Big Data and DNS

Originally posted on CloudTweaks

Big Data is revolutionizing the way admins manage their DNS traffic. New management platforms are combining historical data with advanced analytics to inform admins about possible performance degradation in their networks. Not only that, but they also have the ability to suggest ways to optimize network configurations for faster routing.

DNS, also known as the backbone of the Internet, is the system that attributes a domain name to an IP address. You can think of DNS the same way a phonebook pairs a number to a person. This system makes it so that you don’t have to remember long series of numbers each time you want to visit a website. Modern DNS management solutions have evolved to use this system to optimize the way query traffic is routed around the world, so it is as fast and efficient as possible.

Growth of DNS Management

Recent advancements in big data have propelled DNS management into a new age. The secret sauce behind these new tools is how they are taking advantage of massive amounts of data that was previously overlooked because it was too much information to analyze—Big Data.

Every time you access a website, you are submitting a DNS query. Now say you want to analyze all of the queries for your website over the past week. Network admins often do this after an attack or to root out performance issues within their network. Depending on your site traffic, the number of queries could be astronomical. Not only do you have to request all of your query logs, but you also need the space to store the data, and then find or develop a way to analyze all of that information.

Because of these challenges, DNS analytics have rarely been used for network optimization or attack mitigation. The majority of DNS providers have shied away from developing solutions because the challenges of bandwidth or storage constraints are too tough.

These tasks often demand extra resources or are too expensive for in-house systems and small-scale providers. This has pushed businesses to outsource the analytics and storage requirements to cloud providers. Without cloud technology, big data would still be an unused tool on the shelf, even for most large-scale enterprises.

Current solutions have been able to overcome these struggles thanks to “big data” databases such as Cassandra and Scala. Older relational databases would never be able to keep up with the load that would be necessary to properly store and group this many queries a day.

Cloud solutions have also paved the way for these analytics to be delivered in real time. Providers are now offering platforms that are able to analyze and suggest network changes as they are happening. This has opened the doors for admins to use big data to anticipate and even mitigate DNS-based attacks before they can cause appreciable damage.

Real-Time Analytic Protection

Attacks have been known to irreparably damage businesses in just a matter of hours, or even minutes. Depending on the size of an organization, these advancements in real-time analytics could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Think of the last outage you or a friend may have experienced. Had you have been able to see the changes in your query traffic in real time, could you have mitigated the issue sooner? How much revenue or how many clients would you have retained?

A few years ago, Amazon lost an estimated $30,000 a minute over the course of a two-hour outage. While you likely don’t have as much traffic as Amazon, an outage can still cause thousands within just an hour. According to IDC, outages typically cost businesses anywhere from $82,200 to $256,000 for a single event. That’s $200 a minute!

Real-time analytics is just the beginning. The future of big data lies in monitoring integrations and alert systems. That means real-time analytics platforms will identify and alert users of potential breaches or network vulnerabilities the instant they are detected.

It gets even more exciting when you add intelligent troubleshooting to the equation. Future big data solutions will have Artificial Intelligence systems which will resolve issues before you are even aware of them. These solutions are shifting network management from being reactive to proactive.

Big data has even more potential applications than just defense. Admins are now harnessing the power of big data for network optimization. You can use these analytics to determine where additional resources need to be allocated to boost your network performance. Whether your want to expand your network, optimize end-user connectivity, or bolster your online security efforts, big data analytics offer all the tools you need and more.


Also published on Medium.