Industry milestone: DNS turns 25

* DNS celebrates 25 years as the technology that underpins the Internet

The Domain Name System turned 25 last week. The anniversary of the technology that underpins the Internet -- and prevents Web surfers from having to type a string of numbers when looking for their favorite sites -- reminded how network managers can't afford to overlook even the smallest of details.

The Domain Name System turned 25 last week. 

Paul Mockapetris is credited with creating DNS 25 years ago and successfully tested the technology in June 1983, according to several sources.

The anniversary of the technology that underpins the Internet -- and prevents Web surfers from having to type a string of numbers when looking for their favorite sites -- reminds us how network managers can't afford to overlook even the smallest of details. Now in all honesty, DNS has been on my mind lately because of a recent film that used DNS and network technology in its plot, but savvy network managers have DNS on the mind daily.

DNS is often referred to as the phone book for the Internet, it matches the IP address with a name and makes sure people and devices requesting an address actually arrive at the right place. And if the servers hosting DNS are configured wrong, networks can be susceptible to downtime and attacks, such as DNS poisoning

And in terms of managing networks, DNS has become a critical part of many IT organization's IP address management strategies. And with voice-over-IP and wireless technologies ramping up the number of IP addresses that need to be managed, IT staff are learning they need to also ramp up their IP address management efforts. Companies such as Whirlpool are on top of IP address management projects, but industry watchers say not all IT shops have that luxury. (Learn more about IP ADDRESS MANAGEMENT products from our IP ADDRESS MANAGEMENT Buyer's Guide)

"IP address management sometimes gets pushed to the back burner because a lot of times the business doesn't see the immediate benefit -- until something goes wrong," says Larry Burton, senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates.

And the way people are doing IP address management today won't hold up under the proliferation of new devices, an update to the Internet Protocol (from IPv4 to IPv6) and the compliance requirements that demand detailed data on IP addresses.

"IP address management for a lot of IT shops today is manual and archaic. It is now how most would say to manage a critical network service," says Robert Whiteley, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. "Network teams need to fix how they approach IP address management to be considered up to date."

And those looking to overhaul their approach to IP address management might want to consider migrating how they do DNS and DHCP services as well. While the technology functions can be conducted with separate platforms -- albeit integration among them is a must -- some experts say while updating how they manage IP addresses, network managers should also take a look at their DNS and DHCP infrastructure.

"Some people think of IP address management as the straight up managing of IP addresses and others incorporate the DNS/DHCP infrastructure, says Lawrence Orans, research director at Gartner. "If you are updating how you manage IPs it's a good time to also see if how you are doing DNS and DHCP needs an update."

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