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DNS: The Glue That Holds Your Distributed Network Together

By Ekim Maurer posted Wed September 27, 2023 12:35 PM


Over centuries, humankind has learned that our ability to delegate and break down tasks is a significant part of our success as a species. Specialization allows us to take tasks and break them down into digestible, small chunks of work that experts can execute.

Our efficiency is often dependent on specialists doing specific tasks and workloads. In modern, high-efficiency operations, larger projects are also broken down between different departments with distinctive expertise and specialization.

Over the past few years, we have arrived at the computing and compute specialization stage to select the best suitable environment for the subtasks in our – usually automated – work.

Yet this hyper-specialization has led to its own challenges. Specifically, how do you ensure your disparate systems - your multiple cloud vendors, SaaS solutions, and so on - work together seamlessly?

Keep reading to learn how you can use DNS to:

  • Solve for interoperability amongst different solutions

  • Eliminate traditional boundaries between solutions and systems

  • Unlock higher value from a multi-vendor approach

The Challenge: Integrating Workflows Across Multiple Vendors and SaaS Platforms

With the evolution and advances of cloud computing, selecting the best-suited compute solution for each task has become an art form of its own. You’ll want to consider the following:

  • Should you work with a cloud vendor who provides the best overall solutions to your work?

  • Do you go with a specialized SaaS offering, which solves one component of your task very well, but has shortcomings in other areas?

  • Or, maybe you want to use a mixture of specific and general-purpose solutions?

As soon as you look at breaking down work into multiple different tasks, you also have to connect the individual streams. In today's dynamic and hyper agile world, those relationships have to be easily interchangeable. All cloud and SaaS providers today are facing this issue. While they are using some brilliant and efficient means of interconnecting workstreams within their own platforms, they almost completely ignore anything that is cross-vendor.

The space between SaaS providers, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions is where one of the oldest protocols of the internet, DNS, emerges as a simple, efficient and omnipresent layer for communication. DNS is now increasingly recognized as a simple solution to inter-SaaS and inter-cloud connectivity.

The Solution: Using DNS to Connect Your Multiple Platforms and Providers

DNS is ubiquitous. Every system and application uses DNS today to connect. We have evolved past hardcoding IP addresses a long time ago, and with the emergence of IPv6 and increased adoption, using IP addresses for connectivity will be even more complex. This means that every SaaS and Cloud provider has the infrastructure already deployed to use DNS as the interchange protocol.

DNS is not owned by any one provider. It is viewed as agnostic of individual providers' business preferences. This makes DNS the least common denominator for all providers, allowing it to fulfill a unifying role.

DNS is simple, decentralized, and allows each provider to control their own space while giving their customers full autonomy over how they want to use the connectivity system.

DNS is designed to be redundant and resilient. Plus, it is not dependent on any single provider. It allows quick and easy changes for the customer, removing potential vendor lock risks.

How Does This Work?

The setup for a cross-platform solution is relatively straightforward. All you need is a good naming schema, a domain or subdomain that you own or control, and knowledge of the names for all the endpoints in your stream.

The goal is to create a mapping of all your endpoints in your SaaS and Cloud providers as DNS records in your own domain. By doing so, you can begin to address all of your external providers, SaaS offerings, and clouds as a natural extension of your very own data centers. As every system can now be managed with names under your own control, you can easily switch out endpoints and providers without the need to modify core code. Instead, you simply change the pointer of a DNS record under your own control.

The most significant benefit of the diverse SaaS offerings and various cloud providers is that they have specialized in doing one particular work task very well. One of the major hurdles in using the best-suited solution is issues of interconnection between them. All providers are relatively well built to interoperate with your on-premises solutions. Using DNS as a glue between them reduces friction and connectivity concerns by integrating all your SaaS services into your own infrastructure.

DNS does not solve for all interoperability, but it eliminates how to reach the next step in any workstream. DNS allows for an assignment of a readable, distinctive name that is easy to refer to. DNS helps create higher value from using multiple clouds, SaaS offerings and your own data centers, making all communication seamless.

To learn more, check out the following resources: