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How is the DNS market evolving to meet today's challenges?

How is the DNS market evolving to meet today's challenges?

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To meet today's challenges, the market developed software applications to centralize management of DNS as well as DHCP. These IP address management systems allowed IT organizations to consolidate DNS onto a common platform; to manage DNS from a single point, where there was a concentration of expertise; and to insulate staff from the low-level intricacies of configuring and managing a name server and zone data. However, these products didn't address several aspects of the DNS management problem. IP address management products still run on general-purpose operating systems, so their widespread deployment increases a company's system administration burden and hence operating expenses. Most general-purpose OS platforms, unless painstakingly secured, also offer hackers numerous vectors for attacking the host.

Finally, IP management systems are usually built around a central SQL database. DNS is, of course, a distributed database technology. When zone data was largely manually edited, the mismatch was less evident. But the steady increase in the use of dynamic update on modern networks has highlighted the inadequacy of these systems. Most use some grievous hack to import dynamically updated data from name servers in the field into the central database, and even then can only do so periodically.

At Infoblox, we're implementing IP address management on an appliance platform. The web-based management software is delivered directly from the appliance, so there's no need to install software. Moreover, the software includes all of the functions necessary to provision and maintain the appliances themselves, from a single point, dramatically reducing operating expenses. The appliances are secure, offering only DNS and DHCP - and to authorized addresses, the management interface. Last, and perhaps most significantly, a common, distributed database underlies the appliances, storing both service-specific data (DNS zone data and name server configuration, for example) and appliance configuration.

This was first published in August 2004

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