Chart: The Pitfalls of Microsoft DNS

Every IT organization on the planet wants to get by with the network infrastructure they have.  Change is hard, and inherently risky.  There has to be a pretty big reason to go in a different direction.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is no different.  Most organizations start off with a simple, out of the box Microsoft DNS solution.  For the number of DNS zones and DNS servers in most small networks, it probably works fine.  It’s the default choice for Active Directory, so everything seems natural.

Yet there will inevitably come a time when the cost of free network infrastructure management is simply too high.  As organizations scale, as strategic initiatives introduce more complexity, as workloads grow, all of the downsides of a Microsoft DNS infrastructure begin to show themselves.

Suddenly, the network seems fragile – errors and configuration issues in DNS entries often lead to downtime.  Suddenly, the number of DNS queries grows dramatically and you have limited visibility into what’s happening on the network – either your external DNS or your internal DNS.  Suddenly, even the “overlay” solutions you put in place start to fail.  It’s at these times that all those Microsoft DNS issues start to cascade.

What are the symptoms of a system weighed down by Microsoft DNS?  We put this handy chart together to demonstrate some of the operational challenges we see with customers of ours who are getting ready to migrate away from Microsoft DNS.

Hidden zonesInconsistent query pathsTraveling users suffer loss of access to important services
Delayed DNS zone synchronizationSetting up secondaries but failing to enable notifications for those secondariesSome internal locations or customers can see the modified/new record, and others are still receiving the wrong answer
Delegations reference missing glue recordsMisconfiguration + stale data + decommissioned hardwareService outages caused by failure to update all instances of a delegation target
Stale DDNS Host and PTR recordsMisconfigured, broken or unused MS DNS scavenging and allowing company-wide DNS self-registrationVisual inspection becomes impossible because of huge, cluttered list of stale DNS records
DHCP reservations with invalid MAC addressesBad data entryInaccurate IP address data. Confusion as to why device has the wrong IP address or doesn’t exist anymore
Fake DHCP reservationsManually misconfigured DHCP ranges (aka “Poor man’s IPAM solution)Inaccurate IP address data. Inability to know if it’s safe to allocate the IP address
Unreachable gatewayBad data entryDHCP outages
Conflicting scopes between serversDHCP services moved without cleanup or creation of backup serverIP address conflicts caused by dueling DHCP servers, DHCP reservations and DHCP option changes don’t take effect or stop working, DHCP pool exhaustion
Microsoft IPAM networks conflict with DHCP dataBad data entryMisconfiguration of routing tables, overlapping IP Address space inaccessible by DHCP clients due to netmask errors
DNS data references unknown private networksNo single source of truth – each group or BU tracks networks in a different wayImpossible to properly provision networks and wasted IP space, network equipment, and under-utilized servers
Static and DHCP-reserved IP addresses within active DHCP scopesBad practice from MS requirement in early versions of their DHCP serviceUnintentional reduction in DHCP pool size, increased risk of surprise DHCP pool exhaustion, risk of DHCP conflicts
Stale IPAM data and lack of input restrictionsLegacy networks from sold-off divisions or old work sitesUnnecessary purchase of additional network hardware, vulnerable services present on the production network

Do any of these sound familiar? Read more about the high cost of free DNS with our “Cost of Free” eBook. We’d love to talk about how to replace Microsoft DNS with a centrally managed DNS, DHCP, and IP address management (IPAM) solution, geting you the functionality you require.

Products and Services

From Core Network Services to multicloud management, BlueCat has everything you need to build the network you need.

Learn more