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Kenic News

WHAT IS IMRS?

KeNICs mandate is to provide corporates, businesses and individuals with the opportunity to have an online presence, professional email addresses and websites on the .KE platform.

This is driven by the mission of transforming KeNIC into an innovation driven organization, so as to be a model Registry and Network Information Centre in Africa by 2030.

WHAT IS IMRS?

IMRS is an acronym for “ICANN Managed Root Server”.

There are 13 root server instances in the world. ICANN org manages one of them, the IMRS, previously known as the L-Root. Currently, there are more than 195 IMRS instances in 85 nation states.

 ICANN deploys two types of instances – Single and Cluster.

What is an IMRS Single? It is a single server “appliance” designed to be hosted by an organization to improve its Domain Name System (DNS) stability and experience by having a Root Server instance in close proximity.

 What is an IMRS Cluster?

It is a large installation of multiple servers that have a large service or processing capacity. They are usually commissioned with very high bandwidth to deal with heavy traffic or spikes in traffic. These are in contrast to single servers with relatively limited capacity and bandwidth.

What does a Root Server do?

A root server only answers questions for the Top-Level Domain (TLD) entries in the Root Zone. If someone tries to “resolve” www.icann.org, a root server provides the technical information about “.org”. This first step (of several) is how root servers help “resolve” the address of a domain, translating the easy-to-remember domain name to a unique IP (or Internet Protocol) address.

For example, when someone is looking for www.icann.org, root servers first look up the unique IP-address attached to this domain address and help effect a connection to the web server with that unique IP address.

  When and why is an IMRS cluster better than a single instance?

While the capacity of IMRS clusters is useful in times of normal query load, it becomes critical in times of larger-than-normal load, for example, during a distributed denial-of service (DDoS) attack. This occurs when a bad-actor tries to arrest internet operations by flooding traffic to root servers. With their larger capacity and higher bandwidth, clusters can confront such an attempt better than ordinary root servers.

 Is an IMRS cluster a new data center?

Technically, a data center is where an entity hosts computer, storage, and networking infrastructure. In that sense, an IMRS cluster is indeed a self-contained ICANN data center, operated and managed by ICANN with sophisticated remote telematics.

Physically, IMRS clusters are ideally collocated in shared physical data center spaces that provide basic infrastructure such as power, generators, fire-suppression, and physical security.

How can host countries support implementation of an IMRS cluster?

Host countries play an important role in ensuring that the IMRS clusters serve the intended purpose, particularly when speed-to-value is important. ICANN has the technical information to inform the best geo-location for each IMRS cluster, based on a variety of technical parameters. However, successful implementation takes coordinated efforts with local authorities.

Some local benefits:

  • Local infrastructure growth through identification of ideal sites for set up, business for a data center to physically host the Server
  • Possibility of local hardware sourcing
  • Use of local bandwidth, IMRS clusters require high bandwidth (in the 100+ Mbps range) and are usually placed in a dedicated “Rack” within an existing data center.
  • Manpower and skills transfer in the set up and management of the IMRS

What does an IMRS cluster mean for Internet users and businesses in Africa?

The primary benefit of adding IMRS clusters in Africa is to increase Root Zone DNS query capacity for each region. The total population of Africa is ~1.3B with an aggregate average Internet penetration of 43%. Adding the IMRS clusters in this region increases the resiliency of the service as a whole, which in turn creates better service to Internet consumers in the region.

Why does ICANN plan to deploy IMRS clusters in Africa?

Africa is in the midst of a digital transformation that will be supported by the additional capacity provided by the clusters. The proposed two clusters would be the first deployment of IMRS clusters in the continent. (Currently there are four other such clusters globally, two in North America and one each in Europe and Asia.) In addition, the African continent has diverse levels of interconnection, high rates of Internet penetration and major interconnection points.

What is the benefit of hosting an IMRS?In order to maintain a secure, stable, and resilient DNS infrastructure, all ICANN stakeholder groups are encouraged to join hands and work on initiatives to ensure such effort.

One of those initiatives is the installation and deployment of Root-Servers.

Another benefit of hosting an IMRS is that it can reduce DNS query response times for your networks and reduce the amount of Bandwidth usage for DNS queries on the root-zone going outside your network.

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