DNS Aliases conk out

Hi folks,

I have an internal DNS Server. It's running on Windows 2003 Server, although this problem was happening when it was on 2000 Server as well.

There are a bunch of hosts (A) in there, and several aliases (CNAME) as well. The A records seem to always work, however; the aliases will stop responding on a fairly regular basis. Maybe 3 times a week, a query for any alias will start failing. This happens to a handful of users, although I suspect that others just don't mention it. It doesn't happen to everyone at the same time, so it's not strictly a server problem. I know it has to do with client/server interaction.

I've found that issueing "ipconfig /registerdns" fixes the problem immediately. I'm running Win2K Pro SP4.

I suspected negative caching, but I don't need to flush the cache to fix it, just the registerdns (maybe this flushes the cache as well....). I know I can turn off negative caching, but I can't remember how (that's not what the points are for!).

Any ideas?
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It seems to me that the negative caching is not the source of problems at all (presuming there is no changes made in resource records in your DNS). Even though, I am not very familiar with Windows 2003 DNS server, it seems to be a problem of DNS updates in regard with your DHCP-assigned ip-addresses.
If it is not a must to have a dynamically-assigned DNS names with accordance with DHCP, the best option is to turn the feature off and use traditional, static DNS.
Do you have more than one DNS server configured for the clients?  Is the DNS resolver order looking at your Win2K3 DNS server as primary?  How many C records do you have for each A record, and are they frequently changed?  Is this a DDNS issue rather than a straight DNS issue?
JammyPakAuthor Commented:
Some responses:

1) I have a static IP address, so DHCP isn't my issue
2) I have two DNS servers configured, but my internal server is my primary one.
3) For some servers, there are 3 or 4 aliases, but the aliases are static - ie. I added them manually and they don't change.

thanks so far!
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John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
What are the CNAME entries for?  I would suggest if this is an Internet site to go to www.dnsreport.com and make sure they check out...  CNAME entries can be incorrectly done and cause problems just like you are stating.

JammyPakAuthor Commented:
This is an internal DNS server, and the aliases are only 'visible' internally....dnsreport.com can't help me.
John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
can you show how you have your records set up>?
JammyPakAuthor Commented:
Forward-lookup zone company.com

sam   Host(A)
cvs    Alias (CNAME)  sam.company.com.
ntp    Alias (CNAME)  sam.company.com.
intranet     Alias (CNAME)  sam.company.com.
dbm   Host(A)
issue    Alias (CNAME)  dbm.company.com.
project    Alias (CNAME)  dbm.company.com.
time    Alias (CNAME)  dbm.company.com.
There seems no problem with the actual records.
In my opinion, you have to make sure that the zone company.com _does not_ allow for any dynamic updates whatsoever - this might be a solution for your problem.

This isn't strictly the correct comment, but we've had the same problem too.

Have you got anywhere with it JammyPak?

John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
Are your clients set up with any other DNS servers besides the internal ones?
JammyPakAuthor Commented:
Adam: no, I haven't gotten anywhere with this yet....it still happens sporadically and to different users.

dimante: yes, right now they have an internal primary (which has the aliases in it) and the secondary is an external server. The strange thing is that it's not the internal host records that stop responding - just the aliases. So, it seems like I'm still using the internal DNS server when the failure starts happening.

This is quite an annoying problem, since it seems like everything is set up by the book....and yet I haven't seen other people reporting this problem (except you Adam!)

John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
Here is what I would suggest.  Use no external DNS servers on your clients.  Have your internal dns server forward to the external DNS server for queries it can't resolve.  I think this will solve your problem.


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JammyPakAuthor Commented:
This *seems* to be working....it was an intermittent problem, and it hasn't happened in a while now, so maybe it's fixed.

II would still be very interested in knowing the *why* behind it...
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