Feeds

ICANN tweaks root DNS server

Please update your machines. Or not

High performance access to file storage

Attention IT mavens: It's time to update your DNS servers.

Last week, ICANN setup a new IP address for one of the thirteen "root name servers" that oversee DNS queries across the net, and it plans on retiring the old address as soon as the late spring.

It's a rare change to the internet's domain name system that will likely take several years to completely iron out. "These root addresses are, in some ways, the most permanent configuration option on servers across the world," Kim Davies, ICANN's manager of root zone services, told us. "Ultimately, when you renumber one of the root name servers, it needs to be reflected in almost every machine connected to the internet."

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for the root name server dubbed L.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. On November 1, as announced on the official ICANN blog, the organization officially rolled out a new IPv4 address for the server: 199.7.83.42. The old address (198.32.64.12) will be available for at least six months, but ICANN is urging DNS operators to go ahead and update any reference to the address on their own servers.

The change has been made for two reasons. For one, the old IP address wasn't officially under ICANN's control. But more importantly, the organization wanted to make the switch to "any casting," a way of streamlining DNS queries.

Each "root name server" is actually a collection of several physical servers, and with anycasting, ICANN can spread its machines across multiple geographical locations.

"Previously, our root server was just in one location: Los Angeles," Davies explained. "Anycasting allows us to route traffic to the root server more effectively by placing services in multiple countries. It advertises across the network in such a way that users across the planet will always access the root server from the nearest location."

Yes, the likes of Microsoft will rejigger the address on popular DNS software, but many servers will still a manual update. "There are a number of servers out there that either aren't automatically updated or have very old operating systems," Davies said. "Left to their own devices, they will effectively try and connect to the old address forever."

Sort of. Machines trying to connect to the old address after its taken down will automatically try again on one of other twelve root name servers. "Once those machines do connect to a working root server, they'll ask the root for an up-to-date list of IP addresses, and they'll make the change on their own."

So, if you feel like it, you can procrastinate. The net will survive. "DNS is fairly robust," is the last word from ICANN. "We'll be able to self-correct."®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.