Cloudflare DNS went down, now we need more decentralization

Many major websites and services were unreachable for a period Friday afternoon due to issues at Cloudflare’s DNS service. The outage seems to have started at about 2:15 Pacific time and lasted for about 25 minutes before connections began to be restored. Google DNS may also have been affected.

Cloudflare at 2:46 says “the issue has been identified and a fix is being implemented.” CEO Matthew Prince explains that it all came down to a bad router in Atlanta:

We had an issue that impacted some portions of the @Cloudflare network. It appears that a router in Atlanta had an error that caused bad routes across our backbone. That resulted in misrouted traffic to PoPs that connect to our backbone. 1/2

Matthew Prince

The company also issued a statement via email emphasizing that this was not an attack on the system.

Now, many people are talking about how we need decentralization on the internet to avoid such problems/incidents. People are complaining about centralization and how federation will improve things.

Until we start trying to understand why a thing is centralized, a federated alternative is doomed to fail even more catastrophically. Usually, a centralized thing is because money, security, convenience, reliability, and Metcalfe’s law.

With current federation system, we still miss some benefits and also there are some problems we should pay attention to. For example, a centralized system can have dedicated attention about security but a decentralized/federated system is more vulnerable as it works like a chain.

If one of the links in the chain breaks, the whole chain breaks. Also, a decentralized system doesn’t mean that data is stored in the air. Data is still stored in computers. I’m not saying decentralization is not a good thing, what I’m saying is that we should first write protocols and test it in various ways to be sure decentralization doesn’t affect our security and privacy, and it improves our experience.

With current systems, I can’t see a good point in decentralizing our networks except for certain matters such as social media.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.