The UIA Team proposes to provide a robust and reliable Whois service
that initially meets the current .org registry service levels but grows
far beyond that with the rollout of the ATLAS platform.
Initially, the Whois service currently serving the .org domain would
continue. This service is fully compliant with RFC 954 and is currently
being provided via servers located in two separate facilities. The uptime
rate currently exceeds that of the .org registry database because not all
database outages also require a Whois outage. The current five servers are
capable of processing 30,000 transactions per minute. The current Whois
software can be migrated to any Unix platform. For performance reasons,
the servers were upgraded last year from Sun 450s to IBM M80s. The current
architecture, being load-balanced between multiple servers at each site as
well as balanced between multiple sites, provides not only maximum
reliability, but also is highly extensible by simply adding more servers
behind the load balancers. The presence of multiple servers, multiple
facilities and multiple network providers means that the current service
is well protected, not only in the event of an issue within the control of
the registry provider, but also for many events outside the control of the
registry provider (e.g., an outage of a major Internet bandwidth
provider). The current servers are connected to the Internet by multiple
OC3 connections (450mb of network bandwidth) at each facility.
The current Whois service has rate-limiting characteristics within the
software (e.g., the ability to throttle a specific requestor if the query
rate exceeds a configurable threshold). In addition, quality of service (QoS)
technology enables rate limiting of queries before they reach the actual
servers, which provides protection against DOS and DDOS attacks. The
current software also permits restrictions on search capabilities. For
example, wild card searches can be disabled. The UIA Team is generally not
in favor of restricting searches unless it is clear that the results of
the search are being used in ways not beneficial to the .org registrants.
It is possible to restrict and/or block individual requestors (i.e.,
requests coming from specific IP addresses).
With the advent of the ATLAS platform, the UIA Team proposes to
introduce a real-time updated Whois service to complement the real-time
updated DNS service. The ATLAS platform is discussed in Sections C17.4 and
C17.5. With ATLAS in place, both the Whois and the global DNS will be
updated within minutes of an RRP transaction being received and processed
within the SRS.
According to the Nicname/Whois protocol defined in RFC 954, there is no
defined mechanism or method to instruct RFC 954 client software to follow
referrals. The current state of referrals using RFC 954 is
non-standardized, with many different forms of Whois referrals in use
today. This Whois service will use the dominant means of specifying
referrals from the Whois server of a domain registry to the Whois server
of a domain registrar. To refer client software to domain entries in
registrar systems, a single line tagged with the string "Whois
Server:" followed by the host name of the respective registrar Whois
server. In addition, client software will be provided with a website
referral using a line tagged with the string "Referral URL:"
followed by an HTTP url to the website of the appropriate registrar.
The UIA Team proposes to migrate existing .org Whois services into the
Universal Whois system being carried forward by VeriSign in accordance
with Appendix W of VeriSign's .com agreement with ICANN. UIA will also
adjust access and transition to both RFC 954 Whois services and Appendix W
Universal Whois services as specified by ICANN policy, both future and
present. Appendix W. Universal Whois services will offer standardized
mechanisms for structured queries and responses, search continuations and
entity references, DNS label server location, access controls to address
privacy concerns while allowing flexible policies in accordance with law
enforcement and property-rights enforcement and a framework for offering
network operators a similar mechanism when dealing with the administrative
services of routing and address registries.