WTF is NS1? It’s DNS, DDI, and maybe other TLAs

NS1 EC-1 Part 2: Product development and roadmap

“We are not a DNS company, despite the name, and despite everything we’re talking about,” NS1 founder and CEO Kris Beevers says.

That might sound counter-intuitive, given that the company’s flagship product offering is literally called Managed DNS. The issue and the challenge NS1 actually solves today goes much deeper, and by positioning itself as being about more than DNS, the company helps to differentiate itself against what is, by any measure, a very commoditized technology.

Across its product portfolio, NS1 leverages data and injects software-defined intelligence, automation and real-time decisioning policy to steer and optimize traffic at the DNS layer.

NS1 looks at DNS differently from the competition: It doesn’t consider it as just a conduit to connect traffic; instead, DNS is treated as a routing system that can direct traffic very effectively.

Across its product portfolio, NS1 leverages data and injects software-defined intelligence, automation and real-time decisioning policy to steer and optimize traffic at the DNS layer, Beevers says. It does all this by a core technology known as the filter chain, and it is foundational to NS1’s current success.

In the first part of this EC-1, I spoke about how Beevers wrote 22 lines of code to sketch out that filter chain technology, bringing NS1 to life. I will now look at how the company has expanded beyond DNS into what’s known as DDI, a key technology stack for managing internal networks within companies. We’ll also talk about NS1’s open-source efforts, and why experimentation remains a bedrock principle of the company’s engineering culture.

Managing external traffic: DNS and active traffic management

“Something that I will say very often to our team and to our customers in the market is, we’re not here to make DNS better; we’re not here to make DDI better, which is another realm that we play in now,” Beevers said. “We’re here to turn those technologies into leverage to solve much bigger problems that equate to connecting applications with an audience more effectively, at better scale, driving better performance and experiences with security and reliability.”