ANAME records

It all starts with a name – and in the case of DNS, it’s typically a CNAME record.

To make sure we are all on the same page, it starts with a CNAME. A CNAME record is an abbreviation for Canonical Name record and is a type of record in DNS used to specify that one domain name is an alias for another domain – or the “canonical” domain.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • All information, including subdomains, IP addresses, etc., are defined by the canonical domain.
  • For years, CNAME records (or alias records), have been used by DNS administrators to easily map parts of a domain to external, fully qualified domain names.
  • The advantage of the CNAME record was no knowledge of the record’s real IP was necessary.
  • When the CNAME’s source value changed, so did the value of a record.

 

However, there’s a catch. Unfortunately, this ease of use was not done without sacrifice.

Catch #1: CNAME records cannot be created for the apex or root record of the domain.

Catch #2: CNAME records must be unique.

Catch #3: CNAMES are also slower since they generally require a double DNS lookup – one to find the CNAME record and the other to find the referred IP.

 

THE GOOD NEWS…

This is where DNS Made Easy’s new ANAME record system picks up the pace. As the world leader in IP Anycast DNS services, DNS Made Easy is changing the way we name canonical domains.

With DNS Made Easy’s ANAME record type, the users of DNS Made Easy can now accomplish the same ease of use of the CNAME record without all the limitations and decrease in performance.

The speed of CNAME record look up is no longer a problem with ANAME records because the correct IP is returned on the first look up rather than requiring additional lookups.

When a user of DNS Made Easy creates ANAME record, DNS Made Easy will internally start monitoring the IP of the fully qualified domain name (FQDN). DNS Made Easy then creates the necessary A records. DNS Made Easy has over 250,000 configured ANAME records in active configuration since the service launched in June 2012.

ANAME records can be used as root records for your domain. Since the resulting records are A records, there is no longer a limitation on allowing an alias at the root record.

The inability to load balance a CNAME record is sometimes an issue. However, with ANAME records, load balancing is a mute point. If the user creates multiple ANAME records with the same name, the additional IPs will be added as a round robin configuration in DNS Made Easy. If the alias side of the record maps to multiple IPs itself, DNS Made Easy will recognize this and immediately update and create the IP mappings.

DNS Made Easy systems are always monitoring the IPs to make sure your IPs are current and correct. Faster DNS lookups means your site loads faster the first time.

Combined with the DNS Made Easy’s Global Traffic Director service, ANAME records will use different regional answers based on location. This provides the complete power and flexibility that enterprise companies require from their networks.

Using ANAME records is simple. Companies give DNS Made Easy the FQDN where traffic should point, and DNS Made Easy automatically creates the A Records to accommodate it.

BONUS: DNS Made Easy’s ANAME records provide the convenience of a CNAME record without the limitations and performance drawbacks.