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DNS Design Goals Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
DNS Design Goals

Up: Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
Up: Programmed Instruction Course
Up: Section 2 - Domain Naming
Prev: RFC 1034
Next: Elements of DNS

DNS Design Goals

DNS Design Goals To get a better understanding of DNS, we'll read some parts of RFC 1034, starting with its Introduction.


The design goals of the DNS influence its structure. They are:

  • The primary goal is a consistent name space which will be used for referring to resources. In order to avoid the problems caused by ad hoc encodings, names should not be required to contain network identifiers, addresses, routes, or similar information as part of the name.

  • The sheer size of the database and frequency of updates suggest that it must be maintained in a distributed manner, with local caching to improve performance. Approaches that attempt to collect a consistent copy of the entire database will become more and more expensive and difficult, and hence should be avoided. The same principle holds for the structure of the name space, and in particular mechanisms for creating and deleting names; these should also be distributed.

  • Where there tradeoffs between the cost of acquiring data, the speed of updates, and the accuracy of caches, the source of the data should control the tradeoff.

  • The costs of implementing such a facility dictate that it be generally useful, and not restricted to a single application. We should be able to use names to retrieve host addresses, mailbox data, and other as yet undetermined information. All data associated with a name is tagged with a type, and queries can be limited to a single type.

  • Because we want the name space to be useful in dissimilar networks and applications, we provide the ability to use the same name space with different protocol families or management. For example, host address formats differ between protocols, though all protocols have the notion of address. The DNS tags all data with a class as well as the type, so that we can allow parallel use of different formats for data of type address.

  • We want name server transactions to be independent of the communications system that carries them. Some systems may wish to use datagrams for queries and responses, and only establish virtual circuits for transactions that need the reliability (e.g., database updates, long transactions); other systems will use virtual circuits exclusively.

  • The system should be useful across a wide spectrum of host capabilities. Both personal computers and large timeshared hosts should be able to use the system, though perhaps in different ways.


Next: Elements of DNS

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
DNS Design Goals

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