A DNS realization

March 12, 2006

One thing I did today was set up DNS for a hostname that we may need to re-point elsewhere very rapidly. This caused me to realize something important:

Setting low TTLs doesn't mean squat if you can't cause secondaries to reload on command.

Low TTLs mean that people will re-query A records frequently, but that doesn't help me change where the traffic is going if my secondaries haven't updated to my new set of A records. Unfortunately, none of the secondaries for our domains are under my control, and at least one of them doesn't act on DNS notifications.

The way around this problem is to make a subzone without secondary nameservers. Fortunately I could pick a more or less arbitrary hostname. (Even if you can't pick an arbitrary hostname I suppose you can usually make the fixed name a CNAME into a new subzone.)

I'm glad that I realized the impending problem while I was sitting around drumming my fingers as I waited for the secondaries to pick up the just-added hostname. Running into it during a frantic attempt to shuffle traffic destinations would have been un-fun.

Written on 12 March 2006.
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Last modified: Sun Mar 12 22:51:00 2006
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