
"The databases will each run on a Sun E10000 with 16 CPU, 8G of RAM, 8x72 GB RAID hard drives, running the Solaris operating system and a Oracle database."

or their OpenXRS servers:
"The OpenXRS registry uses two Oracle databases, a primary and a secondary, which are continuously replicated. Each Oracle database runs on a Sun E10000, with 16 CPU, Solaris operating system, 8 GB of RAM, and 8 x 72 GB RAID drives."

Granted, these additional servers are likely placed at their disposal by some other company from which they are leasing, likely Tucows, but that is what they are running it on, none the less.

I must stress that this is only a GUESS, but I would GUESS that IOD's DNS servers, the best part of their package, are totally outsourced.  I believe this because of the incongruity of hardware and software.  Here again, I could be totally wrong here, but it does just seem odd.

Personally, I cringe at the thought of Microsoft having anything to do with a popular (or otherwise) gTLD. 

  I believe that the method in which Affilias has brought together the disparate registrars and left ownership of Afilias open to allow more registras to join is a great step in the direction of what is the goal of ICANN regarding decentralizing control.  Simply because NSI is in the list means nothing - no single member may own more than 11% of the company.  To get anything voted through their board, a SUPERMAJORITY (more than 66%) consenting vote is required.

     Afilias has put together a complete plan for implementing XML in their registry to make the registry more machine readable.  Afilias has an exhaustively thorough plan for managing not only its relationships with its members but also in handling the running of the registry.  The combined expertise of the member registries as well as the mega-experience of the management which they have proposed to involve is staggering. 

    In summary, although I believe that IOD has made a very good application, its sole appeal is based upon getting control of a major gTLD into the hands of the underdog, and away from big mean behemoth monopolies such as NSI.  The truth of the matter is that I do generally root for the underdog.  I use Linux, Apache, BIND, and a massive range of Open Source programs.  All of these, in spite of their wide-spread use, still carry the underdog feel, and a user base which would rather live at the command prompt than use anything with Microsoft on it - if not for the stability/performance/reliability gain, then for some sort loyalty to promoting freedom and a better way.  That same thread is what IOD is trying desperately to develop as their reason for gaining control of the .web gTLD.
     But lets face it, it takes a whole lot more than a nice, warm-fuzzy concept to make an Internet Registry run - especially one which is sure to have a great deal of traffic, such as .web  . 
     Afilias has put together the best solution for the good of the Internet - technically and socially.  I would view it as a massive evaluatory failure for ICANN to award .web to IOD when there is an option such as Afilias available. 


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