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How can my host's DNS outshine Amazon Route 53?
02-10-2012, 05:50 AM
Post: #1
How can my host's DNS outshine Amazon Route 53?
I have a server at Linode and use their nameservers for a .com domain (say, example.com). Due to certain restrictions, I'm currently unable to register example.com.au, example.id, and other such country-specific extensions. As a workaround, I use subdomains, such as au.example.com, id.example.com, etc. One performance issue here is that for every person in Australia who wants to visit au.example.com, a connection to Linode's nameservers must be made. While their five nameservers are geographically dispersed to some extent (4x US, 1x UK), I would expect some latency for connections coming from and going to Australia.

So I thought I'd put some alternatives to the test, throwing DNS Made Easy and Amazon Route 53 into the mix. That is to say, I've been comparing DNS lookup times for some spare .com domains, one of which uses Linode's nameservers, another DNS Made Easy's, and yet another Amazon Route 53's. I ran these domains through the WebPagetest here from a variety of locations.

AM = Amazon
LI = Linode
EZ = DNS Made Easy

Lookup times in ms. Best lookup times per set have been made bold.

FROM SYDNEY, AU

A (AM) 261 212 256
B (LI) 214 52 54
C (EZ) 213 56 54

FROM MOSCOW, RU

A (AM) 706 62 56
B (LI) 444 58 79
C (EZ) 3527 60 2196

FROM CHICAGO, US

A (AM) 55 47 99
B (LI) 75 47 46
C (EZ) 53 46 47

FROM TOKYO, JP

A (AM) 801 50 526
B (LI) 345 106 51
C (EZ) 318 47 44

GENEVA, CH

A (AM) 445 58
B (LI) 257 60
C (EZ) 95 59

WELLINGTON, NZ

A (AM) 596 52
B (LI) 423 55
C (EZ) 60 51

BRUSSELS, BE

A (AM) 574 58
B (LI) 134 56
C (EZ) 114 56

Lookup times on all first runs are noticeably higher, I would assume that's related to caching. Now, if I add up these scores, one point for each 'best score (or tie)', I end up with: Amazon - 2, Linode - 6, DNS Made Easy - 12. Clearly, DNS Made Easy performs best overall, despite some odd numbers when testing from Russia. They have a pretty solid Anycast network, so this is basically how I expected them to perform.

What I cannot understand is how Linode's nameservers, which are mostly US-based (5 POPs), can often match, sometimes even outperform, DNS Made Easy (12 POPs), and are in nearly every case more responsive than Amazon Route 53 (26 POPs).

If we take Brussels, for example, then it would make much more sense for Amazon to be fastest, since they have a POP in Amsterdam, whereas the closest for Linode is London, and for DNS Made Easy it's Frankfurt and/or London.

How is this possible? What am I missing?
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How can my host's DNS outshine Amazon Route 53? - robzilla - 02-10-2012 05:50 AM

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