Using a fail safe DNS record


we have an DNS hosts statically set in our forward lookup zone

if the ip address of this server is down, is there a way to use a second IP address as a failsafe?

many thanks
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Chris DentConnect With a Mentor PowerShell DeveloperCommented:

DNS doesn't do automatic fail-over on Name Records I'm afraid.

The functionality it does have is Round Robin, where it will alternate (or loop through) the responses it gives to a query. It doesn't much care if the server in question is up or down.

To achieve fail-over on this in DNS you would have to manually change the Record to reflect the new IP. However, there are programs around that can do this for you, so it's not necessarily as manual as it seems.

When using that method you should be aware of the TTL (Time To Live) value for a Record. This is a time, in seconds, that a Client or remote DNS Server will remember the answer to the query. The client or server will use that Remembered value until the TTL expires. For fail-over to work in the method described above it is important that the TTL is set to a low value (such as 15 minutes, or 900 seconds).

As for the programs that do this, I've never used one so cannot recommend any specifically, so these are only here as examples and you would have to evaluate each dependant on your requirements:


setup a secondary DNS server and make the first DNS as your master.
shskAuthor Commented:
but the first DNS server is still gong to give a positive response of "yes i have an ip address and it is"

it will not be able to sense the actual link isnt there
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shskAuthor Commented:
i thought as much

i was thinking of scripting thismyself.

using the win32_pingstatus and dnscmd

thank you!
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

You're welcome. I hope you get it all sorted out.

hey Karl,

microsoft thought otherwise which I share their view about secondary DNS server.

Is this what you want?

if a primary server is unavailable, a secondary server can provide some name resolution in the zone until the primary server is available.


Sometimes, sticking with the fundamental help us solve our requirement.
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Hey mcse2007,

As far as I understood the question it wasn't redundancy on the Name Servers that was needed.

Rather it was fail-over on a Host (A) Record within a zone (something a Web Server would need, for example), which unfortunately cannot be provided within DNS (as an option).

The only elements of fail-over are MX Records, Service Records and NS Records. Each of those is handled by the client or requester, DNS doesn't tailor it's response based on the state of the Service.

To clarify slightly, I should have written this:

> DNS doesn't do automatic fail-over on Name Records I'm afraid.


> DNS doesn't do automatic fail-over on Host Records I'm afraid.

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