Book review: DNS in Action – A Detailed And Practical Guide to Dns Implementation, Configuration, And Administration

by on July 9, 2006 · 4 comments· LAST UPDATED March 16, 2007

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Update (Mar-15-2007, 3:01 PM, IST): The book content has not been updated and it is outdated now. I recommend following books if you want to get latest and updated version:

=> DNS and BIND - The fifth edition covers BIND 9.3.2, the most recent release of the BIND 9 series, as well as BIND 8.4.7. BIND 9.3.2 contains further improvements in security and IPv6 support, and important new features such as internationalized domain names, ENUM (electronic numbering), and SPF (the Sender Policy Framework). Whether you're an administrator involved with DNS on a daily basis or a user who wants to be more informed about the Internet and how it works, you'll find that this book is essential reading.

*** Outdated book : This post is archived ***
DNS (domain name system/server) is lifeline for internet and internet based applications. IP addresses are difficult to remember, so we use DNS to translate the domain name (such as theos.in) to IP address (such as 208.109.102.89) or vise-versa.

The book DNS in Action is a guide to DNS implementation, os specific configuration, and administration. This is a practical book for new sys admin and network architects about how to run and configure DNS. Libor Dostalek and Alana Kabelova has done a good work to put together complicated topic such as DNS and its implementation. The entire book is divided into ten chapters.

Chapter 1: Domain Name System
We humans take advantage of DNS whenever possible by using terms URLs and e-mail addresses. The first chapter explains the basis of DNS and its principles. This chapter talks about domain name, zones, reverse domains & IPS etc. It also covers how DNS server and queries works (resolver). The end of chapter explains the name server and describes name server types. Every major concept is also illustrated using a diagram which makes your concept clear.

Chapter 2: DNS Protocol
DNS server stores information (such as IP and domain names) as Resource Records (PR). This chapter explains the PR records and DNS protocol in details such as:
=> DNS query packer format and headers (good for troubleshooting)
=> Question section
=> Authoritative servers etc
At the end of this chapter you will find lots of practical examples of DNS queries such as PR queries, communication with a root server etc using standard UNIX and Windows utilities.

Chapter 3: DNS Extension
First two chapters talk about the basis of DNS that every DNS implementation should support. This chapter talks about DNS extensions such as IPv6 support, security (IPsec and TSIG), DNS update, negative caching, DNS notify etc. These extensions make your life more secure with DNS servers.

Chapter 4: Name server implementation
The actual implementation (configuration) for UNIX and Windows server environment is covered in this chapter. The basic configuration is covered for BIND v4.0. Later on it also covers latest BIND version 8/9. It also covers Microsoft’s native implementation of DNS in Windows 2000/2003.

Chapter 5: Tools for DNS debugging and Administration
Now you know the DNS principals and you have implemented DNS. Neutrally next logical step is to learn DNS debugging and administration (aka troubleshooting). Chapter 5 discusses the tools such as nslookup, dig, dnswalk & others, and talks about how to handle common configuration issues. It also covers how to use rndc to control remote DNS server.

Chapter 6: Domain Delegation and Registration
Domain delegation allows to setup primary and secondary name servers. You will learn how to register TLDs and CTLDs and setup your own name servers to handle these domains. This chapter is useful for people working in an ISP or web hosting environments.

Chapter 7: Reverse Domain Delegation
A reverse transliation is the mapping of an IP address to a domain name. Without reverse domain delegation many internet service will not work properly. For example your email may be considered as a spam if a domain does not have a reverse IP address. This chapter talks about configuration issues related to reverse domain delegation.

Chapter 8: Internet Registry
If you would like to learn more about Internet Registry which is responsible for assigning IP address and domain registration, then this the perfect chapter for you. If you are going to setup your own ISP or web hosting company this chapter will help you out.

Chapter 9: DNS in Closed Intranets
This one talks about DNS in closed large scale Intranets. It covers how to handle common configuration and error issues.

Chapter 10: DNS and Firewall
Last chapter covers DNS server from firewall point of view. Problems can arise with the firewall and you will learn how to solve common problem. It does not covers actual iptables or ACL rules but it gives you lots hints to avoid problems.

Final note

A perfect book for all DNS sys admin / network architects out there. I highly recommended this book for three simple reasons:

  • Covers wild verity of topics - The DNS protocol and implementation, DNS troubleshooting and advanced topics such as Domain delegation, firewall etc.
  • Authors experience - While reading this book I noticed the experience of authors who wrote this book. They have successfully explained complicated topic and concepts in simple language.
  • Examples - Working examples and illustrations makes your idea clear.

Summery

  • Book title: Dns in Action: A Detailed And Practical Guide to Dns Implementation, Configuration, And Administration
  • Author: L. Dostalek and A. Kabelova
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing
  • Pub Date: February 2006
  • ISBN: 1904811787
  • Pages: 196
  • Level of experience needed: Beginners/Intermediate sys admin/network architects
  • Who will find useful: ISP/WSP staff, sys admin, network architects (a working knowledge of TCP/IP protocols is presumed)
  • Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) : No
  • Sample chapter(s): Domain Name System
  • Our rating: ****+ (4/5)

[* Poor | ** Average | *** Fine | **** Must have ]

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John July 20, 2006 at 12:47 pm

This book is totally out of date. The section on DNSSEC is obsolete and it is full of mentions of BIND 4!! Even the examples appear (from the datestamps) to be 5 years old.

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2 nixCraft July 20, 2006 at 3:29 pm

The book which I received has the examples of BIND 4 as well as 8/9 (both having 1 example only) and it says first published on 2006. Some examples do have old serial numbers though.

However as I said earlier this book will help you to understand the DNS protocol and implementation, DNS troubleshooting etc.

If you need up to date BIND 9 specify book get – DNS and BIND, 5th Ed, Oreilly publication (or DNS cook book is also good one).

Reply

3 John July 20, 2006 at 4:55 pm

It will not help anyone understand the DNS protocol. As I said before it is totally out of date. The DNSSEC section refers to RFC 2535. This is now obsolete and has been replaced by RFCs 4033-4035. This occured at least 1 year before the english publication of the book.

As for implementation – Any book that still talks about BIND 4 is not worth reading.

From what I can tell the book was first written in 2001 published in the Czech language in 2003 and then translated in to english and republished this year.

Reply

4 Defender January 2, 2008 at 12:19 am

Me need it. Thanks for advance!

Reply

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