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Published by: dige83 on Sep 05, 2010
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How DNS Works
Updated: March 28, 2003 
How DNS WorksIn this section
Domain Name System (DNS) is thedefault name resolution service usedin a Microsoft Windows Server 2003network. DNS is part of the WindowsServer 2003 TCP/IP protocol suite andall TCP/IP network connections are,by default, configured with the IPaddress of at least one DNS server in order to perform name resolutionon the network. Windows Server 2003 components that require nameresolution will attempt to use this DNS server before attempting to usethe previous default Windows name resolution service, WindowsInternet Name Service (WINS). Typically, Windows Server 2003 DNS is deployed in support of ActiveDirectory directory service. In this environment, DNS namespacesmirror the Active Directory forests and domains used by anorganization. Network hosts and services are configured with DNSnames so that they can be located in the network, and they are alsoconfigured with DNS servers that resolve the names of Active Directorydomain controllers.Windows Server 2003 DNS is also commonly deployed as a non-ActiveDirectory, or standard, Domain Name System solution, for thepurposes of hosting the Internet presence of an organization, forexample. Top of page
DNS Architecture
DNS architecture is a hierarchical distributed database and anassociated set of protocols that define:•A mechanism for querying and updating the database.•A mechanism for replicating the information in the database amongDNS Architecture DNS Protocol DNS Physical Structure DNS Processes andInteractions Network Ports Used By DNS Related Information 
servers.•A schema of the database.DNS originated in the early days of the Internet when the Internet wasa small network established by the United States Department of Defense for research purposes. The host names of the computers inthis network were managed through the use of a single HOSTS filelocated on a centrally administered server. Each site that needed toresolve host names on the network downloaded this file. As thenumber of hosts on the Internet grew, the traffic generated by theupdate process increased, as well as the size of the HOSTS file. Theneed for a new system, which would offer features such as scalability,decentralized administration, support for various data types, becamemore and more obvious. The Domain Name System introduced in 1984 became this newsystem. With DNS, the host names reside in a database that can bedistributed among multiple servers, decreasing the load on any oneserver and providing the ability to administer this naming system on aper-partition basis. DNS supports hierarchical names and allowsregistration of various data types in addition to host name to IPaddress mapping used in HOSTS files. Because the DNS database isdistributed, its potential size is unlimited and performance is notdegraded when more servers are added. The original DNS was based on Request for Comment (RFC) 882(“Domain Names: Concepts and Facilities”) and RFC 883 (DomainNames–Implementation and Specification), which were superseded byRFC 1034 (“Domain Names–Concepts and Facilities”), and RFC 1035(“Domain Names–Implementation and Specification”). Additional RFCsthat describe DNS security, implementation, and administrative issueslater augmented the original design specifications. The implementation of DNS — Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND)— was originally developed for the 4.3 BSD UNIX Operating System. The Microsoft implementation of DNS became a part of the operatingsystem in Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0. The Windows NT 4.0 DNSserver, like most DNS implementations, has its roots in RFCs 1034 and1035. The RFCs used in Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003operating systems are 1034, 1035, 1886, 1996, 1995, 2136, 2308, and2052.
DNS Domain Names
 The Domain Name System is implemented as a hierarchical anddistributed database containing various types of data, including hostnames and domain names. The names in a DNS database form ahierarchical tree structure called the domain namespace. Domainnames consist of individual labels separated by dots, for example:mydomain.microsoft.com.A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) uniquely identifies the hostsposition within the DNS hierarchical tree by specifying a list of namesseparated by dots in the path from the referenced host to the root. Thenext figure shows an example of a DNS tree with a host calledmydomain within the microsoft.com. domain. The FQDN for the hostwould be mydomain.microsoft.com
Understanding the DNS Domain Namespace
 The DNS domain namespace, as shown in the following figure, is basedon the concept of a tree of named domains. Each level of the tree canrepresent either a branch or a leaf of the tree. A branch is a levelwhere more than one name is used to identify a collection of namedresources. A leaf represents a single name used once at that level toindicate a specific resource.
DNS Domain Name Hierarchy

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