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Zone File Access Advisory Group

This page describes the work of the Zone File Access Advisory Group. The group was formed to study and discuss (benefits and methods) to effectively and efficiently enhance access to zone file information (anticipating an environment with many gTLDs). The briefing paper on this Advisory Group provides additional details describing its work.

The problem statement and solution space and requirements below define the issue before the group and the guiding principles to be incorporated in any proposed solutions.

ZFA Problem Statement:

The current model for Zone File Access is built on individual, bi-lateral agreements and operational relationships between consumers and providers of data. Scaling this model into an environment where there are many consumers and providers may create both operational and cost problems for both consumers and providers of data. A new model for Zone File Access that can scale in both the current environment, and in an environment including new TLDs, may be needed to address these concerns.

ZFA Solution Space and Requirements:

Solutions for multilateral, scalable, secure and consistent Zone File Access may be implemented as a complementary solution to the existing bilateral approach. Any solution must recognize that the record types or data contained in the zone files may vary in new, emerging registry models. Additionally, improving the current model will also provide opportunities for operational and cost improvements for producers of data. Any new model for Zone File Access must be resilient and defend against abuse through both administrative and technological means, and should preserve or enhance existing models of access for legacy consumers. Access to Zone Data should be granted on a equal, non-discriminatory basis among qualified Consumers. Nothing in a new model for Zone File Access should limit any registries' ability to innovate or provide new products and services.

Zone File Access – Strategy Proposal (Posted 13 May, 2010)

This is the Strategy Proposal [PDF, 544 KB] as developed by the community members participating in the Zone File Access Advisory Group. The proposal presents the group’s recommendation of a scalable, uniform implementation model for zone file access in new gTLDs and encourages existing TLD operators to adopt the model. The implementation recommended by the group incorporates elements of two models proposed in the original ZFA Concept Paper [PDF, 260 KB] and thus referred to as the Hybrid Model, will be incorporated to the next draft of the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook for discussion at the ICANN meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

Zone File Access – Updated Cost Model (Posted 13 May, 2010)

The ZFA Cost Model [XLS, 175 KB] is designed to thoroughly explore the potential costs of providing zone file access under four different approaches explored by the group.  An abstract of the cost model is viewable in Appendix A to the Strategy Proposal. The approaches are as follows: Protocol Standardization, Clearinghouse, Repository, and Proxy.  The model accounts for various variable and fixed costs of service provisioning under the various models, and provides an examination of the resulting costs to individual registry operators, any "centralized" provider described in the model, and to the overall ecosystem of providers.  The primary assumptions and results are combined on a single base worksheet, allowing the user to modify assumptions to look at their impacts.  Additional worksheets present the calculations necessary to drive the overall analysis and may be examined and modified by the user if desired.

Zone File Access – Concept Paper (Posted 22 February 2010)

The ZFA Concept Paper (the "Paper") [PDF, 260 KB] was developed by the Zone File Access Advisory Group. ICANN formed this group to study and discuss benefits and methods to effectively and efficiently enhance access to zone file information anticipating an environment with many gTLDs. The Paper proposes four alternative implementation models for community consideration.

The Paper focuses on technical, operational, and administrative challenges for data providers and consumers in an environment with a potentially large number of gTLD registry zone files. Specifically, the work of the group targets consumer concerns relating to difficulties of accessing this important information in the new environment. For those combating DNS abuses, the goals of the program are to reduce the differences in and complexity of contractual agreements; standardize approaches; improve security and zone file access methods. Goals for gTLD registries including managing overhead related to zone file access and considering ways to improve service while maintaining administrative control over zone data.

Zone File Access - Cost Model (Posted 22 February 2010)

During its early work on Zone File Access (ZFA), the Advisory Group recognized that modeling the costs of both provisioning and accessing zone file data would be essential. A small subgroup was convened to develop an initial model. Outreach was conducted to existing gTLD registries to understand provider costs and numerous data consumers in the group contributed to the development of the consumer cost model. The goals of the model were to better understand the economic implications of extending the current scheme of ZFA to larger numbers of gTLDs and to compare that strategy to a new approach using a neutral third party for providing access. Such a model is intended to understand these implications from both the perspective of providers and consumers of zone file data. So far, the model provides a more detailed view of zone file consumer costs. A detailed examination of provider costs is yet to be completed by the group. The model will continue to evolve as more information is made available to the group.

The cost model [XLS, 106 KB] examines costs for participants in both today'’s environment and in a projected scenario with the presence of a greatly expanded root zone. The principal conclusion from this analysis is that there are increased costs for both consumers and providers of ZFA in a root zone with a much larger number of gTLDs

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