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Review of Development of the Domain Name System By Holly Esquivel

Summary: Review of Development of the Domain Name System
By Holly Esquivel
The authors of this paper describe the process which was used to develop the original DNS. They
explain that the naming systems: HOSTS.TXT, XEROX and Clearinghouse, all had weaknesses
in their design which made the authors of DNS uncomfortable with expanding existing systems
for a new naming system. They wanted a naming system which contained all of the HOSTS.TXT
information, but without size limits. They also wanted it to be independent of network topology,
and apply to a range of OSes and architectures.
DNS was then created with two different architectural components known as name servers and
resolvers. They created a name space in which entries were case-insensitive, and the name space
was created using a tree-like structure. This allowed for organizations to consider themselves
roots and be incharge of their own local name spaces, while keeping the structure simple enough
that there was understanding of how top level root(organizations) servers could communicate
with each other. DNS created the idea of zones, which was a contiguous section of the name
space, and the use of caching to help retrieve commonly used records more quickly and
The authors of the paper explain that there were many weaknesses in the new system that they
didn't expect. They knew there could be multiple entries for a single host, but they had no
mechanism in which they sorted these entries. Performance was also hindered by unanticipated


Source: Akella, Aditya - Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin at Madison


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences