Suggestions for improved host table distribution (RFC0849)
Original Publication Date: 1983-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This RFC actually is a request for comments. The issue dealt with is that of a naming registry update procedure, both as exists currently and what could exist in the future. None of the proposed solutions are intended as standards at this time; rather it is hoped that a general consensus will emerge as the appropriate solution, leaving eventually to the adoption of standards.
Network Working Group Mark Crispin Request for Comments: 849 Stanford May 1983
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVED HOST TABLE DISTRIBUTION
This RFC may be something unique among modern-day RFC’s, an RFC that actually is a request for comments. The issue dealt with is that of a naming registry update procedure, both as exists currently and what could exist in the future. None of the proposed solutions are intended as standards at this time; rather it is hoped that a general consensus will emerge as the appropriate solution, leaving eventually to the adoption of standards.
I am somewhat dissatisfied with the current level of Internet name service and name registry updating. Each site is expected to individually maintain a copy of the [SRI-NIC]<NETINFO>HOSTS.TXT file, and in fact has to, since SRI-NIC is simply not reliable enough to depend upon as a name server. Neither the Tenex operating system nor the Foonly computer are known for exceptional reliability or performance. Probably they serve the NIC’s internal operations well; that is not at issue. What is needed is a name service that is available at all times. Only then could a site sacrifice maintaining its own local copy of "the host table".
The NIC indirectly acknowledges this, by providing a service by which the entire Internet name registry can be dumped, as well as ANONYMOUS FTP access to the <NETINFO>HOSTS.TXT file. The problem is, some individual has to know to retrieve the latest version of the file from the NIC. The NIC has not always been careful to announce updates to the name registry. My experience with maintaining an independent name registry from the NIC’s in the past leads me to appreciate the NIC’s problems.
There also seems to be no good automated way to cross-check the version at the local site with the NIC’s. It is clearly inefficient to go to the effort of retrieving the same version of the host table that already has been installed on site.
One could argue that a solution is to replace or augment the present SRI-NIC system with VAX Unix system(s) dedicated to name service and network information. A reliable and highly-responsive name service would ultimately lead to the elimination of the necessity to maintain copies of the registry locally. This solution requires money, time, and effort, which may or may not be immediately available; it must therefore be considered a longer-term solution.
Crispin [Page 1]
A more short-term solution is to make possible faster and more thorough updating of the various local copies of the name tables. I have several suggestions in this area, and would like to hear co...