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Senior Editor

Amazon doesn’t eat its own DNS dogfood

Nov 11, 20143 mins
CareersCloud Computing

User questions if Route 53 is good enough for Amazon uses domain name systems (DNS) from competitors instead of its own Amazon Web Services’ DNS named Route 53, according to a DNS tracking service.  

For tech companies, using your own products and services is called “eating your own dog food,” or some call it “drinking your own champagne.” Amazon does not do that, at least for its DNS.

The issue was recently raised on Twitter and was discussed on AWS forums more than a year ago. An AWS spokesperson declined to comment publicly on the issue.

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According to a search on the website, which provides DNS lookups, uses Dyn and UltraDNS to host, two name-brand DNS services. Route 53 is Amazon Web Service’s DNS that is used frequently to connect incoming traffic to websites hosted on AWS.

Last year users in an AWS forum questioned why does not us Route 53. An AWS employee initially said he could not discuss the details of the internal network configurations within AWS. When the questioner asked if Route 53 is a viable platform and what deficiencies or lack of important features have caused Amazon to not use Route 53, an AWS employee provided a slightly more detailed response.

“This is a totally fair question and concern,” the AWS employee Ben@AWS wrote. “We believe Route 53 compares well against other leading DNS providers in terms of scalability, responsiveness, and fault tolerance.” At the time, he said Amazon was migrating DNS zones to Route 53 and said some Amazon services currently did use Route 53, including Elastic Beanstalk and (which is an Amazon company). He added that there are customers with comparable DNS load to that use Route 53, but he did not name them.

There could be a legitimate reason for Amazon not to use Route 53 though. One Twitter user came to AWS’s defense: “Always a good idea to separate your DNS from your infrastructure,” user Tim Nash wrote, noting that if Route 53 had an outage, it could bring down AWS and, potentially preventing the ecommerce site from working and preventing AWS from alerting customers of the downtime. So perhaps spreading DNS workloads out across multiple providers is a good idea. But, does not show Amazon using Route 53 at all.

Shawn Campbell, a DNS expert and systems administrator for Canadian tech reseller Scalar Decisions said he was surprised to learn that doesn’t use Route 53. He said UltraDNS is a leader in the DNS market and he described Route 53 as a competing, up-and-coming platform compared to other more established offerings. He said typically Route 53 is a good option for customers who have many other services hosted in AWS, so he questions how much is using AWS overall.

On the AWS Case Studies page there is only one mention of using AWS, which is the example of how migrated the tape backup of its Oracle databases to AWS Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). While that’s not an exhaustive list, it is the only public example AWS cites of Amazon using its own cloud service.

Senior Editor

Senior Editor Brandon Butler covers the cloud computing industry for Network World by focusing on the advancements of major players in the industry, tracking end user deployments and keeping tabs on the hottest new startups. He contributes to and is the author of the Cloud Chronicles blog. Before starting at Network World in January 2012, he worked for a daily newspaper in Massachusetts and the Worcester Business Journal, where he was a senior reporter and editor of MetroWest 495 Biz. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @BButlerNWW.

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