ProBIND2 Design document

ProBIND home page


Document author: Alexei Roudnev
22 Mart 2003

Table of content


  1. System components and interaction
  2. Detailed description:
  3. Access control
  4. Benefits
  5. Additional documents.
  6. Required software.


System components and interaction


ProBIND2 DNS management system allows control few DNS servers (usually consisting a single domain name space, or a few different name spaces, for example – external name space and intranet name space) from the central management system. This system consists of the central database repository (one for every namespace), ProBIND scripts, web interface, and network of Name Servers (different for every namespace) configured from this central database.


Picture 1 explains how system works. There is central management server, which maintains database. System administrators can manage this system thru the web. ProBIND system (which is a set of PhP scripts for Apache web server) allows operators to change data, configure name servers, add and remove zones, disable and enable them, disable RR records in zones without deleting them, and much more.


 When updates in the database are completed (and verified), it generates configuration and zone files for all name servers in this namespace, push this files onto the servers, check configuration and reconfigure the servers.



Picture 1 shows how system components interacts one with other (on example of the data center):



Detailed description:

System components


DNS system consists of the Internal and External Name spaces, and all components are replicated for both name spaces. There is starting menu, which allows to switch between external and internal name spaces, and (optionally) to go to the test name space (which can be used for the training, testing and verification). Every component exists in both name spaces:

  1. Central ProBIND system:
    1. Web server (Apache, port 8100, shared by all name spaces and all management systems), with basic authentication, php and mysql support;
    2. MySQL databases (‘intdns’ for internal DNS and ‘extdns’ for external DNS).
    3. ProBIND scripts running by the web server and implementing access to the system;
    4. Template directories which are used to generate configuration files for the name servers;
    5. push scripts that push data to the servers and reconfigure servers; standard scripts uses ‘rsync’ through the ‘ssh’.
    6. Test and import scripts, which allow to test name servers (from the web interface) and to import standard named.conf configurations (and zone files) into the system.
  2. Set of master name servers, which maintains full set of master zones and keep secondary zones. ProBIND allows to have a few master servers, and maintains exactly the same zones (including serial numbers) for all of them’. For internal name space. This servers are fully configured by ProBIND system – it generate named.conf file, zone files and all additional configuration files (from the template);
  3. Set of slave name servers, which maintains ‘slave’ zones for the zones owned by ProBIND. Internal name servers maintain (due to some resolving problems in the splitted name space) all zones (including secondary).


Probind works with the standard bind version 9 (preferred) and can work with bind version 8 (without configuration checking because ‘ndc’ does not supports it). Scripts uses standard ‘ssh’ feature by the ‘password-less’ remote access. No any components (excluding very first named starting which is done by the system rc.* files) is running as a root, which increases security.




Component interaction.


  1. Name servers, MySQL and apache are started by the operation systems;
  2. Operator can browse, add, delete and edit zones, using web interface (see Picture1 as an example);
  3. When everything is completed, ‘Update’ operation is called. ProBIND makes ‘Update’ in the few steps, applied to all servers (operator can make this steps at once or do them one by one and check logs and files after every step):
    1. Generates all configuration files for all name servers, using template directories and database information; files are stored in the local directories;
    2. Run ‘Push’ scripts which synchronizes content of configuration directories on the local and remote system;
    3. Run ‘reconfigure’ scripts (they uses ‘rndc’ program for bind9 and ‘ndc’ for bind8) which verifies configuration and reconfigure the servers;
    4. Run (manually) tests which allows to send request and verify an answers;
    5. Save changes into the CVS (if configured) to allow simple rollback of the zones.
  4. To minimize possible risk of failure, system applies changes onto the servers that need it (for example, if zone content changed, no any changes will be applied to the slave servers).



Additional features:


ProBIND system supports a set of additional services:

  1. Automatic generation of the ‘PTR’ records by the ‘A’ records (controlled by the checkbox); it generate this record during zone generation and has not a problem of dead PTR records (after A record was removed);
  2. Duplicate A and PTR records detection – verify data base and shows all multiple A and PTR records;
  3. IP address allocation – allow to find unused IP addresses, shows duplicate names on the same address, and so on;
  4. Lame delegation and MX violation check – useful for the external zones;
  5. Bulk update – allows to regenerate all files (with the new serial numbers);
  6. Log and configuration access – allows to view configuration files and logs from the web (so eliminates local logins to the remote systems and increases overall security);
  7. Server tests – sends requests and show answers to the DNS system.
  8. Serial numbers include date, allowing to restore database from dump and to apply them  to the servers without manual removing of the sticked secondary zones (which happens if convenient file backup is restored and zones got old Serial numbers – it often results into the desynchronization.
  9. Configuration directories (named.conf and zones) are saved into the CVS, which allow to restore old version or to compare configuration files. (Saving database into the cvs can be easily added to the system, it allows to rollback any changes without any manual manipulations with the serial numbers).


ProBIND system supports a convenient control over the zones and records – it allows disabling zones and records temporary (without removing information from the data base), and supports comments to the zones and records. First feature is very important because it makes zone cleaning much safer – it is always possible to disable a record, and remove it only after a few days of running without the problems (or enable it back if it cause any problems).

Access control

ProBIND version 2 uses standard apache security and access control. Two gropups are used:

  1. dns  - allows to browser, view and edit zones, update servers (without cleaning sticked locks), and use any additional operations. Do not allow – to change system setting, add/delete servers, add/delete zones, make bulk updates, clean locks.
  2. dnsadm – allows all operations.


Security level is intranet rank – this means that system should not be opened to the outer world without extra level of protection; and no dns group can be granted to the un-trusted  persons. This group protects against errors but do not protect against serious hacking.


Web access system includes web interface to the user and group list and replicates information for all web servers involved into the monitoring (SFO management system, log files access, and so on).


  1. Very simple web based user interface, combined with the power and reliability of the standard classical name server for Unix (bind 9);
  2. No any manual operations, remote logins, file editions required for:
    1. Zone adding and deleting;
    2. Zone option change (such as zone access list);
    3. Server option change (such as notify list);
    4. Zone viewing and editing;
    5. Serial number change;
    6. Configuration verification and applying.
  3. Embedded name server testing, file view and log access (no need for the local access once again);
  4. Automatic serial synchronization in case of a few master servers (it is important for production because name server must work even if zones expired or master server die, so few masters increase reliability);
  5. Automatic PTR generation on the fly (no chance to stick PTR after A record was deleted);
  6. Disabling records and zones without deleting them decrease a risk of mistake during zone cleaning and allow introducing temporary changes.
  7. IP range control makes IP allocation easy and safe;
  8. Central data base allow to deploy new name server (in addition or instead of existing one) instantly;
  9. Separating data base and configuration files allows to work without any interruption in case of the data base failure, and MySQL database allows to deploy new management station in a few days on a new platform.
  10. Web access allows easy integration with the authentication systems and into the network management system (which must always be WEB based).




Additional documents.

  1. ProBIND operational guide , version 2.0.
  2. ProBIND2 Instatllation guide.


Required software.

  1. Management system:
    1. Apache 1.37;
    2. MySQL database system;
    3. PhP4 scripting (apache module and standalone interpreter);
    4. Perl5 and some modules for it (for DNS testing and verification).
    5. (optionally) cvs.
  2. DNS servers:
    1. bind9 or bind8 name server;
    2. ssh and rsync,