Impact of misconfigurations
During the past twenty years the Domain Name System (DNS) has sustained phenomenal growth while maintaining satisfactory performance. However, the original design focused mainly on system robustness against physical failures, and neglected the impact of operational errors such as misconfigurations. Our recent measurement effort revealed three specific types of misconfigurations in DNS today: lame delegation, diminished server redundancy, and cyclic zone dependency. Zones with configuration errors suffer from reduced availability and increased query delays up to an order of magnitude. Furthermore, while the original DNS design assumed that redundant DNS servers fail independently, our measurements show that operational choices made at individual zones can severely affect the availability of other zones. We found that, left unchecked, DNS configuration errors are widespread, with lame delegation affecting 15% of the DNS zones, diminished server redundancy being even more prevalent, and cyclic dependency appearing in 2% of the zones. We also noted that the degrees of misconfiguration vary from zone to zone, with most popular zones having the lowest percentage of errors. Our results indicate that DNS, as well as any other truly robust large-scale system, must include systematic checking mechanisms to cope with operational errors.