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Category: DNS

Worth Reading: Anycast DNS in Enterprise Networks

Anycast (advertising the same IP address from multiple servers/locations) has long been used to implement scale-out public DNS services (the whole root DNS system runs on massive anycast), but it’s not as common in enterprise networks.

The blog posts written by Tom Bowles should get you there. He started with the idea and described his implementation using Infoblox DNS.

Want to know even more? I covered numerous load balancing mechanisms including anycast in Data Centers Infrastructure for Networking Engineers webinar.

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Moving Complexity to Application Layer?

One of my readers sent me this question:

One thing that I notice is you mentioned moving the complexity to the upper layer. I was wondering why browsers don't support multiple IP addresses for a single site – when a browser receives more than one IP address in a DNS response, it could try to perform TCP SYN to the first address, and if it fails it will move to the other address. This way we don't need an anycast solution for DR site.

Of course I pointed out an old blog post ;), and we all know that Happy Eyeballs work this way.

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NSONE – Data-Driven DNS on Software Gone Wild

DNS is a crucial component in modern scale-out application architectures, so when Alex Vayl and Kris Beevers from NSONE contacted me just as I was starting to work on my Active-Active Data Centers presentation, I was more than interested to hear what their solution can do.

The result: Episode 29 of Software Gone Wild in which we discussed a number of topics including:

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DNSSEC ... finally!

It looks like the signed DNS root zone might finally get deployed on July 15th and Geoff Huston celebrates the fact with a lengthy article on DNSSEC. Just in case you’re not aware what DNSSEC is all about, he’s providing this nifty summary:

A succinct summary of the problem that DNSSEC is intended to address is that DNSSEC is intended to protect DNS clients from believing forged DNS data.

Read the rest of the article on his blog.

DNSSEC deployment could cause some firewalls to hiccup. You might have to change your ASA configuration; zone-based firewall on IOS supposedly works just fine.

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Yellow journalism at work: Previously Unknown DNS Attacks

When I’ve stumbled across the headline Porn site feud spawns new DNS attack on NetworkWorld’s web site, the urge to read the article was simply irresistible. The article starts with the following paragraph (emphasis mine):

A scrap between two pornographic Web sites turned nasty when one figured out how to take down the other by exploiting a previously unknown quirk in the Internet's DNS.

The link in the paragraph points to another article documenting a completely different DNS attack. The next paragraph contradicts the first one (emphasis yet again mine):

The attack is known as DNS Amplification. It has been used sporadically since December, but it started getting talked about last month when ISPrime, a small New York ISP, started getting hit hard with what's known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
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Decent DNS, DHCP and HTTP server on an ISR router

Readers of my blog have probably noticed that I’m occasionally documenting the shortcomings of DNS and DHCP servers built into Cisco IOS (I will not even mention the HTTP server, this one gets constantly degraded). On the other hand, although you could centralize all these services, the centralization makes the branch offices completely dependent on the availability of WAN uplinks; without a working uplink, a branch office stops completely.

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Using IP Prefixes, AS Numbers and Domain Names in Examples

Keep in mind: Use private IP addresses, AS numbers and domain names in all technical documentation you're producing (unless, of course, you're describing an actual network). If you're forced to use public addresses or AS numbers (for example, to illustrate how the neighbor remote-private-as command works), you should clearly state that they are imaginary.

You can safely use:

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Configure DNS Servers Through IPCP

After I've fixed the default routing in my home office, I've stumbled across another problem: the two ISPs I'm using for my primary and backup link have DNS servers that reply solely to the DNS requests sent from their own IP address range:

When the traffic is switched from the primary to the backup ISP, I therefore also need to switch the DNS servers. Fortunately, this is quite easy to do on a router; you just need to configure ppp ipcp dns request on the dialer interface and the router starts asking for the DNS server address as part of the IPCP negotiation.

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The DNS configuration "challenges"

With the introduction of DNS views in IOS release 12.4(9)T, a number of additional DNS-related configuration commands were introduced. As IOS still supports all the older configuration commands (and the DHCP-acquired DNS servers), the results are not as obvious as one would hope. The IOS documentation is pretty explicit (a nice surprise :), but I still had a bit of a headache figuring it all out, so you might be in the same position.

Let's start with the DNS resolvers (the DNS name servers the router itself uses when it needs to change a name into an IP address or vice versa):
  • You can configure the DNS resolvers with the ip name-server global configuration command or the domain name-server configuration command within the ip dns view default.
  • Both lists are merged and combined with the IP addresses acquired from the DHCP reply messages to get the final list of the DNS resolvers. You can inspect the final list with the show ip dns view default command.
  • The DNS name servers from the DHCP replies never appear in the router configuration.
  • If the same IP address is specified with the ip name-server and domain name-server command, only the global (ip name-server) command will appear in the router configuration.

The rules for DNS forwarders (the DNS servers the router uses to answer incoming DNS queries) are a bit different:

  • The DNS view the current DNS query should use is determined based on view-list assigned to incoming interface (with the ip dns view-group interface configuration command) or the global view-list (specified with the ip dns server view-group global configuration command).
  • The incoming query is (sequentially) sent to the IP addresses configured as dns forwarders in the selected view. No other DNS servers are used.
  • If the selected view has no dns forwarders, but contains domain name-servers, they are used as forwarders.
  • If the selected view has no dns forwarders or domain name-servers, the query is forwarded as IP broadcast ... unless the selected view is the default view, in which case the first DNS server computed according to the the previous bullet list is used (only one DNS server is used in this case, even if you have configured multiple DNS servers with the ip name-server configuration command).
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Unbundle DNS settings from DHCP client

In one of my previous posts I've been writing about the problems I had when the DHCP client on Cisco IOS was messing up the DNS name-servers I've configured manually with the ip name-server configuration command. As is quite usual in Cisco IOS, there's one more know to turn to fix this - the Configurable DHCP Client feature introduced in IOS release 12.3(8)T.

To stop the router's DHCP client from overwriting the static name-server settings, use the no ip dhcp client request dns-nameserver interface configuration command (you can also exclude a few other DHCP options).
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