Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why DNS is vital for Network Management success - Part 1

DNS (Domain Name System) has been around for many years now, but I still find many customer sites that use IP addresses as identifiers for their IT assets in their management systems.

Is it a bad thing ? Well, if your network is rather organized, IP conventions are in place and the IT organization consists of only a handful of team members, then go ahead and use IP addresses.

However, if you run a medium to large network with many different IT assets, an updated and well maintained DNS is a must. Names make it easier to identify the type of the device, its function and location and can make network troubleshooting much easier.

Here are some examples for device naming conventions (just to give you an idea):  =  Router in NewYork  in Rack 2
fw-dc01 =  Firewall, located in a Data Center numbered as 01
fw-dr01 = Firewall, located in a Data Center numbered as 01

sw-core-nyc01-fl2-r3 = Core switch in NewYork, 2nd Floor, Rack 3

Now, if you have several network management systems in place, DNS becomes even more important. Actually it serves as a "glue" that bonds these systems.

For example you may have a SolarWinds Orion NPM tool that monitors your network for availability and performance, while HP Operations  is the main console of your NOC. Alerts sent from Orion to HP Operations are  meaningful when you have correct DNS names and are understandable to any IT person (not just yourself).

NOC personnel can launch Solarwinds console by right-clicking on an icon or message in HP Operations and vice versa. Same names across the various management systems are allowing this magic to work.

In the second chapter on DNS I will discuss the actual configuration details of a DNS server.

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