Promoting slave to master DNS server with dynamic updates

Eric.BERTHIAUME.external at Eric.BERTHIAUME.external at
Thu Sep 11 08:48:47 UTC 2014

Hello DNS gurus,

New on the list, I’ve been tasked by my manager to revamp our dns infrastructure.  I think this list is the best place to get answers.

Bind 9.3.6-16 running on RHEL5.7

Right now everything run’s on manually editing zone files but we have recently integrated vmware orchestrator (automatic deployment of linux vm’s) in the mix and that complicates things for automated processes.  Add Autosys to this and you have one big messy DNS infrastructure and of course no team wants to change their work flows (classic).

So I’ve written a basic script that would allow everyone (admin’s, vmware, autosys) to use dynamic updates with nsupdate for all tasks.  Everything works dandy but a simple question remains:

If the primary goes down for whatever reason, how can we quickly continue to update our DNS records on the secondary?  What are the options?

-          Classic slave/master change manually editing the named.conf?  What happens to everything in the jnl file on the master if it crashes before the dump and zone transfer?  Lost?

-          Nsupdate special ninja trick?  Read something about updating the SOA through dynamic update but didn’t fully understand that process.

-          Pray that we get the primary up?

The last option would normally be the logical choice but like I said our DNS infrastructure is a mess and those autosys process control DNS records for their “failover” feature (yeah I know) so we need a super-lightning-fast switch if we do not want production to stop.

Of course the best solution would be something automatic but I haven’t seen anything anywhere.  If it’s manual so be it maybe I would be able to write a script that could be used by support and minimize human errors.
I’m already at least pushing for a more recent bind version and of course if a special feature exist (maybe I’ve missed it) that provides an easier solution that would be a super argument to push for something with more features.

Thanks in advance.


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