NS1 offers a managed DNS service to accelerate the delivery of Web and mobile content for its customers. Like many startups, NS1 was built out of the experiences of its founders at a previous company.
Kris Beevers, co-founder and CEO of NS1, came from Voxel, a hosting company that offered a content delivery network as one of its services.
“One thing we learned was, if you’re about to make a decision about which data center should serve a user, you want as much info on hand as you can get at decision-making time,” said Beevers.
NS1 gathers a variety of information about the network, user location, and infrastructure and application performance. It feeds those data points into its traffic management software, called Filter Chain, to decide the optimal route. It also uses its own custom-built DNS platform to deliver the traffic.
Among the information Filter Chain analyzes is geographical data of the end user and the customer’s own service points, such as data centers or POPs. For example, if a user is in the New York City area, the service will steer the user’s request to a POP in New Jersey rather than Virginia.
Other basic metrics include whether a service point is up or down.
NS1 also works with more detailed telemetry, including the system health at service points, network and system loads, bandwidth commits, and more. All these details allow the company to make more intelligent routing decisions.
The company can also steer traffic based on customer requirements. Beevers cites an ad network that hosts content in a colo and on AWS. “They want to use the colo the vast amount of time because it’s more cost-effective, and 2 percent to AWS to keep the caching servers warm.”
NS1 collects some data itself, but it can ingest information from its customers. The company has APIs that customers can run on their own applications to send load counts and application-specific data. NS1 can also get data from monitoring systems such as New Relic.
This month, NS1 announced Pulsar, an add-on service to its private and managed DNS offerings, that lets NS1 get more fine-grained network and systems data on the connections between end users and the customers’ service points.
NS1’s managed DNS service ranges from $200 to $5,000 per month. Prices are based on the number of monthly DNS queries, as well as add-ons such as advanced routing features and tech support options. Pulsar is an additional cost. The company lists its pricing details online.
NS1 was founded in 2013 by CEO Kris Beevers, SVP of Operations Jon Sullivan, and VP of Business Development Alex Vayl. All three came from Voxel, a hosting and CDN business that was acquired by Internap in 2011.
The company took its first round of investment in April 2015 when it raised $5.35 million from Flybridge Capital Partners, Sigma Prime Ventures, Founder Collective and Center Electric.
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