DNS is a hierarchical system for identifying hosts on the Internet or on a private, corporate TCP/IP internetwork. The Domain Name System (DNS) provides:
The DNS namespace is hierarchical in structure, beginning with the root domain, which branches to top-level domains, then second-level domains, and so on to the individual host name.
For example, the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) barney.northwind.microsoft.com can be broken down as follows:
The root domain has a null label and is not expressed in the FQDN.
Graphic D-36. Domain Name System (DNS).
The DNS is implemented as a distributed database using name servers located at various points on the Internet. Clients called resolvers can perform name lookups by contacting these name servers, which resolve host names into IP addresses. In Microsoft Windows NT and UNIX BIND name servers, the DNS database of host name to IP address mappings must be created manually by entering resource records for each host that needs to be resolved. In Windows 2000, the new dynamic update can be used to register host names automatically, and zone information can be stored and replicated using Active Directory.
Each name server on the Internet is responsible for a subset of the DNS namespace known as a zone of authority. Each zone of authority can consist of one or more domains and subdomains. The most important name servers on the Internet are the dozen or so root name servers, which are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of the domain name system. These root name servers are maintained mostly by the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) and by U.S. military agencies (because the Internet evolved from the ARPANET project of the U.S. Defense Department in the 1970s).
A name server can function in one of four roles in the DNS:
Although DNS is used mainly for the Internet, large private TCP/IP internetworks can also use DNS internally with their own name servers. The main advantage of doing this is that host names are friendlier than IP addresses. On smaller TCP/IP networks, hosts files can be used instead of DNS, while on Windows NT–based networks, Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) is often used for NetBIOS name resolution. Windows NT Server has an installable service called the Microsoft DNS Service, which allows Windows NT servers to function as name servers called DNS servers.
The DNS is also an essential part of Active Directory in Windows 2000. Active Directory uses the DNS to resolve domain names into IP addresses. However, it can also use non-DNS naming conventions to locate objects in the directory. These other naming conventions include
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