Measuring Availability in the Domain Name System

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Executive Summary

The Domain Name System (DNS) is critical to Internet functionality. The availability of a domain name refers to its ability to be resolved correctly. The authors develop a model for server dependencies that is used as a basis for measuring availability. They introduce the Minimum number of Servers Queried (MSQ) and redundancy as availability metrics and show how common DNS misconfigurations impact the availability of domain names. They apply the availability model to domain names from production DNS and observe that 6.7% of names exhibit sub-optimal MSQ, and 14% experience false redundancy. The MSQ and redundancy values can be optimized by proper maintenance of delegation records for zones.

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