Australian domain registry bids for .org

AusRegistry, which has been running the .com.au and other domains, is bidding to become the registry for the top-level domain .org

An Australian domain registry is looking to leverage its technical experience Down Under in a bid to win a tender with ICANN to become the registry for global top-level domain .org.

AusRegistry is submitting a tender to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- which describes itself as a technical coordination body for the Internet -- to become the registry for the global top-level domain .org.

The move comes after AusRegistry went live earlier this month as registry for .com.au, .net.au, .id.au, .org.au, and .asn.au domains. According to statements released by AusRegistry, its role is primarily a technical one and involves managing and maintaining the integrity of the registry database.

Chris Wright, chief technology officer of AusRegistry, believes the experience of setting up this registry in Australia, especially in terms of transferring legacy data from incumbents, is particularly relevant in its bid to become registry of the .org domain.

As chief technology officer, Wright oversees all facets of the registry from the support help desk through to monitoring systems that are used to ensure the company is responding to service-level agreements (SLAs).

Wright believes AusRegistry is the first registry to go live with a full implementation of the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) version 6.

The transaction processing system that AusRegistry has set up will allow registrars to process requests at high speed and manipulate the data within these requests, according to information provided by the registry.

AusRegistry started building its systems in January, Wright said, and completed development by mid-June. From then, the company spent four weeks completing full-system testing, such as basic registrar operations, using the EPP protocol.

It also carried out load testing on its name servers, to ensure they could cope with registrars creating names at an estimated rate. In addition the Whois and DNS servers were tested to see if they would be able to handle the load of requests from the public and security testing was carried out.

Wright admits that the most challenging aspect during the build phase was deciphering the ambiguities in the EPP specifications. These were ironed out with feedback from registrars and also via email with the protocol author.

Part of the technology team's role has also been to provide technical support to the registrars -- companies which sell domain names either directly to the public, or through resellers. This involves helping them with technical problems they may have interfacing with the registry, Wright said.

With testing completed AusRegistry then had to move data from the incumbent registries to its own systems. Wright describes it as "transition weekend", which started with all the existing registries shutting down operations at midday on the Friday, tidying up their data then handing it over to AusRegistry.

With three or four test runs completed prior to transition weekend, Wright said it had automated some parts of the process. However, he admits that having data in about 27 different formats meant that it was a challenge interpreting information, particularly the postal details.

The information that had been imported into the AusRegistry databases was then validated, to make sure it worked correctly. Saturday was then spent starting up its servers and carrying out internal testing with the new data. The system was then opened up to registrars, giving them read-only access so that they could carry out verification of their data.

The final phase of the weekend's transition was allowing registrars write-access so that they could test their systems. Following this, the registry went live on 1 July. At the time of going live it was reported that the new system had teething troubles, as registrars battled with the new system and a flood of applications. Wright argues that this due to some registrars not being as prepared as they could have been prior to going live.

Now that process of going live is completed Wright admits it's a bit more relaxing. "We've been lucky we've had people willing to stay back and do the hours," he said.

As for what he's still keeping an eye on? Wright said security is obviously something he needs to monitor constantly, such as looking out for new vulnerabilities which need patching.


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