• United States

UltraDNS expands managed DNS services

Mar 29, 20064 mins

* Happy with UltraDNS's external service, Financial Engines is currently testing the new UltraDNS Managed Internal DNS service

UltraDNS, a leading provider of DNS services, is now offering managed services for internal corporate IP networks as well as external, Internet domains.

Founded in 2000, UltraDNS was among the first service providers to target DNS, a frequently overlooked component of the Internet that has proven vulnerable to attacks. Today, UltraDNS has 15 million domains under management and provides outsourced DNS services to such leading Web sites as, and

Until now, UltraDNS has focused on Internet domains. With its new Managed Internal DNS Service, UltraDNS will support internal networks with DNS and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services.

UltraDNS uses proprietary software rather than the open source Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) software. UltraDNS uses the IP Anycast standard to quickly propagate DNS changes across the servers on its global network.

UltraDNS also has relationships with ISPs including AOL, Yahoo, EarthLink and Verio that allow it to place its DNS services inside these networks and resolve DNS queries for its customers on the ISP networks rather than over the Internet.

For its internal service, UltraDNS developed an appliance that it places inside a customer’s network. The appliance connects to UltraDNS’s global network for reliability and fault tolerance. UltraDNS operates and manages the appliances around-the-clock for its corporate customers.

Other vendors including Infoblox and Blue Cat Networks offer DNS/DHCP appliances, but UltraDNS says it is the first to offer a managed service using such appliances.

“The key difference is that we offer a managed service,” says Jeffrey Samuels, executive vice president of marketing for UltraDNS. “This is a managed appliance, that UltraDNS is going to manage, watch and upgrade. The way we sell it is with multi-year contracts on a subscription basis as well as a usage basis.”

UltraDNS’s Managed Internal DNS Service is available immediately.

Financial Engines, a Palo Alto provider of portfolio advice and investment management, is testing the UltraDNS Managed Internal DNS service. Financial Engines has used UltraDNS to manage its external DNS services, including operation of 50 domain names, for two years.

“UltraDNS’s external service has been flawless,” says Matthew Todd, chief information security officer and vice president of risk and technical operations at Financial Engines. “We’ve really been pleased with how they manage things.”

Financial Engines has been using software from Microsoft to manage its internal DNS services. The company’s five-person IT shop is finding this task to be too time consuming.

“At times it can be an administrative nightmare because of the way Microsoft does DNS updates,” Todd says. “They way they introduce new domains into the main address space is not always seamless.”

Todd says migrating to UltraDNS’s internal DNS service will be less expensive than continuing to administer Microsoft’s DNS software or purchasing other DNS appliances. Financial Engines is paying around $5,000 per year for UltraDNS to manage its external DNS services and $10,000 per year for internal DNS services.

“This allows us to get away from some of the headaches of Microsoft management, and it allows us to continue to use the UltraDNS tools that we are already using,” Todd says. The new UltraDNS service “will relieve us of significant overhead associated with any domain changes we have to made.”

Todd also says that by using UltraDNS for both external and internal DNS services, he can improve the company’s ability to respond to a disaster.

“Having this service be outsourced and having a reliable source of name resolution that you can manage from anywhere makes a lot of sense from a disaster recovery point of view,” he says. “If you put all your eggs in the central office basket, what does your IT staff do if the central office is down?”

UltraDNS is in Reston, Va. and has 100 employees.