Aardvark Daily
DNS mix-up affects NZ domains
Copyright © 1997 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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18 Nov 1997

According to Patrick O'Brien of the ISCONZ Registry Domainz, up to two hundred recently registered NZ domains may have been affected by a snafu that occured recently when changes were made to the configuration of the DNS (Domain Name Service) at Waikato.

Peter Mott of 2Day Internet, one of New Zealand's most active domain name registration organisations identified the problem yesterday and, according to O'Brien, has probably been in effect for several weeks, ever since the DNS was reconfigured.

Xtra and ClearNet users were most likely to have noticed the problems because it appears that these ISPs failed to update their systems to reflect the changes made at Waikato.

In essence, Xtra and Clear were added to the list of "secondary" name-servers used by the NZ DNS and the role of primary server was shifted from a machine called NS1 to one called NS99. All the organisations running secondary servers (Xtra, Clear, NASA and Victoria University) were notified by email of the change, however Xtra and Clear failed to update their systems.

The result of this is that the information carried by ClearNet and Xtra was being obtained from the old server (NS1) which was no longer current. The new domains registered since the reconfiguration were not being received by the servers at Clear and Xtra - meaning that those sites were often reported as "non-existant" when Net users tried to access them.

O'Brien says that the change was made in order to provide the DNS with extra redundancy within New Zealand and overseas, and that Clear and Xtra were chosen because they provided different paths around NZ and out of the country.

As is so often the case with DNS problems - it appears that the cause of this failure ultimately boils down to the human factor.

A fix was implemented yesterday afternoon around 4:00pm and the new domains should have become visible within 3-4 hours.

Mott says "we understand that Xtra and clear were chosen on the basis of connectivity - our view is that competence should be the first critereon and it's well known that larger providers are not necessarily the most competent."

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