Registration Operations is More Than Just Registering Domain Names

Perceptions can be difficult to change. People see the world through the lens of their own experiences and desires, and new ideas can be difficult to assimilate. Such is the case with the registration ecosystem. Today’s operational models exist because of decisions made over time, but the assumptions that were used to support those decisions can (and should) be continuously challenged to ensure that they are addressing today’s realities. Are we ready to challenge assumptions? Can the operators of registration services do things differently?

Both of these questions were explored during the first Registration Operations Workshop of 2015 that took place prior to the Internet Engineering Task Force’s IETF-92 meeting on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend and participate in the discussion. I’d also like to thank GoDaddy and the Brazilian Network Information Center for sponsoring the event.

The workshop explored recent IETF work in the cataloging of Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) extensions, proposals for new EPP extensions, and two new initiatives that will present challenges and opportunities for registration service providers. The slides presented during the workshop can be found on the web site.

The two new initiatives deserve special mention because they challenge assumptions about the roles of registration service providers. Ólafur Guðmundsson of CloudFlare and Jacques Latour of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority described a proposal for a new registry access model that would allow Domain Name System (DNS) hosting providers to update delegation information in shared registration systems, hopefully accelerating the deployment and use of Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). Richard Barnes of Mozilla talked about the Let’s Encrypt initiative and the Automatic Certificate Management Environment (ACME) protocol. Let’s Encrypt has a goal of improving the overall security of the Internet by making it easier for encryption to happen everywhere. The DNS has a significant role to play in making that goal achievable.

We had a room full of people, but participant numbers aren’t the best way to measure the success of a workshop. The agreements and actions produced are a better indicator of real impact. This workshop produced these outcomes:

  • Two EPP extension registration requests were submitted to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) during the workshop.
  • 16 additional EPP extension registration requests were submitted to IANA after the workshop.
  • Seven different new EPP extensions were introduced and enqueued for discussion at the IETF’s EPPEXT working group meeting that took place on Friday, March 27.
  • Participants agreed that additional workshops were needed and plans should be made to hold the next workshop in Prague in advance of IETF-93 in July.
  • Discussion of future workshop topics and organization would take place on the mailing list (please join the list and follow the ongoing discussion).

Future workshops will be organized by Viagénie, a Canadian consulting and R&D firm specialized in advanced computer networking technologies. Thank you again to all of the workshop participants – let’s get those plans in place for Prague!


Scott Hollenbeck

Scott Hollenbeck is a fellow of industry standards and technology in the chief technology officer organization, where he manages a team of engineers and researchers who focus on exploring innovation opportunities and emerging technologies. Scott has more than 30 years of expertise in the Domain Name System space, applications programming, systems architecture, network engineering, information security, financial analysis, and personnel... Read More →