ICANN calls for redundant Internet name servers

The organization that oversees the Internet Domain Name System wants top-level domains such as .gov and .mil to double up on their DNS servers, placing them on different networks and in different locations.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has issued a DNS infrastructure recommendation to clarify server architectures for root and top-level domain services. DNS requires that zone administrators run two independent servers to answer domain name queries, so that if one fails, the other can still deliver information. The new recommendation stipulates that each server be in a different location and on a separate network for better security.

The General Services Administration, at www.nic.gov/index.html, manages DNS servers for the .gov domain. The .mil domain is managed by the Defense Department Network Information Center, http://www.nic.mil. The .us domain, used by most states, is managed by NeuStar Inc. of Sterling, Va.

These servers respond to queries from the Net's 13 root domain name servers, at http://www.root-servers.org. U.S. federal offices operate three of those servers: the Army Research Laboratory, the Network Information Center and NASA's Ames Research Center. The University of Maryland also runs a root server.

'The thing that triggered this recommendation was a review of the procedures the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] was using when it received a request to change an entry in the root zone,' said Steve Crocker, who chairs the ICANN security committee.

ICANN, a not-for-profit corporation, administers the Internet name and address system. IANA oversees IP address allocation.


About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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