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NS1 Managed DNS OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NS1 Managed DNS is #1 ranked solution in top Managed DNS tools. PeerSpot users give NS1 Managed DNS an average rating of 10 out of 10. NS1 Managed DNS is most commonly compared to Cloudflare DNS: NS1 Managed DNS vs Cloudflare DNS. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is NS1 Managed DNS?

NS1 connects the world's applications and audiences with our Application Traffic Intelligence and Automation solutions. 

NS1's cloud-native network services, edge-to-cloud networking, and application traffic optimization technologies enable exceptional user experiences, drive IT efficiency and modernization, and ensure enterprise and application reliability and security.

The NS1 Connect platform delivers these technologies with centralized management and visibility, flexible deployment, data and ecosystem integrations, cloud-native automation, orchestration, and internet scale, backed by simple pricing and world-class expertise.

NS1 technologies provide a modern networking foundation that enables users to build diverse, globally distributed application footprints while avoiding vendor lock-in for critical infrastructure like CDNs and public clouds. NS1 can operate within and integrate with your existing environment, so you can deliver network services into any environment, including core networks, data centers, public cloud, private cloud and hybrid environments.

NS1 Managed DNS was previously known as NS1.

NS1 Managed DNS Buyer's Guide

Download the NS1 Managed DNS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2022

NS1 Managed DNS Customers

Dropbox, Salesforce, Fox, USAA, Disney Streaming, Global Sign, Rakuten Viber, FreedomPay

NS1 Managed DNS Video

NS1 Managed DNS Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NS1 Managed DNS pricing:
  • "We pay about $30,000 a month. We used to pay about $20,000 with Dyn every month, for lower volume than we're doing right now, but it had none of the features that we have available with NS1, so it was worth it for us. It seems competitive for us, given that we're doing 4.5 billion requests."
  • "NS1's pricing is much more aggressive than its competitors in the market and you get more value out of what you pay for it."
  • "Everything can always be cheaper, but as it is today the pricing is fair."
  • "The cost of this product is one of the reasons that we chose it."
  • NS1 Managed DNS Reviews

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    Valentino Volonghi - PeerSpot reviewer
    Chief Technology Officer at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20Leaderboard
    Terraform integration means all entries are created and Configuration done at deploy time, reducing manual work
    Pros and Cons
    • "For starters, it integrates with Terraform and a lot of our infrastructure is effectively built out using Terraform. That makes all this stuff extremely easy... when we deploy, all the entries are created and configuration is done."
    • "We use the geo load balancing functionality and there are a couple of things that are helpful there. But the language itself is something we had to get used to a little bit. Some of my folks made a few mistakes in rolling out the Filter Chain...The Filter Chain setup is a bit hard to grasp at first. It would also be nice to have a way to simulate changes in addition to staging."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a marketing platform with a pretty wide range of customers around the world, from small businesses, like mom and pop shops that sell shirts, to enterprises like Salesforce or VMware, on the B2B side. Our JavaScript tags and our servers on the customer side generally have to answer requests very quickly, always be available, and not lose any data. Among our products is advertising, and that side is required to answer requests that come in from around the world. Usually they're geo-distributed when they come to us. There are many millions of requests a second that we need to handle. On the customer side, our use case is simple. Requests coming in from an end user, from their browser, need to be routed to the closest endpoint so that the latency is consistently low. The other requirement is that if one of those regions, in a very rare occurrence, is experiencing problems, we need to be able to clear traffic to a secondary or tertiary region to avoid downtime. In that situation, a little bit more latency is fine, but downtime would not be. To do this, we've always used global service load balancing, or DNS anycast, to an extent.

    How has it helped my organization?

    NS1 has greatly reduced DNS maintenance work in our organization. I used to have to log in just to do user-provisioning. That would be something that took me an hour every time we needed to add or remove a couple of users from the old account. With Okta, I never have to deal with that anymore. And during failures, logging in to the account and searching for what was wrong was pathetic when we were using Dyn. With NS1, the interface is pretty fast. For example, the other day we had an account customer complaining to us that for certain records we were serving, the necessary certificate was expired. I looked into it and it was because it was being sent to our old CDN vendor and I needed to figure out where this stuff was serviced. I went into NS1 and saw that the record name did not have any traffic on NS1. Instead, it was a record name served via Route 53 on a different account. I could not have done that inside Dyn because there was no reporting breakdown on a per-record or a per-node level. In this case, I just removed an entire DNS. The only thing that was left was Route 53 so I could go directly into Route 53 without losing my mind. It took me about 15 minutes while sitting on the couch to fix it. It easily saves us hours every month. And I rarely log in to NS1 anymore because it just works. We do less manual stuff now. For instance, to deploy a new region for the advertising side of our business, it would take a lot of very manual work to add records. Now we can just Terraform it. That process has gone from taking the relatively long period of an entire day to being able to Terraform, apply, and be done with it. We don't create new regions very often, but if it has to be done manually it's prone to errors and takes a long time. Now, instead, it's automatic and there's no potential for errors anymore. Going with NS1 has also improved the user experience for our users. We had more than one situation in which Dyn probes were monitoring from across the ocean and they would cause the data center not to be the one servicing requests anymore. That would cause an increased latency for our end-users and would make the experience worse for our customers. Now that I can select the probes and make sure that the ones that detect if something is up or down are the ones that are relevant for the user experience, that doesn't happen anymore.

    What is most valuable?

    For starters, it integrates with Terraform and a lot of our infrastructure is effectively built out using Terraform. That makes all this stuff extremely easy. With Dyn we had to have a separate process to update DNS entries, and only a person like me could do it. Even then, it was going to be a very delicate process. Now, we have it integrated with Terraform and when we deploy, all the entries are created and configuration is done. As an API-first platform for DNS it is great. The one thing it needs to do for us is be integrated with our infrastructure-as-a-service setup, Terraform. In that regard it beats all of its competitors, including Dyn from Oracle and Route 53 from Amazon. Neither of them support integration with Terraform. Their support team is also great around this stuff. Secondly, the user interface is pretty fast and it's very easy to get reporting on queries-per-second underneath each record. That means that if we misconfigure something we can very quickly see the results in the metrics. That wasn't the case with Dyn. Being able to see the metrics helps. It helps that the interface is really quick, and relatively easy to use, especially compared to other solutions that we've seen, including Route 53, which we also use. Technically speaking, there is no one button to enable load balancing like the others, but you can customize the way load balancing works more, to your own specific needs. We took advantage of that for the particular way we want to run our infrastructure. It's a little bit harder to set up compared to what Dyn was, but it's certainly more flexible. That needed to be learned and we played around with it for a little while at the beginning, before doing the migration. But since the migration, everything has been going well. Another thing that is pretty helpful is that every one of these entries has its own target probe, called "monitors" in NS1 parlance. Each one of these endpoints has a set of monitors and it's possible to choose the regions from which you check the times of an area and the policies. This wasn't possible with Dyn, unless you talked with the account manager, and it would still always be a little off. There were occasions in which Dyn decided that a server in Tokyo was down because it wasn't reachable from San Francisco, and no one cared. Considering that we have a data center in San Francisco, San Francisco traffic shouldn't determine what happens to the Tokyo data center. Using Dyn made things like that a pain to deal with, but with NS1 we have been able to select the specific region from which we are monitoring our endpoints to determine if they are up or down and if they need to be pulled out of rotation. And they have mostly been working fine. There is also a Slack integration that we set up for our monitors. Whenever a monitor goes down, or there's a down and up, we get a notification in Slack. That means that the routing of requests to our team, for escalating any problem with the DNS, can be done more democratically than we used to be able to do with Dyn. With that solution, it would be sent to the email associated with the account.  In addition, there are the more intangible things, such as being on an exclusive, dedicated DNS network. I gather NS1 has both dedicated and shared DNS infrastructure, and I think we are on the dedicated. I've never tried the other one, and I don't know how Dyn was set up, but we've never had issues since switching. Everything has worked pretty well.

    What needs improvement?

    We use the geo load balancing functionality and there are a couple of things that are helpful there. But the language itself is something we had to get used to a little bit. Some of my folks made a few mistakes in rolling out the Filter Chain. It doesn't return all of the multiple results by default. It returns only one. So we have to add a bunch of operations, like geo-target by first selecting a group in terms of regional proximity and then shuffle the list of potential endpoints and then select the first one. The Filter Chain setup is a bit hard to grasp at first. It would also be nice to have a way to simulate changes in addition to staging.  Also, right now, as far as I understand, there is no way to do atomic changes to a DNS configuration. You need to make changes record by record and apply. But if someone wants to do more complex stuff like, for example, if I want to migrate from a CNAME to an A record being served, or vice versa, that's typically something that involves first taking out all of the CNAMEs and then adding all of the A records. That would require some downtime. It would be a lot easier if I could just have the new full record with the CNAME or A record, and then be able to replace the nodes directly in a single operation and I don't think they have that.
    Buyer's Guide
    NS1 Managed DNS
    May 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NS1 Managed DNS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2022.
    599,220 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We started using NS1 Managed DNS in 2018 or 2019.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Except for that one time that they had probe monitor issues, we've never had a single problem with it. It's pretty stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We haven't had any issues with the scalability. The scalability helps meet SLAs and customers’ demands without adding complexity. We run more than 4.5 billion queries per month on our DNS, so it's pretty critical that they can handle that volume and it's been going pretty well so far.

    How are customer service and support?

    We used their tech support at the start a couple of times. We were trying to get onboarded and some of us were getting confused with the setup for load balancing DNS. The first or second time that we dealt with them they decided to just write out for us the way that the Filter Chain was supposed to be. Another couple of times, they wrote to us first about issues.  There had been some kind of ongoing event and we wrote to them. They responded very quickly that there was an issue and that some of their probes were down. That told us not to go hunting for anything. Rather, I was able to go in the UI and force probes not to be considered for a period of time in the uptime and downtime of an area. As far as I remember, responses from NS1 were all well within one hour.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    When Dyn was bought by Oracle and then Oracle decided to flip everybody over to a new infrastructure, that was when we decided to switch. We had used Dyn since 2009, and it had been working fine. Dyn didn't do any automatic migration for us from the old accounts to the new account. Oracle forced everybody to do that. And Dyn didn't develop the platform at all in the preceding six years or so, and there were many features we wanted that they didn't field. We decided that if we were going to have to do the migration by hand anyway, and whatever risk might be involved in that, we might as well consider NS1. NS1 reached out to us, as a customer of Dyn, knowing what was coming. Their sales team did a proper job. We talked about the plan from Dyn and when we talked about their platform we decided to switch. User management was also a mess with Dyn. Truly the worst part of that solution was dealing with the user management. With NS1 it's integrated with our Okta. We gave access to folks that need access to DNS via Okta, so it's integrated with our permissions system, and Dyn was not. When we switched from Dyn, one parameter that we used for determining our choice of infrastructure, going forward, was DNS response times. The response time with NS1 is fine. From my own computer it's not as fast as Dyn was, it's just a smidgen slower, but it's still pretty fast. We don't need it any faster than that.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of the solution was pretty straightforward. We did it within about 15 days. There was zero downtime in migrating to the solution. If there had been any downtime we would not have done it.

    What about the implementation team?

    We worked with their customer success team. They helped us set things up at the start, but it took very little time. We did almost all of it ourselves and they gave us a little bit of help on the Filter Chain stuff. I did the switchover myself and everything worked out.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    We promised NS1 that we would do the migration in a very short period of time and that we were open to being on their homepage for marketing purposes, and they gave us a good price at the time. We pay about $30,000 a month. We used to pay about $20,000 with Dyn every month, for lower volume than we're doing right now, but it had none of the features that we have available with NS1, so it was worth it for us. It seems competitive for us, given that we're doing 4.5 billion requests. And when you do load balancing like that for downtime, all of your TTLs are very low. A lot of our TTLs are in the five-minute space. It generates a ton of extra load on the DNS when you do five-minute TTLs. If we wanted to decrease our bill we could just increase our TTLs, but we don't feel like risking that.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    If someone were to say to me that they don't need to spend money on a solution like this because they have a free cloud provider or basic DNS, I would tell them that's not true. The free providers don't provide global load balancing. There are no free solutions that do geo load balancing. If you try the other options like Amazon Route 53 or Dyn or Ultra DNS, the only way you can get geo load balancing is if you use something like Route 53's policy editor. It's graphical only, extremely slow, and there are a lot of limitations to what it can do. I played around with Route 53 extensively. I have been a member of the customer advisory board of AWS for a very long time now. I really like a lot of their solutions and I tried to get Route 53 going, but it just wasn't good enough, and it wasn't free. It was expensive. There was no way to deal with it without the policy manager, as well. Dyn is a pain. We had nine years of experience with it and I would not want to use it again.  If you have normal DNS needs that don't involve advanced features of a DNS, you may be able to deal with Route 53 or another simple DNS solution, although probably not a free DNS service. But if you have anything more complex than the simple stuff, I doubt those solutions will work for you.
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Director of Site Reliability Engineering at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20Leaderboard
    Filter Chain allows us to implement reliable DNS load balancing in a straightforward manner
    Pros and Cons
    • "The fact that it's an API-first platform for DNS and application traffic management is one of the reasons we looked into NS1. We use it for a lot of automation and metrics gathering and it's been great."
    • "I would like to see the UI updated to allow me to do finer searches. I would also like to have the ability to get reports that can sort based on various metrics. For example, I would like to be able to say, "Show me the top 10 records by total queries" in an easy-to-digest format."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use NS1 to serve our public DNS and we have around 500 domains that we service through it. It is the public resolver for our website and various other entities we own, and it has been pretty good.

    The solution is hosted by NS1. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have done some DNS load balancing through NS1 and, using the Filter Chain offering, it has been very straightforward. That's what really sets them apart from their competitors. It's very simple to do and very powerful, reliable, and accurate.

    In addition, we haven't had any issues at all with uptime when there is a DDoS attack. When we have been the subject of an attack, NS1 has been up and stable for us, as well as performant. On top of that, it has been able to provide us with pretty good details of what kinds of attacks we have been subject to and what NS1 was doing at the time. Even if we are undergoing DDoS attacks, NS1 will still serve DNS for us.

    We have also seen an improvement in our DNS response times compared to previous vendors we used that had had some churn on their response times.

    NS1 has also reduced DNS maintenance work for us. Being an e-commerce platform, every millisecond counts for a customer, and we definitely struggled there. We do a lot of testing and monitoring of response times and, in other solutions, we were seeing that our DNS responses would be flapping from time to time, meaning sometimes they'd be really fast and sometimes they'd be really slow. In a dashboard or graph view, you'd see spikes, a screen full of mountains, things going up and down, up and down. But NS1 gives us a nice flat line, because it's always performant and fast and that's what we want to see. Every millisecond we can shave off is better for business.

    We have also saved time when it comes to manual processes because NS1 is API-first. That means we can automate records, as needed, as part of other processes. And from time to time, as part of troubleshooting, they have a nice feature where you can see if there is a record or multiple records that get an abnormal amount of queries against them. You can see that granularly, down to the actual record view. That is something you can't do on a lot of platforms. The insight we get is really good compared to other solutions.

    Another benefit is connected to the fact that we have some FTP servers that partners of ours use to send and receive files. Those servers are fronting several backend servers, although the partner wouldn't know. They connect to one endpoint and, from their point of view, it's just one server, but it's actually several servers. With the other solutions we've had, if maintenance was needed on a backend server, the partner would notice that the server was down. With NS1's Filter Chains and health checks and monitoring all built-in, we can take servers like that out of service and the partner would never know because NS1 just routes them to a healthy server. That kind of stuff is extremely important for us.

    What is most valuable?

    • Ease of use 
    • Stability - We haven't had any issues at all with the service.

    Also, the fact that it's an API-first platform for DNS and application traffic management is one of the reasons we looked into NS1. We use it for a lot of automation and metrics gathering and it's been great.

    Its real-time telemetry and ecosystem of integrations are very easy to use. We haven't taken advantage of much of that, but the fact that we know those capabilities are there, and that they're pretty straightforward, is key. We have done a few things using their routing protocols that are provided as part of the service and that has been really nice. We can actually do automation around that as needed.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see the UI updated to allow me to do finer searches. I would also like to have the ability to get reports that can sort based on various metrics. For example, I would like to be able to say, "Show me the top 10 records by total queries" in an easy-to-digest format. If I wanted to do that today, given that we have 500 domains, I'd have to go into every single domain and browse through it to see what is getting hit the most. That kind of filtering functionality would help because our licensing model is based on the number of queries we serve per month. If something goes hog-wild, I want to be able to easily find what that is and then react to it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using NS1 Managed DNS for about four years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    If there are scalability issues, they haven't been apparent to us as a customer. As a system engineer, I can empathize and I'm sure they have some internally, but we haven't seen them. The scalability helps meet SLAs and customers’ demands, without adding complexity.

    Every customer who hits our website is using NS1, so that is up to millions per day. Internally, it's mostly system engineers who use it to add or remove records and there are about a dozen of them, possibly more.

    In terms of increasing use of NS1, we're looking into their internal DNS and DHCP solutions. That would be a complicated migration for us, and we are currently in multi-year agreements with other vendors. The goal would be to start slowly migrating over to NS1 for all of our DNS and DHCP needs, but that will take a few years.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have a dedicated success manager. We don't need a lot from him, but every two or three months he checks in to see if we have any large needs. We also meet with him once every few months just to touch base.

    Their technical support is really quick to respond to concerns. They communicate well and provide feedback that's not only technical but easy to understand if you're not technical. They do a great job.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We've used other tools like this over the years, obviously, being a publicly exposed e-commerce platform, and we've had some struggles with them. NS1 has been really smooth for us. Most recently we used Dyn DNS. They were purchased by Oracle and, predictably, their offering went downhill after that. Dyn was cumbersome, at best, to get the stats and reports that we needed, and to steer traffic as needed. With NS1, it has been extremely straightforward.

    The clincher that made us switch to NS1, for me, was actually talking to their CEO at a conference in New York, in 2017. He gave a presentation on their ability to withstand large attacks. He is a systems engineer/architect/programmer at heart. He knew the tech side of the industry and that gave me the confidence I needed that he actually knew how to solve some of the problems that we were facing.

    We then went through some stress tests with NS1 and it was much more performant than other vendors that we had done trials with.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. There wasn't a whole lot to it. I had to learn the semantics that are specific to the system, but once I did that it was really straightforward.

    The deployment took a few phone calls and meetings with our onboarding team and engineers, to go over the scope. The work itself was really pretty straightforward and took just a couple days.

    Our implementation strategy was to sync the main zones we care about, like our main ".com" domain, which is a big zone where a lot of our traffic comes. We added the NS1 name servers to that zone, in addition to the Dyn name servers. That meant a customer going to our website would get served through Dyn or NS1 or sometimes they'd bounce around. Once we saw that NS1 was receiving traffic, we let it bake for a couple of days and then we started removing the Dyn name servers, to the point where there was only NS1 left. There was no downtime when we migrated to NS1 from Dyn.

    The solution's automation has saved our staff work. As I mentioned, we host about 500 domains and serve DNS publicly through NS1. We were doing a lot of that in-house on our own infrastructure and appliances, through Infoblox. The thought of migrating all of that to another platform was kind of harrowing. But with the NS1 API, it actually took us maybe four hours to do all the work. That kind of stuff is really helpful when you're an assistant engineer and you have multitasking upon multitasking happening. I was thinking that project would take two months, but it took one day to do.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did not use a third-party.

    What was our ROI?

    Our ROI comes from the fact that it has been stable and we've had to spend less time on it than we did with third-party integrations and other solutions that we've purchased. It's more of a set-it-and-forget-it type of platform, which is extremely valuable.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    NS1's pricing is much more aggressive than its competitors in the market and you get more value out of what you pay for it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We went through trials with Dyn, of course, because we were their customer. We had also done some trials with Infoblox, which is another of our vendors, but that was where we were hosting the DNS ourselves and using their appliances. And we did some trials with Akamai, which is our CDN provider—the biggest one on the internet—and they have their own DNS offering.

    But NS1 outperformed all of them in terms of the ability to administer it and the actual response times of queries and the propagation of DNS records out to the greater internet. It was much faster, generally speaking, in broadcasting those changes. A DNS has a TTL, a time to live. If you change a record or add a record, it can take up to a certain amount of time to propagate throughout the world, which makes sense because the world is one big connected internet. Akamai was taking a few hours to propagate and NS1 was taking just seconds or minutes to propagate. That was key for us. If we have to make changes because there's a routing issue or an internet issue somewhere in the world, we want to make sure that we can serve traffic. If we need to make some changes on our DNS, NS1 publishes them right away.

    What other advice do I have?

    If someone says they don't need to spend money on a solution like this because they have a free cloud provider or basic DNS, I would say you get what you pay for and that you're also paying for the time and energy you have to put in, yourself, to do the work.

    Perhaps one of the biggest wins for NS1 is that people don't readily know their name at times. That means they're doing a good job and people don't even think about who our DNS provider is because it just works.

    I would say use NS1, without hesitation.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Buyer's Guide
    NS1 Managed DNS
    May 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NS1 Managed DNS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2022.
    599,220 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Adam Surak - PeerSpot reviewer
    VP of Infrastructure & Security at Algolia
    Real User
    Leaderboard
    Handles customer-facing records and upstream selection logic with good efficiency
    Pros and Cons
    • "We leverage two things from Managed DNS that we couldn't do with any other solution. One is their filter chain technology, which allows us to shift some of the intelligence we need for the traffic steering to the DNS. The second one is data sources, which enables us to manipulate multiple records simultaneously using NS1's internal message DOS. In our case, we are trying to direct the traffic in over 150,000 different NS1 records to an arbitrary set of repeating responses."
    • "When we first deployed, we flipped the switch, and it didn't work as well as we expected. It wasn't a complete outage, but we had issues in some places with some customers. The NS1 team went out of their way to resolve it on Thanksgiving. We have a post about it on our blog. We called it "Black Thursday.""

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Managed DNS to steer traffic for our API. It handles customer-facing records and the upstream selection logic. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    Managed DNS enabled us to build what we have built. No other DNS solution could do what NS1 is doing as efficiently and developer-friendly as needed. When we chose NS1 in 2014, we were selecting from a bunch of other vendors and potential solutions. We were about ready to give up and develop a homegrown DNS solution because we were not happy with everything that existed. By that, I mean every possible DNS provider around the world. No other solution could handle our load, so we were thinking about building our own when we were introduced to NS1. 

    Our use case is customized. They developed custom features for us like Managed DNS features filter-chain technology. NS1 has a logic that isn't possible to express with other filter chains. They created a filter that merges using custom logic. It improved our DNS response times in general. We migrated from Route 53 to NS1, and the response time works pretty well for us.

    What is most valuable?

    We leverage two things from Managed DNS that we couldn't do with any other solution. One is their filter chain technology, which allows us to shift some of the intelligence we need for the traffic steering to the DNS. The second one is data sources, which enables us to manipulate multiple records simultaneously using NS1's internal message DOS. In our case, we are trying to direct the traffic in over 150,000 different NS1 records to an arbitrary set of repeating responses. 

    If we have about 1,000 endpoints, that translates to around 150,000 records. Assuming there's an even distribution, so every time a server fails or an endpoint goes on a level, we would have 150 updates. With NS1, we have one, so this had an even more significant effect. There are situations where we have thousands of specific records sharing the same responses. In that case, there is one update instead of thousands and thousands.

    When we chose Managed DNS in 2014, it was the only solution that could do what we wanted, but I'm not sure about the current state of the market. The NS1 API is an API on top of a managed DNS. It's not an afterthought. It's not like the solution existed. 

    Someone was sending updates by email. Then a product manager came along and said, "Hey, there is this cool thing. It's called an API. Maybe we should do it?" And they are like, "Okay. Let's do it."  In the case of NS1, they thought about how to use an API to manipulate and retrieve the stuff. It's supposed to be API-driven. Also, NS1 doesn't have hidden features that would not be available over the API. Even their dashboard is built on top of the API. You can leverage all the functionality programmatically. That's what we do.

    We don't use their native integrations because we have been customers before these integrations and real-time telemetry existed. Our solution isn't leveraging either of those. Instead, we leveraged their API integration, which was the first thing that existed. Indeed, the API is at the core of how we use Managed DNS. No one goes to the dashboard or manually clicks anything. Everything goes via the API, and we perform hundreds of changes every minute. The API automatically drives everything, so that's the integration we leverage.

    We don't use the Pulsar Active Steering feature because we don't have a website. Our solution is being used as an API for other solutions. You can put the Pulsar agent on the website and feed NS1 the information. In our case, we are integrating into third-party sites. We cannot put our JavaScript on their websites for NS1 to provide the data, so we don't.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using NS1 Managed DNS since late 2014, so it's been more than seven years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    NS1 has built advanced solutions for how to stay up during DDoS attacks. I can't recall a situation where NS1 has been unavailable in the last 24 months, and we have very precise monitoring of NS1 availability. Any downtime that might occur would be highly localized and quickly mitigated.

    How are customer service and support?

    We launched on Thanksgiving and didn't realize it because we were all sitting in Europe. We had to wake up the founders of NS1 with an issue on Thanksgiving Day. They remember it to this day, and every single time it comes up, they always mention that I'm the one who woke them up on Thanksgiving. It was terrible, so I would say you need to plan deployment and keep the NS1 team in the loop because they can help. Their support is excellent. They can help you roll it out. Just don't go crazy and work with them.

    NS1 had only four to six people in their company at the time. Today we have 650 employees, but at the time, we had only eight, so NS1 was roughly the same size as us, and we were willing to pay them a lot of money. 

    When we first deployed, we flipped the switch, and it didn't work as well as we expected. It wasn't a complete outage, but we had issues in some places with some customers. The NS1 team went out of their way to resolve it on Thanksgiving. We have a post about it on our blog. We called it "Black Thursday."

    If you go on our blog and search for "Black Thursday," you can find a post from November 28th, 2014, describing in detail how we shot ourselves in the foot during the transition and how we managed everything. We didn't mention NS1 a lot in the process because we didn't want to. It was completely our fault. 

    We migrated, and it was terrible, but they went above and beyond. They even called operators worldwide to tell them to flush their DNS caches because we messed up. It was a great experience but also a massive incident for us. NS1 assigned us a customer success manager and an account manager, and I'm part of the customer advisory board because we are long-term customers. 

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    NS1 was the first solution that could express the logic we needed to be hidden behind the records, and we couldn't adapt any other solution to our needs. We tried Dyn and other solutions. Our main requirement was geo-steering, and we wanted to cover every record. We tried to assign the location of that endpoint. Depending on the location of the end-user, we wanted the end-user to be steered to the closest available endpoint. Currently, availability is precisely the issue with the data sources. You have to replicate it repeatedly thousands of times. NS1 simplifies the process.

    The other reason we went with NS1 was the sheer expression power of the geo-steering. We struggled with Dyn for weeks, trying to configure their global geolocator to do what we needed. The precision was limited to the continent and a country, but we needed more. NS1 let us geo-coordinate, and NS1 was like, "Okay. We're going to steer it the same." 

    The expression capabilities of NS1 and the possibilities of the filter chain were the decisive factors. That's what we wanted to build and what we needed from a DNS. NS1 had it built-in. 

    We also previously used Route 53 from AWS. I'm not sure if it improved response times because you can't do much about that. NS1 or AWS manages it, so there is only so much you can complain about availability. It also depends on the level of telemetry that you have. Overall, I would say we saved money by migrating because we could not do what we wanted to do on AWS. On Route 53, we were unable to do it efficiently. We switched to NS1, and they probably saved us between $10 million and $50 million that we would have had to spend building it ourselves.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setting up Managed DNS was straightforward. When we were migrating, we dumped everything from Route 53 and wrote a small script to import everything into NS1. Then we flipped the main DNS server records. That was our implementation strategy. 

    The only preparation needed was to create a bunch of testing records, and we tested it from probes around the world to see how it behaves and performs. Once NS1 was chosen as our go-to solution, it was as simple as that. We eventually exported and pulled the API off Route 53 then pushed it directly to NS1.

    Overall, the migration was seamless, but we had an incident in 2014 that we caused ourselves when migrating to NS1. It was our fault, and no one saw it coming. We kind of forget that IPv6 exists, so we created the problem ourselves.

    We don't have DNS maintenance work. That's a term that no one in the organization knows, no one understands. If you asked someone in our company, "How much time do you spend on DNS maintenance?" People would say, "What are you talking about? What do you mean by DNS maintenance?" None of my engineers would be able to wrap their heads around it. We don't maintain anything in NS1 aside from the mess we cause with our records and our automation. Otherwise, we don't spend any time maintaining the platform.

    What was our ROI?

    If NS1 didn't provide this solution, we would've had to make our own. Once we discovered Managed DNS, we decided there was no way we were building it ourselves. It is now a core service for our product. Without them, I probably would have a massive team today and sink tens of millions of dollars into our custom DNS infrastructure. What's more, we wouldn't be able to do probably 10 percent of what they're doing.

    It's fully automated, so it has cut down on manual processes associated with managing DNS by 100 percent. We don't have any manual processes, but otherwise, we would need staff to do something. All the manual processes are eliminated.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate NS1 Managed DNS 10 out of 10. If you're thinking about implementing the solution, my advice is to test this stuff and work actively with the NS1 team on the migration. 

    My advice would be to talk to NS1, keep them in the loop, and plan it together. Don't try to do it all yourself. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Helge Dymling - PeerSpot reviewer
    Group Directory Manager at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Leaderboard
    Filtered rules enable us to create a type of load balancing, making our VPN more flexible and easier to manage
    Pros and Cons
    • "One of the features that is non-standard and that is very useful is the filtered DNS. We have set up our external VPN, which is what all our employees connect through, to use this feature. It's geolocation-aware. In that way, for India we set it up so that these are the servers that should be supporting things, and in the UK these servers, in the U.S. these servers, and in Sweden these ones."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for all our external DNSs. We wanted to get away from maintaining our own servers and were looking for the ability to filter records to "steer" DNS requests.

      The solution is hosted by NS1. All DNS records are there.

      How has it helped my organization?

      NS1 has reduced DNS maintenance work in our organization because we don't need to manage DNS servers. In addition to not maintaining our own servers, we don't have to update operating systems and handle patches. Those are big savings.

      The solution also has a lot of security features to help protect us from DDoS attacks and the like. We don't need to manage that ourselves.

      And the automatic steering of requests with the filtered records helps us to utilize our VPN boxes in a much better way. Now, people only need to use one name, whereas previously they had to use many different names to do this. That has helped us enormously.

      Along those lines, the filtered records, with which you can build up rules to create load balancing, have improved things a lot, especially now with the pandemic that has resulted in a lot of people working from home. That has really helped the management of our VPN setup to be more flexible in a way that is easier to manage.

      NS1 has also definitely improved our end-user experience. First of all, it has servers in different geographic locations. We didn't have that before, we only had them in Europe. And they use a technology called anycast so that a DNS request goes to the closest DNS server for that IP address. That speeds up the DNS resolution for people using the DNS from the internet. It improves performance a little bit for the end-user by minimizing the latency on the internet.

      What is most valuable?

      One of the features that is non-standard and that is very useful is the filtered DNS. We have set up our external VPN, which is what all our employees connect through, to use this feature. It's geolocation-aware. In that way, for India we set it up so that these are the servers that should be supporting things, and in the UK these servers, in the U.S. these servers, and in Sweden these ones. If a server is down, it will automatically use a server that is up instead. It's like a load balancer that manages the redirecting of traffic depending on where you are.

      The filtered records mean we can set up the rules so that DNS requests are answered exactly the way we want them to be. For example, if my request comes from Sweden, we can have a rule in the filtered DNS setup to go to sslvpnsc.ourcompany.com if it's up. Otherwise, it uses another one. 

      The solution has other features where you can import and export data, but we don't use them. We use the more fundamental things, but NS1 is a big help for us thanks to the filtered records.

      Another reason we use it is that we use a management tool, where you can update DNS records called Micetro from Men&Mice. It has an integration with NS1 and, for us, this was the perfect combination.

      NS1 Managed DNS also has a REST API which makes it easy to integrate things yourself. We collect some statistics by using the REST API. And even if we don't know if we will need it, from time to time we take a backup of all the data records by using that API. It is helpful for automation. The API also made it possible for Micetro to integrate with NS1. Men&Mice used it to integrate their management tool to update, manage, delete, and report, and do everything else you would normally do with DNS from within their platform. The NS1 API is good and flexible.

      As for maintaining uptime during a DDoS attack, we haven't noticed anything, so it has been fine from our perspective.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We are in our third or fourth year of using NS1 Managed DNS.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The stability is good. I haven't seen any noticeable downtime.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      It's scalable because they have the data in different data centers around the world. Even if one data center is down, a DNS query should be answered by any of the other data centers. That's how the architecture is built. NS1 helps us to meet SLAs and customer demands without adding complexity.

      Also, we only use the external DNS, but they have more services that we don't use. So there is scalability from a service perspective as well. We could use it as an internal and external IPAM solution. For functionality, it's really scalable. And with the data centers in different places, I don't think there is a real limitation on the number of DNS records you can have. The scalability is good.

      You buy the service with X number of DNS records and Y number of DNS queries. It's also very helpful that, when we see that we are coming close to the limits, we contact our salesperson and they fix it very quickly.

      In terms of increasing our usage, we will probably add DNS servers but we will not buy extended services.

      How are customer service and support?

      Overall, the solution works very well. We have absolutely nothing to complain about. When we have questions or an issue for support, we use email and we get very quick answers and help from the support team. That part works very well. The answers we get are correct. And there were times when I didn't know how to write an API and they did it for me and shared the results.

      You always want people to help you quickly. If we compare NS1 to others, it's very good if you can get a correct answer from the others within the same day.

      From time to time NS1 has webinars where they discuss different features and what's coming, and that is also good information to get.

      How would you rate customer service and support?

      Positive

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      In the past, we ran external DNS on our own platform, but we moved to NS1 instead of having our own servers. But we can still use the same management tool because it supports NS1. We configured everything that we migrated in that tool. Our team is still using that tool, Micetro, that they were using before we migrated. Of course, we also use the web interface from time to time, but we use Micetro to update and manage the more standard DNS records.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup was straightforward. We got help but we didn't need it. We migrated everything ourselves.

      We did it slowly so it took about a month. We have 10,000 DNS records in 300 different zones. We took a number of zones per week and migrated them, moving more slowly in the beginning and more quickly at the end. We saved the biggest zone, which is our .com site, to the end. By then, we had all the needed skills and experience for how it worked. We didn't have any problems during the migration.

      There was zero downtime involved in the migration to NS1.

      We are a team of 10 people who use the tools that are managing DNS records on NS1. And in total, in our company, there are about 350,000 users, including employees and customers.

      What about the implementation team?

      There was a consultant that could help with the implementation and they explained how it works from the beginning. They helped us as much as we needed. And then we managed the rest ourselves. 

      What was our ROI?

      We don't really calculate ROI on this solution, but if we didn't go for NS1 we would have had to enhance our existing infrastructure of servers. Instead of buying new servers and having to build a new infrastructure, we went with NS1 and don't need to buy servers and keep them updated and patched, which is a very big thing for the moment. In that sense, it's a good investment. It's a kind of outsourcing.

      What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

      Everything can always be cheaper, but as it is today the pricing is fair. No one in our organization who signs the purchase orders is complaining, and they know what it is and what we are using it for.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We didn't evaluate other options because another part of our company was already using NS1. We also looked at the fact that the tool we use, Micetro, was supporting NS1. That meant we could still use the skills we have on that tool and we could also reuse the part that our company was using and integrate everything together. They would get better support and they could also share their skills with us. That's why we did not look at other vendors.

      What other advice do I have?

      If you need an external DNS provider, NS1 has been a really good provider for us, giving us exactly what we were looking for and with more functionality than we need for the moment, functionality that we can buy additionally. It gives us a type of fault tolerance because it has DNS servers spread around geographically, servers that support each other. NS1 is a very good way to go if you need to change your external DNS infrastructure.

      If someone says they don't need to spend money on a solution like this because they have a free cloud provider or basic DNS, it's their choice. It depends on the need they have. In our case, if we didn't go for NS1, we would have had to replace hardware and set up a new infrastructure for DNS. It was a good choice for us together with the filtered records. That is something we couldn't implement ourselves.

      When it comes to manual processes, NS1 has not really changed the amount of work we have. Creating a record is creating a record.

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      Flag as inappropriate
      Engineering Manager at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Leaderboard
      Improves Our Latency By More Than 10% for Selected Regions And Helps Us To Meet Our SLA Of 99.99% Uptime
      Pros and Cons
      • "Monitoring is really important for us. We really care about reliability, and we want to make sure that we can remove some points of presence in our sector and in our edge network really fast when we experience any problems. So, monitoring that NS1 provides for DNS is really important for us."
      • "We care about monitoring and telemetry work, and NS1 provides a pretty good system for monitoring. We can monitor our endpoints and points of presence around the world. If there are any issues, we can easily remove them from our network, but this area needs some improvement because it is not always reliable in NS1. In the past, we had a number of false-positive cases when the monitoring system told us about some problems in our infrastructure that were not true. NS1 is improving the system, and we are constantly talking about this with them. I know that they are releasing a new version of their monitoring system, which is really important for us, but this is a different area where we would expect them to improve."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use Managed DNS, and we also partially use functionality from some of their other products such as Pulsar. We generate a DNS map and upload it to NS1 using their API to propagate to their service. Then, we use Managed DNS to find the optimal route for our users to connect to the closest point of presence for them.

      We use NS1 as software as a service. We are not having anything on-prem. It is a public cloud from our point of view. We are just using their cloud solution or their service. We are not installing it in our data center. They provide us with an API for us to talk to their cloud implementation.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Telemetry is something that we really care about. We care about the reliability of our edge network, and telemetry services are something we highly utilize. We use it through the NS1 API to make sure we have our dashboards and alerts configured correctly to have visibility in real-time over what's happening with our edge network. This way, we can easily and quickly react if needed or in some cases, act in advance to re-steer and re-adjust our traffic.

      We're using Managed DNS with other functionality from NS1, so it improves the latency for our end users. So, we can steer traffic to better locations for users. It is not just based on geographical location closeness. It is based on real user metrics for these users. We also need fewer tools for DNS iterations in DNS management. So, we can have it fully automated by using our code and automation tools that we can build on top of NS1 API.

      We actively use its Pulsar Active Traffic Steering feature. We cared the most about performance and latency for our users, and we have been getting significant improvements, especially for some of the corner cases at some of the unusual geographic locations where our users are. We have better performance with good efficiency. It did not reduce our costs, but our users have a better experience. It has resulted in better work.

      In case of incidents or events for our points of presence, we are able to steer our users to a better location with RUM DNS, which is a part of the Pulsar product. So, we can provide better latency for them in comparison to simple anycast or geolocation traffic.

      We use several DNS maps for the traffic distribution between our points of presence in the edge network. For some of these cases, to decrease the load on our network in a location where we may have limited network capacity, we can actually distill some portion of traffic, but it is less important for us. In such a case, we can avoid potential reliability incidents and bring availability, which eventually can improve our uptime.

      Pulsar has saved money on CDN optimization. For some of our use cases, we need to distribute a significant amount of content between our users. So, we can use this functionality by having several route maps to route this content to better locations.

      It has absolutely improved our DNS response times. We have seen significant improvements for some corner cases with geolocations that have unusual network connections to magistral lines. For some of the use cases, we have seen more than 10% improvement in our latency after we started using the RUM DNS functionality of Pulsar. We have latency improvements of more than 10% in selected regions.

      It has reduced the DNS maintenance work in our organization. We have fully automated tools around NS1 API. So, to do any maintenance, by using the NS1 product, we can easily drain traffic in our point of presence to quickly re-steer our users to other locations. It is fully automated on our site so that we do not spend a lot of engineering time preparing our edge network for maintenance. This preparation time counts towards maintenance time, so we can save a lot of time on this.

      We automated the entire workflow on our site. Its automation has absolutely enabled us to assign staff to other work. Automation is always good, and we can reinvest the time of our engineers.

      Managed DNS helped improve our end-user experience. It reduced our latency dramatically, and our users' experience is much better now. Latency is not the only metric that it has impacted. It has also impacted reliability. We didn't have any major incidents while using NS1 all this time. Our company's SLA is 99.99%, and we can easily maintain it with NS1.

      What is most valuable?

      The Pulsar functionality, map uploading, and real user maps around DNS are some of the valuable things for us.

      Another valuable feature is how easily we can interact with their API. We run our infrastructure as a code, so it is really easy for us to describe the whole configuration of the NS1 service by using our service configuration and interact with their API. We like this functionality a lot.

      Monitoring is really important for us. We really care about reliability, and we want to make sure that we can remove some points of presence in our sector and in our edge network really fast when we experience any problems. So, monitoring that NS1 provides for DNS is really important for us.

      What needs improvement?

      We care about monitoring and telemetry work, and NS1 provides a pretty good system for monitoring. We can monitor our endpoints and points of presence around the world. If there are any issues, we can easily remove them from our network, but this area needs some improvement because it is not always reliable in NS1. In the past, we had a number of false-positive cases when the monitoring system told us about some problems in our infrastructure that were not true. NS1 is improving the system, and we are constantly talking about this with them. I know that they are releasing a new version of their monitoring system, which is really important for us, but this is a different area where we would expect them to improve.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I joined the company two years ago, so this is when I started working with the product, but in our company, we have been using it for a longer period of time. We started using it several years ago. 

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Managed DNS is very stable for us. In our company, our uptime SLA is 99.99%, and DNS is crucial here. If the DNS system is down, then there will be a significant availability hit for the whole organization. We have been using NS1 for a long period of time, and we have not had any major outages on the NS1 side that lead to any outage on our side.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We don't have any problems with scalability. Our edge network is growing. So, every year, we add more and more points of presence to our edge network. It means that we need to add more zones for us. So far, we didn't experience any problems with this. It is easy to scale the solution.

      We never had any complexity with meeting SLAs and customer demands. We heavily utilize NS1 API, and we have automation on our site around this API. It has worked well so far, and there are no problems with it. Its non-complexity is super important because we want to have everything as smooth as possible and as automated as possible. It helps us to actually achieve these goals.

      We have a whole traffic team in our organization that has seven people at the moment. So, we use NS1 within one single team in our company.

      It is being used across our whole infrastructure. This is our main DNS provider, and an increase in usage would align with the organic growth of our user base. We don't have plans for any additional increase at this time.

      How are customer service and support?

      We work with their customer success team. We have a dedicated person from their side with whom we can talk about our problems, our issues, or any proposals we might have. This is a really fruitful collaboration.

      We are happy with the NS1 support. They are responsive and professional. They reply to all of our requests. They provide good updates about progress or status on their side, and we can even discuss the next steps. If there are some things that need to be improved, they always propose a good plan for improvement. I'm completely satisfied with their customer service team. I would rate them a 10 out of 10.

      How was the initial setup?

      It was set up before I joined this organization. Its maintenance is done on their side. Because it is a software as a service, all upgrades and maintenance for NS1 services are done by NS1.

      What was our ROI?

      We have definitely got a return on investment because this is the core functionality for our company to operate our business, but I don't have any numbers.

      What other advice do I have?

      To someone who says that they don't spend money on a solution like this because they have a free cloud provider or a basic DNS, I would say that they need to think about reliability and, of course, performance. Those are two main things on the users' side. On the company side or the engineering side, with NS1, it is really easy to have automation in place for management and monitoring.

      My only advice is to keep it automated. It is easy to do. NS1 provides the whole platform to run their solution from your infrastructure as a code by using API. You can also use tools like Terraform or any other automated management system. 

      I would rate Managed DNS a 10 out of 10. We don't have a lot of issues. Of course, it is a growing product, and there are some areas of improvement for NS1, but just based on our interactions with them and how this product works for our infrastructure, we are completely satisfied. 

      Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

      Public Cloud

      If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

      Other
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      Sargurunathan Mohan - PeerSpot reviewer
      Technical Lead - Production Engineer at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Top 20Leaderboard
      Massively reduced DNS maintenance work for us, and provides good propagation times
      Pros and Cons
      • "The Filter Chain is one of the most valuable features, for geo-load balancing and geo-fencing. The Filter Chain is the most useful because it allows us to do several things. With geo-fencing we can redirect a particular user to a particular answer. That's very valuable for us. Filter Chains with monitoring is our strategy to provide redundancy."
      • "The Filter Chain simulation is really good in the UI, but it would be nice to have something similar in the API so that we could simulate and test things before we deploy them."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use NS1 as the primary point of contact, the first point of contact for a client to reach us, to discover a DNS. We use NS1 in two ways: We use the Managed DNS product and the Dedicated DNS product, which gives us redundancy. Our primary use-case is for getting users to the CDN [content delivery network] one that is best suited for each user.

      We have an automated deployment, so we use Terraform to deploy changes.

      The managed solution is completely managed by NS1; it's not on-premises.

      How has it helped my organization?

      The integrations for monitoring events is helpful. Monitoring of events can change things in the Filter Chain. That helps our team receive alerts. Our team is kept in the loop about what is happening.

      When it comes to maintaining uptime during a major DDoS attack, NS1 is very good. NS1's Dedicated DNS gives us redundancy. In addition, NS1 has worked closely with us to get us into the position we are in today. They do a good job in communicating problems and of looking forward with their solutions. They don't just address the current issue when it comes to DDoS and mitigation. These are continuous issues. It's not just a one-off that you handle once. They look for solutions that will solve future DDoS impact.

      It has also improved our DNS response times. Because we have been using NS1 for quite a long time, it's hard to estimate how much response times have improved. But since we started with them we have definitely done better. The most critical thing that we look at, rather than the response time, is the time for propagation, and that's been very good.

      The solution has also massively reduced DNS maintenance work in our company. The way we were set up a long time ago was that we would maintain things by ourselves, and now we don't do anything along those lines. For the external DNS, we do about 10 percent of the amount of work that we did previously. That's a huge improvement. The amount of maintenance has gone down significantly and our maintenance cost is down by at least 70 percent, for the external DNS.

      NS1's automation has also enabled us to assign people to other kinds of work. It saves us time so that we can concentrate on other things.

      Overall, it has helped to improve our end-user experience. Knowing the DNS delivery part is taken care of is important; performance is very critical. Taking users to the right CDN or data center is very important for the end-user experience. NS1 is part of the set of tools we have to achieve that better user experience and to get them to the right place.

      What is most valuable?

      The Filter Chain is one of the most valuable features, for geo-load balancing and geo-fencing. The Filter Chain is the most useful because it allows us to do several things. With geo-fencing we can redirect a particular user to a particular answer. That's very valuable for us. Filter Chains with monitoring is our strategy to provide redundancy.

      We also use the automation extensively, with Terraform.

      From the get-go, we have used the API from NS1. We have hardly used the solution's UI. For any major changes, we use the API and that works brilliantly for us. As an infrastructure team and organization, we heavily value infrastructure as code, so this is a great approach. Any feature that comes into the Filter Chain gets exposed first to the API, before it even goes to the human resources. It works very well and enables us to adapt a complete infrastructure-as-code approach.

      The real-time telemetry and ecosystem of integrations were also a key part for us when choosing among multiple vendors, because of geo-location. It's very crucial for us. Choosing which server to use, in case of an emergency, for example, we depend on NS1's monitors. It's reliable and hasn't caused us any trouble. Another advantage is that there are multiple regions for the telemetry collections so, even if one of them has an issue, we are confident that there is enough redundancy to let us sail through the problem.

      What needs improvement?

      The Filter Chain simulation is really good in the UI, but it would be nice to have something similar in the API so that we could simulate and test things before we deploy them.

      And while it's not exactly a problem, a nice-to-have would be a faster API. If we have to make a change to many things, it would be nice if there were a bulk change operation. For example, if we want to change TTL, we would just issue one bulk operation. We can make the calls simultaneously, but there are limits, even if you do things in parallel. 

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using NS1 Managed DNS in this company for about five years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The stability has been very good. We haven't really had major problems. Especially, since we have the Dedicated DNS as well, our setup of NS1, as a whole, the Managed and the Dedicated, is very stable.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We have confidence in NS1 that they will take care of our scaling needs. It's a hosted solution so we just send our traffic to them and, so far, there haven't been any issues.

      The solution has helped us to meet SLAs and customers’ demands, without adding complexity. The scalability, when it comes to traffic, is very important because our traffic pattern changes. It's not a straight line on the graph. Scalability is a key feature for us.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      When we got started with Dedicated DNS, the technical support worked with us and they were really good and helpful.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial was very simple and straightforward. Initially, sending the users to one of the data centers regions was the most complex part, but we had good help from support to understand Filter Chains and to set things up correctly. The process didn't take too long.

      We didn't have any downtime when migrating to NS1 because we had external DNS as well.

      What about the implementation team?

      Our experience with the NS1 customer success team has been good. We have worked closely with them on many occasions. Some of the problems were even new to them, because we had unique features. They were happy to engage and bring in people from their core engineering teams to help. It has been really nice working with NS1's customer success teams. That's one of the biggest advantages of NS1.

      What was our ROI?

      I believe we have seen ROI, and that's why we keep going back to them. We've been using them for five years and that is a long time. It's useful for us and it delivers.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We recently evaluated another solution, but the complexity involved with it was slightly high. With NS1, our Filter Chain is cleaner. Also, scaling would add a complexity factor with the other solution.

      If someone says they can use a basic DNS, one issue is that it only works to a certain scale. After a certain limit you will have to pay exponentially more. You need to be aware of up to what scale a solution will work for you. Another issue to consider is the flexibility. An enterprise solution has features, such as the Filter Chain, to do complex things, and they might not be available in the free solutions. A third factor is support. That is one of the key features in evaluating these solutions, especially if you're building a product that is critical for a customer. I'm not sure that the free solutions provide that level of support. All of these factors are very good with NS1.

      What other advice do I have?

      Engage as much as you can with their customer success team. Explain your use cases very well and they will suggest good solutions that are the perfect fit. Keep in touch with their team. NS1 is an evolving product. The more you stay in touch with the customer success and technical support teams, the more likely it is you will be successful.

      Also, focus on automation. NS1 is API-driven. The fact that we are really focused on and invested in automation tools has really helped us.

      Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
      James Marcus - PeerSpot reviewer
      VP of Technical Operations and Devops at a consultancy with 5,001-10,000 employees
      Real User
      Leaderboard
      Centralized DNS management, good traffic routing capabilities, and significantly improves DNS response times
      Pros and Cons
      • "We find that the low latency access to DNS queries has a direct effect on the customer experience. Visiting a site, whether it's an AdTech-based solution or marketing tech, the fact that whatever we're rendering on a page can be rendered better than the industry standard, in terms of time, ensures a better user experience."
      • "We would really like them to become a DNS registrar."

      What is our primary use case?

      The product is a DNS as a service and we have automated the creation and deletion of all sorts of DNS records.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We needed to have the fastest and most secure and resilient DNS possible, and that's what we got. We don't worry about denial of service attacks on the DNS, as we've seen other large vendors go through. We have access to a significant and forward-thinking feature set that allows us to use things like DNSSEC fairly easily.

      Our DNS response times have improved significantly. I have not compared data within the past year but at the time, we looked at a 99.9% evaluation and saw that NS1 was the most effective and fastest solution.

      We have access to enterprise tooling that allows us to have a single pane of glass between our internal DNS solutions and our external ones. We also have the ability to use advanced routing techniques with the rules engine or the additional tooling that NS1 provides.

      The application traffic management capabilities using the API are excellent. We orchestrate that API using Terraform, which means that there are no manual steps involved in bringing up a piece of infrastructure that needs a DNS record or maintaining hygiene in our DNS records because services are taken down. All of it is orchestrated with the use of the API with Terraform on top to achieve it. Overall, it's a very robust API and it meets our needs.

      While it doesn't apply to the entire company, this product allows us to utilize automation through the API, which saves us a significant amount of time and eliminates manual changes that are error-prone.

      We have been unaffected by major DDoS attacks because of the architecture.

      This product has allowed us to reduce or eliminate DNS maintenance work. I can't estimate how much time this has saved us but being able to use an API versus manual maintenance means that we don't really have to do any maintenance. We've been given a solution that allows us to automate everything that we need to do.

      The automation provided by NS1 means that we no longer have to focus on that work, which allows us to assign staff to other tasks. Time is saved because we don't really use manual processes with the DNS. We try to automate everything we do in the DevOps team, so this has been effective for us.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are the DNSSEC and the general reliability and speed of the service. We find that the low latency access to DNS queries has a direct effect on the customer experience. Visiting a site, whether it's an AdTech-based solution or marketing tech, the fact that whatever we're rendering on a page can be rendered better than the industry standard, in terms of time, ensures a better user experience.

      The Application Telemetry feature is awesome. This includes latency detection and it allows us to detect where a customer may run into latency on the internet, giving us the opportunity to route around it. It contributes to providing the best user experience for our clients.

      Using the Pulsar feature has certainly improved our user experience. Using Pulsar with telemetry monitoring between the customer and the endpoint, we are able to detect traffic and route it appropriately, which ensures the uptime of our applications and web properties. It also ensures that the lowest latency experience is possible.

      What needs improvement?

      We would really like them to become a DNS registrar.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using NS1 Managed DNS for approximately seven years, since 2014, across companies.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      I don't have any issues with stability.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      Scalability-wise, I haven't had any issues with this product. It is being used wherever we're using DNS and as our business grows, it will be utilized more.

      We have a DevOps team and an infrastructure team that uses NS1. The DevOps team mainly manages the automation of the cloud infrastructure and tools, whereas the infrastructure team manages our legacy on-premises data center.

      This product provides the scalability we need to help meet SLAs and customers' demands without adding complexity, which is very important to us. Although it doesn't happen as often anymore, there can be significant changes in the demand for our service. This has the potential to overwhelm services, just like we see in denial of service attacks. However, the available capacity in NS1 has meant that we've never had a challenge with that.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      I have worked with the customer success team and the experience was world-class. They're a customer-first team and they are always available. We reach out to them on Slack and they're always there for us. They're straightforward and transparent about any possible issues that they have on their side and overall, it's a wonderful experience.

      The same is true for the product's technical support. They're always there for us and transparent about any challenges.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      In the past, the company used Dyn, which is now by Oracle. I have also used UltraDNS.

      There were several reasons that we switched. The number one reason is support and service, the second is the forward-thinking functionality and features, and the third reason is the cost.

      How was the initial setup?

      At this company, the initial setup was very straightforward.

      It was an import, and it was completed in a matter of hours or less.

      Our implementation strategy was to import or migrate the zones from a previous NS1 account that was owned by another company, and then make the necessary registrar changes. During our migration, there was zero downtime.

      What about the implementation team?

      I implemented NS1 Managed DNS at my current company. We completed the deployment in-house.

      What was our ROI?

      ROI is hard to quantify but in terms of application uptime and customer experience, we have seen a return on our investment.

      What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

      The cost of this product is one of the reasons that we chose it.

      There may be overage costs in addition to the standard licensing fees, although I haven't experienced them.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      I looked at the Dyn and UltraDNS solutions. I also looked at Akamai Fast DNS and some of the cloud services. The two main reasons that we chose NS1 are the low-latency DNS, and a feature set that was unique and seemed to be beyond what anyone else was doing.

      What other advice do I have?

      My advice for anyone who thinks that they don't need a solution like this because they have a free or basic DNS with their cloud provider is that they need to evaluate how DNS solutions may affect the customer experience. They should consider the global footprint of NS1, the network architecture, and where they implement Anycast. If these things don't matter then they're probably not running a business that relies on website revenue or has a website that represents their business.

      The biggest lesson that I have learned from using this product is how easy it was to implement it, and that doing so probably reduces the risk of migrating to a new DNS solution.

      This is a product that I have recommended to many different people. In general, I would say that this has been the easiest solution to manage and implement.

      I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

      Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

      Public Cloud
      Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
      VP Information Technology & Cyber at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Leaderboard
      Has good traffic management, speed of updates, and observability
      Pros and Cons
      • "Everything we download into our observability platform so that we can also track any changes in traffic behavior or things like that is also something that we use quite a lot. I'd say traffic management, the speed of updates, and observability are the top three things that we use."
      • "There could maybe be additional ways to manage traffic. There are no major improvements we're looking for. It's a very complete solution."

      What is our primary use case?

      NS1 holds all of our domains.

      When we started using it, we didn't use it with API automation. Today, we do everything with automation and run everything with our automation, so that any change we run, all the data is backed up with GIT. Changes are done with an API so that there is no manual work. It reduces errors significantly and allows us to quickly roll back all the activities on the platform. It works flawlessly for us. Deployments are very fast. There's absolutely no complaint there.

      We manage our internet facing traffic with it.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We use it for traffic optimization. I have optimized the traffic using this feature by 20%.

      DNS obviously plays a major role in DDoS attacks. It's something that is under attack, but it's also a major player in its ability to defend. NS1 has been doing an amazing job with that.

      It has improved our DNS response times as well. 

      We've been using Managed DNS for the past 10 years. We moved from a different vendor a few years ago. Generally speaking, I would say that Managed DNS reduces the overhead. 

      NS1's automation has enabled us to assign tasks to other work because we have very little DNS right now because it's all managed. It frees up SRE time to deal with actual internal system and application management, instead of managing the infrastructure that can be managed by a third party.

      It helped to improve our end-user experience because users get better service by accelerating the response time.

      We have also seen benefits when it comes to speed, time, and cost.

      What is most valuable?

      The ability to manage traffic, what's called Smart Domains or Smart Record, enables us to provide our customers the relevant, closest data center by providing the correct IP address according to geography or other logic. The ability to see real-time performance is also very useful. 

      Everything we download into our observability platform so that we can also track any changes in traffic behavior or things like that is also something that we use quite a lot. I'd say traffic management, the speed of updates, and observability are the top three things that we use.

      Observability means monitoring the API, the ability to see the traffic at the different levels, the ability to connect the right record to the right place, and then see everything within the platform or within our observability platform. It is really useful. The automation and the fact that they provide the connectivity into Terraform, for example, is very useful because it allows for ease of integration. I don't have to write the right API integrations myself. We can actually use industry standards that are available out there.

      What needs improvement?

      There could maybe be additional ways to manage traffic. There are no major improvements we're looking for. It's a very complete solution. 

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using NS1 Managed DNS for over four years. 

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The platform itself is stable and highly available. We had very few incidents and never full downtime.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We have not found any scalability issues. We are running a pretty large operation ourselves, of around 100,000 requests per second, and we have never had any scalability issues with the platform. It's always scaled to the size that we need.

      It provides scalability to help meet SOA and customers' demands without adding complexity. DNS is a basic part of any solution. And once you have 100,000 requests coming in and you need to make sure that the connectivity is there, the response time is there, the error levels are as low as possible, and every request actually gets an answer. If a third party can do this and I can take care of my actual application and not think about the path into my application, that is very useful.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      The only time we used support was when we migrated the additional features around security. They were highly professional and available. They are very good at what they do.

      Post-deployment their support was very good. I would rate them a ten out of ten. They are very knowledgeable, not only about their product but about general DNS protocols, from performance to global interconnectivity. They were able to look at the whole picture and the small details within the picture as well.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We switched from Akamai. It was slower and had fewer features.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup was very straightforward. Using the migration itself was easy. The ongoing monitoring and change for the service, the support that we got from NS1, was all very clear. They are all very professional. There was no downtime. It's very, very straightforward. It took a few weeks. It was very short. 

      We kept a backup of the old service up and running, and moved 50% of the traffic into the new DNS and then into the new managed service. Then once we saw everything was running smoothly, we deployed the rest.

      We were working with NS1's customer success team during our deployment. I was satisfied with their support. 

      What was our ROI?

      We have seen better performance. It's very hard to measure if there is an ROI here, but we have absolutely seen better performance, and that is the important part for us.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We also looked at Neustar. NS1 solution has many more features and it works faster than any of the other solutions. It was also that the pricing was clearer and much easier to work with in terms of the tiers of the pricing. It was really the full package.

      What other advice do I have?

      For those who have a free cloud provider or basic DNS, I would say that the road into the application and the road into your infrastructure is part of the actual solution that you provide. DNS is part of that pavement. That is the road that end-users reach your application. The higher quality you can have there, especially if it's at a reasonable price means that you will be able to better serve your customers. And that is an important part of IT. Eventually, we are here to serve the business and if we can serve them better then it has an impact.

      Once you have it side-by-side to your existing solution and the stability, speed, reduced error level, the easy connectivity into other platforms, observability, and automation are all worth the investment in engineering time and cost.

      I would rate NS1 Managed DNS a ten out of ten. 

      Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

      Public Cloud
      Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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