Why DNS? Maintaining DNS is essential to scale ops. It’s not as simple as naming servers because each server will have multiple addresses (IPv4, IPv6, teams, bridges, etc) on multiple NICs depending on the systems function and applications. Plus, Errors in DNS are hard to diagnose.
I love talking about the small Ops things that make a huge impact in quality of automation. Things like automatically building a squid proxy cache infrastructure.
Today, I get to rave about the DNS integration that just surfaced in the OpenCrowbar code base. RackN CTO, Greg Althaus, just completed work that incrementally updates DNS entries as new IPs are added into the system.
Why is that a big deal? There are a lot of names & IPs to manage.
In physical ops, every time you bring up a physical or virtual network interface, you are assigning at least one IP to that interface. For OpenCrowbar, we are assigning two addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. Servers generally have 3 or more active interfaces (e.g.: BMC, admin, internal, public and storage) so that’s a lot of references. It gets even more complex when you factor in DNS round robin or other common practices.
Plus mistakes are expensive. Name resolution is an essential service for operations.
I know we all love memorizing IPv4 addresses (just wait for IPv6!) so accurate naming is essential. OpenCrowbar already aligns the address 4th octet (Admin .106 goes to the same server as BMC .106) but that’s not always practical or useful. This is not just a Day 1 problem – DNS drift or staleness becomes an increasing challenging problem when you have to reallocate IP addresses. The simple fact is that registering IPs is not the hard part of this integration – it’s the flexible and dynamic updates.
What DNS automation did we enable in OpenCrowbar? Here’s a partial list:
- recovery of names and IPs when interfaces and systems are decommissioned
- use of flexible naming patterns so that you can control how the systems are registered
- ability to register names in multiple DNS infrastructures
- ability to understand sub-domains so that you can map DNS by region
- ability to register the same system under multiple names
- wild card support for C-Names
- ability to create a DNS round-robin group and keep it updated
But there’s more! The integration includes both BIND and PowerDNS integrations. Since BIND does not have an API that allows incremental additions, Greg added a Golang service to wrap BIND and provide incremental updates and deletes.
When we talk about infrastructure ops automation and ready state, this is the type of deep integration that makes a difference and is the hallmark of the RackN team’s ops focus with RackN Enterprise and OpenCrowbar.
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