RealTime IT News

Room for More in BIND DNS Release

Though DNS , the Domain Name Service that translates domain names into IP addresses, has been in use for 25 years, there is always room for it to improve.

The same is true for BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain), which has been around since 1985 and is widely considered the pre-eminent DNS server.

With the release of BIND 9.5 this week, the open source DNS server takes another step forward with new statistics, improved ActiveDirectory support and support for DHCID (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Information).

The improvements suggest that innovation in DNS marches on, as well as timing. The latest BIND 9.5 follows the BIND 9.4 release by nearly 15 months. Before that, the release between previous versions took about three years.

"We're getting better at release engineering, and we've expanded our engineering staff," ISC president Paul Vixie explained to InternetNews.com. "BIND 9.5 also included several features that were funded through software development contracts, which had specific deadlines."

The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), oversees the development of BIND and offers commercial support services for it.

Among the key improvements in BIND 9.5 is support for DNS within Microsoft's ActiveDirectory. Vixie explained that a user can now use Microsoft clients without a Microsoft ActiveDirectory system, and still get secure dynamic DNS updates through their DHCP service.

"So, anyone with a large Microsoft Windows deployment who wants to use an open source dynamic DNS server for it can finally do so," Vixie said.

BIND 9.5 also provides support for an emerging standard known as DHCID (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Information)

"The new DHCID resource record in DNS is used by high end enterprise and ISP DHCP servers to improve overall DHCP robustness and performance," Vixie explained. "DHCID is not yet in wide scale use, it's very new.

ISC tracks IETF's DNS standards and implements them with sponsorship from the BIND Forum. Now that BIND has DHCID support, the DHCP vendors of the world can start depending on DHCID."

Also on the leading edge of BIND development is what BIND developers have labeled as "experimental http server and statistics support for named via XML."

Vixie explained that the new feature is not like a traditional logging feature but rather it is more like a snapshot of an internal state. It includes, for example, a table of all zones in each view, and status information for each zone. Vixie noted that the ISC expects this data to be consumed primarily by monitoring tools rather than by Web browsers.

"Our experimental HTTP interface is the tip of an iceberg, which we intend eventually to expose more of," Vixie explained. "It's also a preview of the kind of visibility we intend to include in BIND 10 in years to come."

The next BIND release will be the 9.6.0 version. Vixie noted that the current roadmap calls for 9.6.0 by the end of 2008, and it will containing new features around improved security including Signed Dynamic Zones, along with additional statistics and cache improvements.

"There will also be some point releases for 9.3, 9.4, and 9.5 to ease the deployment problems which always seem to come up," Vixie said. "We also hope to announce the plan for BIND 10 this summer."