New Registry Systems For .NZ and Afnic’s 20 TLDs

On 1 November Aotearoa New Zealand’s ccTLD launched a brand new registry system for its 750,000 plus .nz domain names, using technology based on Canada’s CIRA Registry Platform, the infrastructure behind the .ca domain name. InternetNZ will continue to manage it and keep all the .nz-related data in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The CIRA Registry Platform supports TLDs around the world, from Ireland’s .ie to Sint Maarten’s .sx as well .kiwi, .eco and a number of other ccTLDs and gTLDs.

“This significant investment into our infrastructure future-proofs .nz for Aotearoa New Zealand,” said InternetNZ Chief Executive, Vivien Maidaborn. “We partnered with CIRA for the .nz registry replacement in 2021 because they understand the unique requirements, values and expectations of running a country code top-level domain.

“It’s an incredible feeling and a great privilege to be at the beginning of a new chapter for .nz. Our partnership with CIRA was fully remote throughout the development and migration, proving yet again that the Internet connects people across the globe to deliver solutions for the public good. The new system enables us to provide critical infrastructure for New Zealand for years to come,” says Maidaborn.

“We are thrilled to welcome .nz to our community of forward-thinking TLDs,” says Adam Eisner, General Manager, Registry Services, CIRA. “This collaboration was a true partnership, and we’re excited to help bring next-generation features and reliability to .nz registrars and registrants.”

There are many benefits for .nz authorised registrars, says Tim Johnson, InternetNZ’s General Manager, Customer and Product.

“The new registry empowers .nz registrars with more self-service capability and reduces technical barriers for new registrars. We also included a lot of new security controls in the system, responding to the challenges of constantly changing threats. The service will be easier to maintain, update, and operate over the long term.

“The team has built the new registry and the infrastructure for it despite the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. Thanks to this effort, the registry now has a modern, more secure, features-rich home,” says Johnson.

“CIRA’s community-first mindset ensures that our TLD management platform is built to answer the needs, values and specifications of each partner,” said Adam Eisner, General Manager of Registry Services at CIRA. “We are proud to have teamed up with .nz to build such a critical platform for New Zealand despite the constraints caused by the pandemic. We share common goals and a similar mission to create the necessary tools to make life online easier for everyone.”

Now that .nz is on a new platform, InternetNZ no longer uses the Shared Registry System protocol (SRS) and fully transitioned to the globally adopted Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP). The domain name industry standardisation enables InternetNZ to deepen collaboration with international counterparts.

Afnic Stays In-House For Their Registry

Meanwhile Afnic, the registry for 20 top-level domains including France’s .fr has taken a different approach by developing and launching a new registry system in-house. Afnic launched their new registry system a month before InternetNZ did on 1 October. It’s partly a matter of economics. For Afnic, they manage the four million .fr domain names, plus a few hundred thousand more for the other 19 TLDs it provides registry services for or manages.

This migration was the culmination of a major overhaul project which was carried out in stages and involved numerous stakeholders. Its objective was to offer Afnic’s clients registry and domain name management services to the very best standards of performance and security and to continue to develop the attractiveness of the .fr TLD. The registry says at stake for them was the entire overhaul of the system thanks to their in-house expertise in order to retain full control of a major infrastructure of the French Internet.

When the project was kicked off, Afnic carried out an analysis and an inventory of needs with a large group representing its registrar and registry clients. This approach relied in particular on a focus group, which provided the elements essential to the construction of a workable roadmap. As users, clients were also called upon to validate elements at the time of designing interfaces. They were then able to test the various functionalities and give their feedback to the teams. These continuous interactions allowed regular adjustments to be made in line with the various clients’ operational requirements.

The migration of the registry and domain name management systems was carried out in three key stages:

  • An initial migration for holders with dot-brand TLDs in the spring of 2020
  • A second migration for holders with geographic TLDs in September 2021
  • A third migration for the .fr and French overseas TLD services on 1 October 2022

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