Correspondence between the IAB and DISA on the use of DNS
RFC 1401

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 1993; No errata)
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Network Working Group                        Internet Architecture Board
Request for Comments: 1401                           Lyman Chapin, Chair
                                                            January 1993

         Correspondence between the IAB and DISA on the use of
                      DNS throughout the Internet

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   This memo reproduces three letters exchanged between the Internet
   Activities Board (IAB) and the Defense Information Systems Agency
   (DISA) regarding the importance of using the Domain Name System (DNS)
   throughout the Internet, and phasing out the use of older host name
   to address tables, such as "hosts.txt".

IAB                                                             [Page 1]
RFC 1401            IAB & DISA Correspondence on DNS        January 1993

1.  Letter from the IAB to DISA

                                                   30 March, 1992

   To: Members of the Federal Networking Council,
       Members of the Federal Networking Advisory Council,
       Colonel Ken Thomas, Chairman,
           DoD Protocol Standards Steering Group, DISA/Center for

   CC: C. J. Pasquariello, Associate Director, Center for Standards,
       LCDR, David Chappell, Executive Secretary,
           PSSG, DISA/Center for Standards
       Eduardo Schonborn, Dep Director/DDN PMO

   As the IAB, together with others in the Internet Engineering and
   Research Task Forces, contemplates the challenges inherent in dealing
   with an exponentially expanding Internet, the critical need for
   widespread adoption of a uniform Domain Name service is very

   The attached memorandum is offered by the Internet Activities Board
   for your consideration regarding technical policy concerning domain
   naming in the US portion of the Internet.  The proposed technical
   policy is recommended world-wide and will be offered as an RFC for
   that purpose.  Adoption of such a policy would, we believe, much
   enhance the operational efficiency of the existing world-wide
   Internet backbone and major networks dependent upon it, including the
   DDN Milnet.

   Your consideration of this policy question is urged in the strongest
   possible terms.  We would much appreciate hearing the views of the
   Protocol Standards Steering Group by April 20, 1992.


   A. Lyman Chapin
   Chairman, Internet Activities Board

IAB                                                             [Page 2]
RFC 1401            IAB & DISA Correspondence on DNS        January 1993


              The Domain Name System is an Internet Necessity

                         Internet Activities Board

                               February 1992

   Over the last several years, the Internet has evolved in size so
   extensively that it has become infeasible to provide directory
   services through a database maintained at a single, central
   repository.  Both the size and the dynamics of the required data make
   such an approach impractical.  Recognizing this problem several years
   ago [1], the Internet community has adopted the Domain Name System
   [2-5] as the principal means of achieving host name to IP address
   mappings.  During this time, almost the entire Internet has converted
   from the use of the static name-to-address mapping tables thus far
   centrally maintained at the DDN Network Information Center, to the
   use of the more dynamic, up-to-date address mapping provided by DNS

   There are still large fractions of the Internet community which rely
   on the use of a centrally-maintained file ("hosts.txt") to accomplish
   this mapping function.  The MILNET community appears to have
   substantial pockets of dependence on table-driven mappings, for
   example.  Although a plan for achieving a MILNET transition to use of
   the Domain Name System was worked out in 1987, the transition is
   incomplete and, as a result, naming services (i.e., host name lookups
   on the MILNET) are many times still provided via static tables rather
   than the distributed, and far more accurate, Domain Name System.
   Ironically, most of the commercial, off-the-shelf software for TCP/IP
   supports the user of the Domain Name System, so a policy of uniform
   support and application of DNS would go a long way toward improving
   the Defense Department data communication infrastructure, insofar as
   it is dependent on TCP/IP to interconnect hosts on LANs and WANs.

   The use of different means for name-to-address mappings by different
   parties in the network community leads to unsynchronized and
   inconsistent databases, which inevitably result in reachability
   failures by users attempting to connect to network resources.
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