In late 2014 CIRA entered the DNS services business looking for ways to provide made-in-Canada solutions for organizations looking for technology that moves data closer to their customers. One D-Zone customer has taken this a step further and has found a win-win for their customers in terms of both privacy and performance.
CloudPBX Inc. is a leading national wholesale provider of voice-over IP (VoIP) telephony services based in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Their customer roster includes major law firms, with demanding requirements for data sovereignty and privacy.
CloudPBX Inc. is unique in that their VoIP solution leverages DNS SRV records with VoIP to control how their clients connect to CloudPBX VoIP services. DNS SRV records are similar to MX records (which are used for email services) in that they provide a prioritized list of redundant servers to connect to. The key difference is that DNS SRV can be used for many online services like VoIP. Rather than using a static IP to deliver VoIP, this DNS SRV setup allows CloudPBX Inc. to deliver reliable telephony by defining VoIP services in the client SRV domain record, enabling clients to connect to the entire geographically redundant CloudPBX Inc. cluster simultaneously. DNS SRV’s priority settings also allows VoIP clients to connect to closest datacenter first (either Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal), while others on are hot-standby as automated backups. The DNS SRV enabled geo-optimization is key in offering high quality audio VoIP services.
Adding Canadian technology to the solution
When CloudPBX Inc. launched their service, they were just using one global DNS service. They quickly determined that this was insufficient, and after surveying the market they chose CIRA’s Anycast network as a secondary DNS service.
“We saw a great alignment in terms of values,” said Graham Nelson-Zutter, CTO and co-founder at CloudPBX Inc. “We’re a proud Canadian company and our customers trust us to think about where their data flows and what that means for private and sensitive information.”
With servers located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, CIRA’s Anycast network fit the bill.
“There is a personal passion here. I think that Canadians need to keep ownership and autonomy over their own infrastructure,” said Graham. “This is not only important for Canadian independence, but also critical for network performance.”
CIRA’s Anycast network has a larger Canadian footprint than any other global DNS service, ensuring that network services are located as close as possible to Canadian customers. For latency-sensitive services like VoIP, this proximity is critical.
For the team at CloudPBX Inc. this is an additional way to sell their services. Their customers turn to them primarily for their technical chops.
“These are business-critical applications for our customers. A missed connection can mean a lost customer,” said Graham.
DNS outage points to the cybersecurity risk
This risk became all too real in late 2016 when CloudPBX Inc.’s primary DNS provider went offline in the world’s largest ever DNS outage to date. Thankfully their network architecture was built with redundancy – equipped with the secondary service from CIRA.
“Our customers are demanding and sophisticated,” said Graham. “Before a contract, they call us in and quiz us on resiliency, our back-up plans and the ways that we can keep them online in a crisis. CIRA’s Anycast DNS has helped us meet these requirements.”
With the DNS playing a more central role in business critical applications, secondary services are a must. Finding a service that brings your DNS services closer to your customers while leveraging Canadian infrastructure is simply a good business practice.
Any cloud service provider selling to customers who value data privacy and sovereignty can set-up a similar architecture through a combination of DNS protocols and data centre peering. This can also extend to organizations that leverage a remote workforce or allow people to access the network from home. The Internet routing is designed to help protect those willing to take the time to understand how.