What does a DNS server do?
A DNS server provides name resolution for TCP/IP-based networks. That is, it makes it possible for users of client computers to use names rather than numeric IP addresses to identify remote hosts. A client computer sends the name of a remote host to a DNS server, which responds with the corresponding IP address. The client computer can then send messages directly to the remote host's IP address. If the DNS server does not have an entry in its database for the remote host, it can respond to the client with the address of a DNS server that is more likely to have information about that remote host, or it can query the other DNS server itself. This process can take place recursively until either the client computer receives the IP address or it is established that the queried name does not belong to a host within the specific DNS namespace.
The DNS server in the Windows Server® 2008 operating system complies with the set of Requests for Comments (RFCs) that define and standardize the DNS protocol. Because the DNS Server service is RFC-compliant and it can use standard DNS data file and resource record formats, it can work successfully with most other DNS server implementations, such as DNS implementations that use the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) software.
In addition, the DNS server in Windows Server 2008 provides the following special benefits in a Windows®-based network:
•Support for Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS)
DNS is required for support of AD DS. If you install the Active Directory Domain Services role on a server, you can automatically install and configure a DNS server if a DNS server that meets AD DS requirements cannot be located.
DNS zones can be stored in the domain or application directory partitions of AD DS. A partition is a data container in AD DS that distinguishes data for different replication purposes. You can specify in which Active Directory partition to store the zone and, consequently, the set of domain controllers among which that zone's data will be replicated.
In general, use of the Windows Server 2008 DNS Server service is strongly recommended for the best possible integration and support of AD DS and enhanced DNS server features. You can, however, use another type of DNS server to support AD DS deployment.
DNS running on Windows Server 2008 supports a zone type called a stub zone. A stub zone is a copy of a zone that contains only the resource records that are necessary to identify the authoritative DNS servers for that zone. A stub zone keeps a DNS server hosting a parent zone aware of the authoritative DNS servers for its child zone. This helps maintain DNS name-resolution efficiency.
•Integration with other Microsoft networking services
The DNS Server service provides integration with other services, and it contains features that go beyond the features that are specified in the DNS RFCs. These features include integration with other services, such as AD DS, Windows Internet Name Service (WINS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
•Improved ease of administration
The DNS snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) offers a graphical user interface (GUI) for managing the DNS Server service. Also, there are several configuration wizards for performing common server administration tasks. In addition to the DNS console, other tools are provided to help you better manage and support DNS servers and clients on your network.
•RFC-compliant dynamic update protocol support
Clients can use the DNS Server service to dynamically update resource records, based on the dynamic update protocol (RFC 2136). This improves DNS administration by reducing the time needed to manage these records manually. Computers running the DNS Client service can register their DNS names and IP addresses dynamically. In addition, the DNS Server service and DNS clients can be configured to perform secure dynamic updates, a capability that enables only authenticated users with appropriate rights to update resource records on the server. Secure dynamic updates are available only for zones that are integrated with AD DS.
•Support for incremental zone transfer between servers
Zone transfers replicate information about a portion of the DNS namespace among DNS servers. Incremental zone transfers replicate only the changed portions of a zone, which conserves network bandwidth.
The DNS Server service extends a standard forwarder configuration with conditional forwarders. A conditional forwarder is a DNS server on a network that forwards DNS queries according to the DNS domain name in the query. For example, a DNS server can be configured to forward all the queries that it receives for names ending with sales.fabrikam.com to the IP address of a specific DNS server or to the IP addresses of multiple DNS servers.
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