What is the Internet Domain Name System

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Name Research                                                 W. Manning
INTERNET-DRAFT                                               UA partners
Intended Status: Informational
Expires: April 5, 2017                                  October 5, 2016

                      What is the Internet Domain Name System

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The DNS work inside the IETF has suffered from mission-creep since a 
clear scoping of what was DNS and what was not has not been easy to 
find. This document attempts to clarify what is within scope of DNS 
work and what is not.

1. What is the Internet Domain Name System (DNS)?

The DNS was created to provide a scalable system for providing a 
mapping between the name of an instance and the location or address 
of that instance usually for other applications use [RFC830]. It has 
three essential elements; an ephemeral namespace, servers which 
instantiate the namespace; a suite of protocols that allow a client 
or resolver to ask the servers questions about the namespace.   

All three of these are required to say that the system is or is part 
of DNS.  A fourth presumption is that there is always on, always 
connected reachability across the DNS namespace.

The suite of protocols used between resolvers and servers, as well as 
server and cache behaviour are within the purview of the IETF and its 
working groups.

The Namespace is designed as an inverted tree, with a single root 
context per protocol.  Although other protocols and domain name systems 
were envisioned at the outset, today they are primarily vestigial, at 
least as far as the IETF is concerned.  There is a single root, and one 
namespace for the Internet DNS, as far as the IETF is concerned.  

Traditionally, the IETF did not concern itself with the contents of the 
namespace, leaving the management of the delegation points to the zone 
maintainers, since this was always going to be a matter of local 

These four constructs, in unison, have created the global Internet DNS, 
as we know it.  However, the tools are so useful, others have borrowed 
from them for other work. Recently other domain name systems have 
emerged, as predicted 35 years ago, but they do not meet the critera 
for the Internet DNS.

2. What is NOT (strictly) the DNS.

It is possible, and has been implemented for decades, to change out 
parts of the DNS namespace for ones own version. RFC 1035 2.2 clearly 
suggests a goal is transport agility, but the use of a single, common, 
namespace. [RFC1035] Split-DNS enables DNS-like services for private 
spaces not connected to the Internet.  Often these private namespaces 
augment the Internet namespace with other, non-Internet names.  As far 
as the servers and resolvers are concerned, they still use the default 
DNS protocols.  It is hard to tell if one is or is not using the DNS 
or a facsimile just from the resolver side.

Others want to use the DNS namespace, but invent their own protocols 
for server/resolver communication. These can be viewed as a domain 
name system, but not an Internet DNS. Some want to change out the 
concept of servers/resolvers, but use the namespace. 

NONE of these hybrids is Internet DNS.  They are DNS-like, some are 
parasitic some are symbiotic, but they are not Internet DNS.

It is a mistake for the IETF to treat these non-DNS issues as Internet 
DNS related and it is a mistake for the IETF to get involved in 
dictating to zone maintainers what labels they may or may not chose 
to put into their delegations as long as the communications protocols 
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