Try these useful BIND tools

When you're administering a Linux network, one of the servers you need to understand is BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain). It's a server that implements Domain Name Service (DNS) on most of the servers on the Internet, and one that you will certainly be using. This tip, which is excerpted from

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Linux Network Administrator's Guide, by Olaf Kirch and Terry Dawson, published by O'Reilly, talks about tools that you can use to administer your BIND server.

There are a few tools that can help you with your tasks as a BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) administrator. We will briefly describe two of them here. Please refer to the documentation that comes with these tools for more information on how to use them.

hstcvt helps you with your initial BIND configuration by converting your /etc/hosts file into master files for named. It generates both the forward (A) and reverse mapping (PTR) entries, and takes care of aliases. Of course, it won't do the whole job for you, as you may still want to tune the timeout values in the SOA record, for example, or add MX records. Still, it may help you save a few aspirins. hostcvt is part of the BIND source, but can also be found as a standalone package on a few Linux FTP servers. [For example, you can find it at sources.isc.org/network/utils/hostcvt.txt.]

After setting up your name server, you may want to test your configuration. Some good tools that make this job much simpler: the first is called dnswalk, which is a Perl-based package. The second is called nslint. They both walk your DNS database looking for common mistakes and verify that the information they find is consistent. Two other useful tools are host and dig, which are general-purpose DNS database query tools. You can use these tools to manually inspect and diagnose DNS database entries.

These tools are likely to be available in prepackaged form. Dnswalk and nslint are available in source from www.visi.com/˜barr/dnswalk/. The host and dig source can be found at ftp://ftp.nikhef.nl/pub/network, and ftp://ftp.is.co.za/networking/ip/dns/dig/.

For more information about Linux Network Administrator's Guide, or to buy this book, click here.

This was first published in August 2003

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