NLnet Labs is seeking information about organizations that would be willing and able to provide first and second line support for Unbound and would like to know more about their ideas on organization and cooperation.
Unbound is a validating recursive nameserver that can be deployed in a wide range of environment. From individual systems where its role is primarily DNSSEC validation to ISPs and enterprise environments where a large number of customers and users are dependent on the service. It has been designed to be compliant to the relevant specifications (RFCs), with security in mind, while not sacrificing performance.
NLnet Labs intends to provide sufficient confidence in Unbound so that the product is a viable alternative in corporate environments. That means the code is actively maintained by NLnet Labs and NLnet Labs is committed to the maintenance of Unbound to such extent that it will publicly announce that it will cease the maintenance of Unbound at least 2 years in advance. Besides, the source code is made available under BSD license.
Unbound has an active user community and NLnet Labs facilitates those partly by making an unbound-users mailinglist available.
While NLnet Labs is committed to fix security issues, fix implementation bugs, fix general software bugs, and last but not least, carefully assess feature requests, it cannot provide the kind of support that is often needed in enterprises or in ISPs.
In these kinds of environments errors may occasionally occur that may or not be caused by errors in the software. Errors like this are usually hard to troubleshoot and often need access to the systems on which these errors occur, or even on-site presence. Sometimes somebody will need to be available on a 24/7 basis to provide specialist support.
Because of its size and specialism NLnet Labs is not particularly well suited to provide this sort of first and/or second level support to Unbound implementations.
NLnet Labs is considering cooperation with organizations (support organizations) to organize 1st and 2nd line support for DNS recursive services based on Unbound whereby NLnet Labs commits to support for the Unbound code and the support organization is willing and able to provide 1st line support by:
providing a quick fix or workaround for the customer problem;
assess the source of the problem, whether it is configuration, network, OS, or a (transient) external problem;
and provide 2nd line support by:
analysing the causes of problems: assess whether the software is the cause of the problem;
replicate the circumstances where bugs occur;
creation of comprehensive bug reports;
test whether solutions are satisfactory;
assist the customer in fixing problems with recursive DNS services that are not related to Unbound.
NLnet Labs current thinking is that the support organization would be fully responsible for servicing the Unbound users. NLnet Labs would have no direct formalized relation with the Unbound users. NLnet Labs would deal with the users trough its normal channels: bug reports, unbound-users lists, etc.
The shape of the relation between NLnet Labs and the support organization is one issue that this RFI seeks to answer. NLnet Labs imagines that agreements can be made about prioritization of the handling of bug reports originating from the support organization. We can also imagine that NLnet Labs can utilize its channels, goodwill and reputation to bring users of Unbound into contact with the support organization.
Taking the above into account NLnet Labs seeks the following:
Suppose that you would take up the role of support organization please describe
the kind of expectations you would have from NLnet Labs with respect to 3rd line support on Unbound
the kind of boundary conditions you would set for customers requiring Unbound support
how you would be able to implement 1st and 2nd line support for unbound, and whether that is possible on 24/7 or 8/5 basis more specifically:
to what extend can you commit to fixed response times and feedback intervals
how would you organize managerial escalation
what type of service level agreement would you be able to offer
your current experience in offering DNS support and how you would organize this support service
your current experience in offering non DNS support
the geographical area where you can realistically provide support
whether you see any means of profit sharing considering NLnet Labs fiscal status as institution for general benefit (ANBI).
NLnet Labs is merely seeking information. It is not clear yet whether this request will ever lead to a request for proposal (RFP). The publication of this RFI or providing a response to it does not impose any obligation to NLnet Labs or any of the respondents.
Failure to submit information to this RFI will not bar any organization to respond to a future RFP.
NLnet Labs will not pay for the information requested and will not compensate any respondent for any cost incurred while developing the information provided to them.
Information provided in a response may be shared between NLnet Labs management, its board and its advisers.
The response date for the RFI is June 1, 2009.
Please submit a response or any questions to: NLnet Labs, Olaf Kolkman, Science Park 140, 1098 XG Amsterdam, the Netherlands, email@example.com. Email is preferred
NLnet Labs is a research and development foundation that focuses on those developments in Internet technology where bridges between theory and practical deployment need to be built; areas where engineering and standardization takes place.
It is our goal to play an active and relevant role in these areas through the development of open source software, through participating in development of open standards, and through the dissemination of knowledge.
NLnet Labs is a not for profit foundation that has been recognized as institution for general benefit (ANBI) under Dutch law.
Also see: http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/labs/about/