DNS in Action:
A detailed and practical guide to DNS implementation, configuration, and administration

Libor Dostálek + Alena Kabelová

Packt 2006
A book review by Danny Yee © 2006 http://dannyreviews.com/
After a brief introduction to the domain name system, DNS in Action explains the DNS protocol and its major extensions — DNS Update, DNS Notify, incremental zone transfers, negative caching, IPv6, and common security protocols. The "in action" of the title is justified here by detailed views of DNS packets using tcpdump, and queries using nslookup.

A chapter "Name Server implementation" covers what I would call configuration, working through the format of zone files and the BIND named.conf (with some coverage of BIND 4 and Windows' native name server). There's also a chapter on debugging tools, rndc and signals, and common errors, which delves into the details of debugging output.

There's a brief introduction to domain delegation and registration, reverse domain delegation, and internet registries. And DNS in Action finishes with chapters on DNS in intranets and the use of DNS with firewalls. The only padding is an eight page appendix listing country codes and regional internet registries.

DNS in Action is much too fast-moving for newcomers to the domain name system — five pages in, for example, it's already talking about reverse lookups for "classless" IP addresses. And it's not a good reference: it has a limited index and it is not comprehensive — there's no mention of some BIND options, for example, or of ways of generating serial numbers, while some material seems dated. Another problem is that, while it's mostly clearly written, there are many places where it's obvious that the authors' first language isn't English and the editing has failed to catch mistakes.

Despite these limitations, I enjoyed DNS in Action. It takes a different approach to the other books on the subject and I would recommend it for those who already have a solid understanding of the DNS and want a slightly different perspective on it.

September 2006

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- register your domains at PairNIC
Related reviews:
- books about networking
%T DNS in Action
%S A detailed and practical guide to DNS implementation, configuration, and administration
%A Dostálek, Libor
%A Kabelová, Alena
%I Packt
%D 2006
%O paperback, index
%G ISBN 1904811787
%P 183pp