krypted.com

Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

The changes in the Server app were far more substantial in the El Capitan version (OS X Server 5) than in the macOS Server 5.2 version that we’re now looking at. All of the options from OS X are still there and the dnsconfig command line interface for managing the service are basically unchanged. The DNS service in OS X Server, as with previous versions, is based on bind 9 (BIND 9.9.7-P3 to be exact). This is very much compatible with practically every DNS server in the world, including those hosted on Windows, OS X, Linux and even Zoe-R.

The first time you open the DNS Service click on the DNS service in the ADVANCED section of the list of SERVICES.

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Then, click on the cog wheel icon below the list of records and click on Show All Records.

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At the Records screen, you’ll now see forward and reverse record information. Click the Edit… button for the Forwarding Servers field. Here, you’ll be able to enter a Forwarders, or DNS servers that resolve names that the server you’re using can’t resolve using its own DNS records.

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Click the plus sign to enter the IP address of any necessary Forwarders. Enter the IP address of any Forwarding servers, then click OK to save your changes.

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Once back at the main DNS service control screen, click the Edit… button for Perform lookups for to configure what computers the DNS server you are setting up can use the DNS service that the server is hosting.

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At the Perform Lookups screen, provide any additional subnets that should be used. If the server should be accessible by anyone anywhere, just set the “Perform lookups for” field at the DNS service screen to “all clients”.

All you have to do to start the DNS is click on the ON button (if it’s not already started, that is). There’s a chance that you won’t want all of the records that are by default entered into the service. But leave it for now, until we’ve covered what everything is. To list the various types of records:

  • Primary Zone: The DNS “Domain”. For example, www.krypted.com would likely have a primary zone of krypted.com.
  • Machine Record: An A record for a computer, or a record that tells DNS to resolve whatever name is indicated in the “machine” record to an IP address, whether the IP address is reachable or not.
  • Name Server: NS record, indicates the authoritative DNS server for each zone. If you only have one DNS server then this should be the server itself.
  • Reverse Zone: Zone that maps each name that IP addresses within the zone answer with. Reverse Zones are comprised of Reverse Mappings and each octal change in an IP scheme that has records mapped represents a new Reverse Zone.
  • Reverse Mapping: PTR record, or a record that indicates the name that should respond for a given IP address. These are automatically created for the first IP address listed in a Machine Record.
  • Alias Record: A CNAME, or a name that points to another name.
  • Service Record: Records that can hold special types of data that describe where to look for services for a given zone. For example, iCal can leverage service records so that users can just type the username and password during the setup process.
  • Mail Exchanger Record (aka MX record): Mail Exchanger, points to the IP address of the mail server for a given domain (aka Primary or Secondary Zone).
  • Secondary Zone: A read only copy of a zone that is copied from the server where it’s a Primary Zone when created and routinely through what is known as a Zone Transfer.

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When you click on the plus sign, you can create additional records. Double-clicking on records (including the Zones) brings up a screen to edit the record. The settings for a zone can be seen below.

 screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-11-19-59-am

These include the name for the zone. As you can see, a zone was created with the hostname rather than the actual domain name. This is a problem if you wish to have multiple records in your domain that point to the same host name. Theoretically you could create a zone and a machine record for each host in the domain, but the right way to do things is probably going to be to create a zone for the domain name instead of the host name. So for the above zone, the entry should be krypted.com rather than mavserver.krypted.com (the hostname of the computer). Additionally, the TTL (or Time To Live) can be configured, which is referenced here as the “Zone data is valid for” field. If you will be making a lot of changes this value should be as low as possible (the minimum value here is 5 minutes). Once changes are made, the TTL can be set for a larger number in order to reduce the amount of traffic hitting the server (DNS traffic is really light, so probably not a huge deal in most environments using a macOS Server as their DNS server). Check the box for “Allow zone transfers” if there will be other servers that use this server to lookup records.

Additionally, if the zone is to be a secondary zone configured on another server, you can configure the frequency to perform zone transfers at this screen, how frequently to perform lookups when the primary name server isn’t responsive and when to stop bothering to try if the thing never actually ends up coming back online. Click on Done to commit any changes made, or to save a new record if you’re creating a new zone.

“Note: To make sure your zone name and TLD don’t conflict with data that already exists on the Internet, check here to make sure you’re not using a sponsored TLD.” — http://krypted.com/mac-os-x/dont-go-near-there-sponsored-top-level-domain-names/

Double-click on a Machine record next (or click plus to add one). Here, provide a hostname along with an IP address and indicate the Zone that the record lives in. The IP Addresses field seems to allow for multiple IPs, which is common in round robin DNS, or when one name points to multiple servers and lookups rotate amongst the servers. However, it’s worth mentioning that when I configure multiple IP addresses, the last one in the list is the only one that gets fed to clients. Therefore, for now at least, you might want to stick with one IP address per name.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.29.37 PM

Note that the above screen has the domain in the zone field and the name of a record, such as www for the zone called, for example, krypted.lan. Click Done to commit the changes or create the new record.

Next, let’s create a MX record for the domain. To create the MX for the domain, click on the plus sign at the list of records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.31.46 PM

Select the appropriate zone in the Zone field (if you have multiple zones). Then type the name of the A record that you will be pointing mail to. Most likely, this would be a machine record called simply mail, in this case for krypton.lan, so mail.krypted.lan. If you have multiple MX records, increment the priority number for the lower priority servers.

As a full example, let’s create a zone and some records from scratch. Let’s setup this zone for an Xsan metadata network, called krypted.xsan. Then, let’s create our metadata controller record as starbuck.krypted.xsan to point to 10.0.0.2 and our backup metadata controller record as apollo.krypted.xsan which points to 10.0.0.3. First, click on the plus sign and select Add Primary Zone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.33.11 PM

At the zone screen, enter the name of the domain you’re setting up (e.g. krypted.com, also known as the zone), check the box for Allow zone transfers (there will be a second server) and click on the Done button. Click on the plus sign and then click on Add Machine record.

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At the New Machine Record screen, select the appropriate zone as the Zone and then enter starbuck as the Host Name and click on the plus sign for IP Addresses and type in the appropriate IP. Click on Done to commit the changes. Repeat the process for each host that needs an address and then click Done to create the records.

Setting Up Secondary Servers

Now let’s setup a secondary server by leveraging a secondary zone running on a second computer. On the second macOS Server, click on the plus sign for the DNS service and select Add Secondary Zone.

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At the Secondary Zone screen, enter krypted.xsan as the name of the zone and then the IP address of the DNS server hosting that domain in the Primary Servers field. Click Done and the initial zone transfer should begin once the DNS service is turned on (if it hasn’t already been enabled).

Managing DNS From The Command Line

Now, all of this is pretty straight forward. Create a zone, create some records inside the zone and you’re good to go. But there are a lot of times when DNS just needs a little more than what the Server app can do for you. For example, round robin DNS records, bind views, etc. Therefore, getting used to the command line is going to be pretty helpful for anyone with more than a handful of records. The first thing to know about the DNS command line in macOS Server is to do everything possible using the serveradmin command for global management and dnsconfig for record and zone management. Once you start editing configuration files, the user interface can become unstable and other updates may or may not override the updates you make in those configuration files.

To start the service, use the start option:

sudo serveradmin start dns

To stop the service, use the stop option:

sudo serveradmin stop dns

To get the status of the service, including how many zones are being hosted, the last time it was started, the status at the moment, the version of bind (9.8.1 right now) and the location of the log files, use the fullstatus option:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus dns

A number of other tasks can be performed using the settings option. For example, to enable Bonjour Client Browsing, an option previously available in Server Admin, use the following command:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:isBonjourClientBrowsingEnabled = yes

Subnets can be created programmatically through serveradmin as well. Let’s look at what our krypted.xsan subnet looks like, by default (replace your zone name w/ krypted.xsan to see your output):

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan

Now, let’s say we’d like to disable bonjour registration of just this zone, but leave it on for the others on the server:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan:bonjourRegistration = no

The entire block can be fed in for new zones, if you have a lot of them. Just remember to always make sure that the serial option for each zone is unique. Otherwise the zones will not work properly.

While serveradmin is one way to edit zone data, it isn’t the only way, you can also use the dnsconfig options described in http://krypted.com/?p=45195. In /private/var/named are a collection of each zone the server is configured for. Secondary zones are flat and don’t have a lot of data in them, but primary zones contain all the information in the Server app and the serveradmin outputs. To see the contents of our test zone we created, let’s view the /Library/Server/named/db.krypted.xsan file (each file name is db. followed by the name of the zone):

cat /var/named/db.krypted.xsan

Add another record into the bottom and stop/start DNS to immediately see the ramification of doing so. Overall, DNS is one of those services that seems terribly complicated at first. But once you get used to it, I actually find manually editing zone files far faster and easier than messing around with the Server app or previously Server Admin. However, I also find that occasionally, because the Server app can make changes in there that all my settings will vanish.

Troubleshooting is another place where the command line can be helpful. While logs can be found in the Server app, I prefer to watch log entries live as I perform lookups using the /Library/Logs/named.log file. To do so, run tail -f followed by the name of the file:

tail -f /Library/Logs/named.log

Also, see http://krypted.com/mac-os-x-server/os-x-server-forcing-dns-propagation for information on forcing DNS propagation if you are having issues with zone transfers. Finally, you can manage all records within the DNS service using the new /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig command line tool. I’ve written an article on managing DNS using this tool, available here.

October 13th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Mac Security

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

DNS is DNS. And named is named. Except in OS X Server. Sometimes. The configuration files for the DNS services in macOS Server are stored in /Library/Server/named. This represents a faux root of named configuration data, similar to how that configuration data is stored in /var/named on most other platforms. Having the data in /Library/Server/ makes it more portable across systems. The current version of BIND is BIND 9.9.7-P3 (Extended Support Version).

Traditionally, you would edit this configuration data by simply editing the configuration files, and that’s absolutely still an option. In macOS Server 5.2 (for Sierra), a new command is available at /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework called dnsconfig. The dnsconfig command appears simple at first. However, the options available are actually far more complicated than they initially appear. The verbs available include help (show help information), list (show the contents of configurations and zone files), add (create records and zones) and delete (remove records and zones).

To view data available in the service, use the list verb. Options available when using the list verb include –acl (show ACLs), –view (show BIND view data), –zone (show domains configured in the service), –rr (show resource records) and –rrtype (show types of resource records). For example, let’s say you have a domain called pretendco.lan and you would like to view information about that zone. You could use the dnsconfig command along with the list verb and then the –zone option and the domain name:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --zone=pretendco.lan

The output would show you information about the listed zone, usually including View data:

Views:
com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public
Zones:
pretendco.lan
Options:
allow-transfer: none
allow-update: none 

To see a specific record, use the –rr option, followed by = and then the fqdn, so to see ecserver.pretendco.lan:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --rr=ecserver.pretendco.lan

By default views are enabled and a view called com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public is created when the DNS server first starts up. You can create other views to control what different requests from different subnets see; however, even if you don’t create any views, you’ll need to add the –view option followed by the name of the view (–view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public) to any records that you want to create. To create a record, use the add verb. You can add a view (–view), a zone (–zone) or a record (–rr). Let’s start by adding a record to the pretendco.lan from our previous example. In this case we’ll add an A record called www that points to the IP address of 192.168.210.201:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=pretendco.lan --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

You can add a zone, by providing the –view to add the zone to and not providing a –rr option. Let’s add krypted.lan:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Use the delete verb to remove the data just created:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Or to delete that one www record earlier, just swap the add with a delete:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=pretendco.lan --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

Exit codes would be “Zone krypted.lan removed.” and “Removed 1 resource record.” respectively for the two commands. You can also use the –option option when creating objects, along with the following options (each taken as a value followed by an =, with this information taken by the help page):

  • allow-transfer Takes one or more address match list entry. Address match list entries consist of any of these forms: IP addresses, Subnets or Keywords.
  • allow-recursion Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-update Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query-cache Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • forwarders Takes one or more IP addresses, e.g. 10.1.1.1
  • directory Takes a directory path
  • tkey-gssapi-credential Takes a kerberos service principal
  • tkey-domain Takes a kerberos realm
  • update-policy Takes one complete update-policy entry where you can grant or deny various matched objects and specify the dentity of the user/machine that is allowed/disallowed to update.. You can also identify match-type (Type of match to be used in evaulating the entry) and match-name (Name used to match) as well as rr-types (Resource record types that can be updated)

Overall, this command is one of the best I’ve seen for managing DNS in a long time. It shows a commitment to continuing to make the service better, when you add records or remove them you can instantly refresh the Server app and see the updates. It’s clear a lot of work went into this and it’s a great tool for when you’re imaging systems and want to create records back on a server or when you’re trying to script the creation of a bulk list of records (e.g. from a cached file from a downed host). It also makes working with Views as easy as I’ve seen it in most platforms and is overall a breeze to work with as compared to using the serveradmin command to populate objects so the GUI doesn’t break when you update records by hitting files directly.

October 5th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Mac Security

Tags: , , , , ,

Under the hood, OS X Server has a number of substantial changes; however, at first the Server app (Server 5) appears to have had very few changes. The changes in the Server app were far more substantial in the El Capitan version (and Yosemite for that matter) of OS X Server. All of the options from OS X are still there and using the new command line interface for managing the service, there are far more options than ever before.

The DNS service in OS X Server, as with previous versions, is based on bind 9 (BIND 9.9.7-P2 to be exact). This is very much compatible with practically every DNS server in the world, including those hosted on Windows, OS X, Linux and even Zoe-R.

The first time you open the DNS Service click on the DNS service in the ADVANCED section of the list of SERVICES.

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Then, click on the cog wheel icon below the list of records and click on Show All Records.

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At the Records screen, you’ll now see forward and reverse record information. Click the Edit… button for the Forwarding Servers field. Here, you’ll be able to enter a Forwarders, or DNS servers that resolve names that the server you’re using can’t resolve using its own DNS records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.17.27 PM

Click the plus sign to enter the IP address of any necessary Forwarders. Enter the IP address of any Forwarding servers, then click OK to save your changes.

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Once back at the main DNS service control screen, click the Edit… button for Perform lookups for to configure what computers the DNS server you are setting up can use the DNS service that the server is hosting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.27.31 PM

At the Perform Lookups screen, provide any additional subnets that should be used. If the server should be accessible by anyone anywhere, just set the “Perform lookups for” field at the DNS service screen to “all clients”.

All you have to do to start the DNS is click on the ON button (if it’s not already started, that is). There’s a chance that you won’t want all of the records that are by default entered into the service. But leave it for now, until we’ve covered what everything is. To list the various types of records:

  • Primary Zone: The DNS “Domain”. For example, www.krypted.com would likely have a primary zone of krypted.com.
  • Machine Record: An A record for a computer, or a record that tells DNS to resolve whatever name is indicated in the “machine” record to an IP address, whether the IP address is reachable or not.
  • Name Server: NS record, indicates the authoritative DNS server for each zone. If you only have one DNS server then this should be the server itself.
  • Reverse Zone: Zone that maps each name that IP addresses within the zone answer with. Reverse Zones are comprised of Reverse Mappings and each octal change in an IP scheme that has records mapped represents a new Reverse Zone.
  • Reverse Mapping: PTR record, or a record that indicates the name that should respond for a given IP address. These are automatically created for the first IP address listed in a Machine Record.
  • Alias Record: A CNAME, or a name that points to another name.
  • Service Record: Records that can hold special types of data that describe where to look for services for a given zone. For example, iCal can leverage service records so that users can just type the username and password during the setup process.
  • Mail Exchanger Record (aka MX record): Mail Exchanger, points to the IP address of the mail server for a given domain (aka Primary or Secondary Zone).
  • Secondary Zone: A read only copy of a zone that is copied from the server where it’s a Primary Zone when created and routinely through what is known as a Zone Transfer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.26.44 PM

When you click on the plus sign, you can create additional records. Double-clicking on records (including the Zones) brings up a screen to edit the record. The settings for a zone can be seen below.

 Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.28.19 PM

These include the name for the zone. As you can see, a zone was created with the hostname rather than the actual domain name. This is a problem if you wish to have multiple records in your domain that point to the same host name. Theoretically you could create a zone and a machine record for each host in the domain, but the right way to do things is probably going to be to create a zone for the domain name instead of the host name. So for the above zone, the entry should be krypted.com rather than mavserver.krypted.com (the hostname of the computer). Additionally, the TTL (or Time To Live) can be configured, which is referenced here as the “Zone data is valid for” field. If you will be making a lot of changes this value should be as low as possible (the minimum value here is 5 minutes). Once changes are made, the TTL can be set for a larger number in order to reduce the amount of traffic hitting the server (DNS traffic is really light, so probably not a huge deal in most environments using an El Capitan Server as their DNS server). Check the box for “Allow zone transfers” if there will be other servers that use this server to lookup records.

Additionally, if the zone is to be a secondary zone configured on another server, you can configure the frequency to perform zone transfers at this screen, how frequently to perform lookups when the primary name server isn’t responsive and when to stop bothering to try if the thing never actually ends up coming back online. Click on Done to commit any changes made, or to save a new record if you’re creating a new zone.

“Note: To make sure your zone name and TLD don’t conflict with data that already exists on the Internet, check here to make sure you’re not using a sponsored TLD.” — http://krypted.com/mac-os-x/dont-go-near-there-sponsored-top-level-domain-names/

Double-click on a Machine record next (or click plus to add one). Here, provide a hostname along with an IP address and indicate the Zone that the record lives in. The IP Addresses field seems to allow for multiple IPs, which is common in round robin DNS, or when one name points to multiple servers and lookups rotate amongst the servers. However, it’s worth mentioning that when I configure multiple IP addresses, the last one in the list is the only one that gets fed to clients. Therefore, for now at least, you might want to stick with one IP address per name.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.29.37 PM

Note that the above screen has the domain in the zone field and the name of a record, such as www for the zone called, for example, krypted.lan. Click Done to commit the changes or create the new record.

Next, let’s create a MX record for the domain. To create the MX for the domain, click on the plus sign at the list of records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.31.46 PM

Select the appropriate zone in the Zone field (if you have multiple zones). Then type the name of the A record that you will be pointing mail to. Most likely, this would be a machine record called simply mail, in this case for krypton.lan, so mail.krypted.lan. If you have multiple MX records, increment the priority number for the lower priority servers.

As a full example, let’s create a zone and some records from scratch. Let’s setup this zone for an Xsan metadata network, called krypted.xsan. Then, let’s create our metadata controller record as starbuck.krypted.xsan to point to 10.0.0.2 and our backup metadata controller record as apollo.krypted.xsan which points to 10.0.0.3. First, click on the plus sign and select Add Primary Zone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.33.11 PM

At the zone screen, enter the name krypted.xsan, check the box for Allow zone transfers (there will be a second server) and click on the Done button. Click on the plus sign and then click on Add Machine record.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.33.56 PM

At the New Machine Record screen, select krypted.xsan as the Zone and then enter starbuck as the Host Name and click on the plus sign for IP Addresses and type in 10.0.0.2. Click on Done to commit the changes.

 Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.34.35 PM

Repeat the process for Apollo, entering apollo as the Host Name and 10.0.03 as the IP address. Click Done to create the record.

Setting Up Secondary Servers

Now let’s setup a secondary server by leveraging a secondary zone running on a second computer. On the second El Capitan Server running on the second server, click on the plus sign for the DNS service and select Add Secondary Zone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.25.19 PM

At the Secondary Zone screen, enter krypted.xsan as the name of the zone and then the IP address of the DNS server hosting that domain in the Primary Servers field. Click Done and the initial zone transfer should begin once the DNS service is turned on (if it hasn’t already been enabled).

Managing DNS From The Command Line

Now, all of this is pretty straight forward. Create a zone, create some records inside the zone and you’re good to go. But there are a lot of times when DNS just needs a little more than what the Server app can do for you. For example, round robin DNS records, bind views, etc. Therefore, getting used to the command line is going to be pretty helpful for anyone with more than a handful of records. The first thing to know about the DNS command line in OS X El Capitan Server is to do everything possible using the serveradmin command. To start the service, use the start option:

sudo serveradmin start dns

To stop the service, use the stop option:

sudo serveradmin stop dns

To get the status of the service, including how many zones are being hosted, the last time it was started, the status at the moment, the version of bind (9.8.1 right now) and the location of the log files, use the fullstatus option:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus dns

A number of other tasks can be performed using the settings option. For example, to enable Bonjour Client Browsing, an option previously available in Server Admin, use the following command:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:isBonjourClientBrowsingEnabled = yes

Subnets can be created programmatically through serveradmin as well. Let’s look at what our krypted.xsan subnet looks like, by default (replace your zone name w/ krypted.xsan to see your output):

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan

Now, let’s say we’d like to disable bonjour registration of just this zone, but leave it on for the others on the server:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan:bonjourRegistration = no

The entire block can be fed in for new zones, if you have a lot of them. Just remember to always make sure that the serial option for each zone is unique. Otherwise the zones will not work properly.

While serveradmin is one way to edit zone data, it isn’t the only way, you can also use the dnsconfig options described in http://krypted.com/?p=45195. In /private/var/named are a collection of each zone the server is configured for. Secondary zones are flat and don’t have a lot of data in them, but primary zones contain all the information in the Server app and the serveradmin outputs. To see the contents of our test zone we created, let’s view the /Library/Server/named/db.krypted.xsan file (each file name is db. followed by the name of the zone):

cat /var/named/db.krypted.xsan

Add another record into the bottom and stop/start DNS to immediately see the ramification of doing so. Overall, DNS is one of those services that seems terribly complicated at first. But once you get used to it, I actually find manually editing zone files far faster and easier than messing around with the Server app or previously Server Admin. However, I also find that occasionally, because the Server app can make changes in there that all my settings will vanish.

Troubleshooting is another place where the command line can be helpful. While logs can be found in the Server app, I prefer to watch log entries live as I perform lookups using the /Library/Logs/named.log file. To do so, run tail -f followed by the name of the file:

tail -f /Library/Logs/named.log

Also, see http://krypted.com/mac-os-x-server/os-x-server-forcing-dns-propagation for information on forcing DNS propagation if you are having issues with zone transfers. Finally, you can manage all records within the DNS service using the new /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig command line tool. I’ve written an article on managing DNS using this tool, available here.

September 21st, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Xsan

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Under the hood, OS X Server has a number of substantial changes; however, at first the Server app appears to have had very few changes. The changes in the Server app were far more substantial in the Yosemite version of OS X Server. All of the options from Yosemite are still there and using the new command line interface for managing the service, there are far more options than ever before.

The DNS service in OS X Server, as with previous versions, is based on bind 9 (BIND 9.9.2-P2 to be exact). This is very much compatible with practically every DNS server in the world, including those hosted on Windows, OS X, Linux and even Zoe-R.

The first time you open the DNS Service click on the DNS service in the ADVANCED section of the list of SERVICES.

dns1

Then, click on the cog wheel icon below the list of records and click on Show All Records.

DNS2

At the Records screen, you’ll now see forward and reverse record information. Click the Edit… button for the Forwarding Servers field. Here, you’ll be able to enter a Forwarders, or DNS servers that resolve names that the server you’re using can’t resolve using its own DNS records.

DNS3

Click the plus sign to enter the IP address of any necessary Forwarders. Enter the IP address of any Forwarding servers, then click OK to save your changes.

DNS4

Once back at the main DNS service control screen, click the Edit… button for Perform lookups for to configure what computers the DNS server you are setting up can use the DNS service that the server is hosting.

DNS5

At the Perform Lookups screen, provide any additional subnets that should be used. If the server should be accessible by anyone anywhere, just set the “Perform lookups for” field at the DNS service screen to “all clients”.

All you have to do to start the DNS is click on the ON button (if it’s not already started, that is). There’s a chance that you won’t want all of the records that are by default entered into the service. But leave it for now, until we’ve covered what everything is. To list the various types of records:

  • Primary Zone: The DNS “Domain”. For example, www.krypted.com would likely have a primary zone of krypted.com.
  • Machine Record: An A record for a computer, or a record that tells DNS to resolve whatever name is indicated in the “machine” record to an IP address, whether the IP address is reachable or not.
  • Name Server: NS record, indicates the authoritative DNS server for each zone. If you only have one DNS server then this should be the server itself.
  • Reverse Zone: Zone that maps each name that IP addresses within the zone answer with. Reverse Zones are comprised of Reverse Mappings and each octal change in an IP scheme that has records mapped represents a new Reverse Zone.
  • Reverse Mapping: PTR record, or a record that indicates the name that should respond for a given IP address. These are automatically created for the first IP address listed in a Machine Record.
  • Alias Record: A CNAME, or a name that points to another name.
  • Service Record: Records that can hold special types of data that describe where to look for services for a given zone. For example, iCal can leverage service records so that users can just type the username and password during the setup process.
  • Mail Exchanger Record (aka MX record): Mail Exchanger, points to the IP address of the mail server for a given domain (aka Primary or Secondary Zone).
  • Secondary Zone: A read only copy of a zone that is copied from the server where it’s a Primary Zone when created and routinely through what is known as a Zone Transfer.

DNS6

When you click on the plus sign, you can create additional records. Double-clicking on records (including the Zones) brings up a screen to edit the record.

These include the name for the zone. As you can see, a zone was created with the hostname rather than the actual domain name. This is a problem if you wish to have multiple records in your domain that point to the same host name. Theoretically you could create a zone and a machine record for each host in the domain, but the right way to do things is probably going to be to create a zone for the domain name instead of the host name. So for the above zone, the entry should be krypted.com rather than mavserver.krypted.com (the hostname of the computer). Additionally, the TTL (or Time To Live) can be configured, which is referenced here as the “Zone data is valid for” field. If you will be making a lot of changes this value should be as low as possible (the minimum value here is 5 minutes). Once changes are made, the TTL can be set for a larger number in order to reduce the amount of traffic hitting the server (DNS traffic is really light, so probably not a huge deal in most environments using a Yosemite Server as their DNS server). Check the box for “Allow zone transfers” if there will be other servers that use this server to lookup records.

Additionally, if the zone is to be a secondary zone configured on another server, you can configure the frequency to perform zone transfers at this screen, how frequently to perform lookups when the primary name server isn’t responsive and when to stop bothering to try if the thing never actually ends up coming back online. Click on Done to commit any changes made, or to save a new record if you’re creating a new zone.

Note: To make sure your zone name and TLD don’t conflict with data that already exists on the Internet, check here to make sure you’re not using a sponsored TLD.” — http://krypted.com/mac-os-x/dont-go-near-there-sponsored-top-level-domain-names/

Double-click on a Machine record next (or click plus to add one). Here, provide a hostname along with an IP address and indicate the Zone that the record lives in. The IP Addresses field seems to allow for multiple IPs, which is common in round robin DNS, or when one name points to multiple servers and lookups rotate amongst the servers. However, it’s worth mentioning that when I configure multiple IP addresses, the last one in the list is the only one that gets fed to clients. Therefore, for now at least, you might want to stick with one IP address per name.

DNS8

Note that the above screen has a match for the host name to the zone name, including the zone name. This is not to be done for manually created records. Enter the name of a record, such as www for the zone called, for example, krypted.lan and not www.krypted.lan in the Host Name record, or you will end up creating a host called www.krypted.lan.krypted.lan, which is likely not very desirable. Given that this wasn’t the default behavior back in Server Admin, I personally consider this something that will likely get fixed in the future. Click Done to commit the changes or create the new record.

Next, let’s create a MX record for the domain. To create the MX for the domain, click on the plus sign at the list of records.

DNS9

Select the appropriate zone in the Zone field (if you have multiple zones). Then type the name of the A record that you will be pointing mail to. Most likely, this would be a machine record called simply mail, in this case for krypted.lan, so mail.krypted.lan. If you have multiple MX records, increment the priority number for the lower priority servers.

As a full example, let’s create a zone and some records from scratch. Let’s setup this zone for an Xsan metadata network, called krypted.xsan. Then, let’s create our metadata controller record as starbuck.krypted.xsan to point to 10.0.0.2 and our backup metadata controller record as apollo.krypted.xsan which points to 10.0.0.3. First, click on the plus sign and select Add Primary Zone.

DNS10

At the zone screen, enter the name krypted.xsan, check the box for Allow zone transfers (there will be a second server) and click on the Done button. Click on the plus sign and then click on Add Machine record.

DNS11

At the New Machine Record screen, select krypted.xsan as the Zone and then enter starbuck as the Host Name and click on the plus sign for IP Addresses and type in 10.0.0.2. Click on Done to commit the changes.

DNS12

Repeat the process for Apollo, entering apollo as the Host Name and 10.0.03 as the IP address. Click Done to create the record.

Setting Up Secondary Servers

Now let’s setup a secondary server by leveraging a secondary zone running on a second computer. On the second Yosemite Server running on the second server, click on the plus sign for the DNS service and select Add Secondary Zone.

DNS13

At the Secondary Zone screen, enter krypted.xsan as the name of the zone and then the IP address of the DNS server hosting that domain in the Primary Servers field. Click Done and the initial zone transfer should begin once the DNS service is turned on (if it hasn’t already been enabled).

Managing DNS From The Command Line

Now, all of this work we’ve been doing has been pretty straight forward. Create a zone, create some records inside the zone and you’re good to go. But there are a lot of times when DNS just needs a little more than what the Server app can do for you. For example, round robin DNS records, bind views, etc. Therefore, getting used to the command line is going to be pretty helpful for anyone with more than a handful of records. The first thing to know about the DNS command line in OS X Yosemite Server is to do everything possible using the serveradmin command. To start the service, use the start option:

sudo serveradmin start dns

To stop the service, use the stop option:

sudo serveradmin stop dns

To get the status of the service, including how many zones are being hosted, the last time it was started, the status at the moment, the version of bind (9.8.1 right now) and the location of the log files, use the fullstatus option:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus dns

A number of other tasks can be performed using the settings option. For example, to enable Bonjour Client Browsing, an option previously available in Server Admin, use the following command:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:isBonjourClientBrowsingEnabled = yes

Subnets can be created programmatically through serveradmin as well. Let’s look at what our krypted.xsan subnet looks like, by default (replace your zone name w/ krypted.xsan to see your output):

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan

Now, let’s say we’d like to disable bonjour registration of just this zone, but leave it on for the others on the server:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:views:_array_id:com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public:primaryZones:_array_id:krypted.xsan:bonjourRegistration = no

The entire block can be fed in for new zones, if you have a lot of them. Just remember to always make sure that the serial option for each zone is unique. Otherwise the zones will not work properly.
While serveradmin is the preferred way to edit zone data, it isn’t the only way. In /private/var/named are a collection of each zone the server is configured for. Secondary zones are flat and don’t have a lot of data in them, but primary zones contain all the information in the Server app and the serveradmin outputs. To see the contents of our test zone we created, let’s view the /Library/Server/named/db.krypted.xsan file (each file name is db. followed by the name of the zone):

cat /var/named/db.krypted.xsan

Add another record into the bottom and stop/start DNS to immediately see the ramification of doing so. Overall, DNS is one of those services that seems terribly complicated at first. But once you get used to it, I actually find manually editing zone files far faster and easier than messing around with the Server app or previously Server Admin. However, I also find that occasionally, because the Server app can make changes in there that all my settings will vanish.

Troubleshooting is another place where the command line can be helpful. While logs can be found in the Server app, I prefer to watch log entries live as I perform lookups using the /Library/Logs/named.log file. To do so, run tail -f followed by the name of the file:

tail -f /Library/Logs/named.log

Also, see http://krypted.com/mac-os-x-server/os-x-server-forcing-dns-propagation for information on forcing DNS propagation if you are having issues with zone transfers. Finally, you can manage all records within the DNS service using the new /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig command line tool. I’ve written an article on managing DNS using this tool at

October 16th, 2014

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment

Tags: , , , , , , ,

DNS is DNS. And named is named. Except in OS X Server. The configuration files for the DNS services in OS X Server are stored in /Library/Server/named. This represents a faux root of named configuration data, similar to how that configuration data is stored in /var/named on most other platforms. Having the data in /Library/Server/named makes it more portable across Mac DNS Servers.

Traditionally, you would edit this configuration data by simply editing the configuration files, and that’s absolutely still an option. In Yosemite Server, a command is available at /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework called dnsconfig, introduced back in Mavericks. The dnsconfig command appears simple at first. However, the options available are actually far more complicated than they initially appear. The verbs available include help (show help information), list (show the contents of configurations and zone files), add (create records and zones) and delete (remove records and zones).

To view data available in the service, use the list verb. Options available when using the list verb include –acl (show ACLs), –view (show BIND view data), –zone (show domains configured in the service), –rr (show resource records) and –rrtype (show types of resource records). For example, let’s say you have a domain called krypted.com and you would like to view information about that zone. You could use the dnsconfig command along with the list verb and then the –zone option and the domain name:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --zone=krypted.com

The output would show you information about the listed zone, usually including View data:

Views:
com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public
Zones:
krypted.com
Options:
allow-transfer: none
allow-update: none

To see a specific record, use the –rr option, followed by = and then the fqdn, so to see mavserver.krypted.com:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --rr=mavserver.krypted.com

By default views are enabled and a view called com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public is created when the DNS server first starts up. You can create other views to control what different requests from different subnets see; however, even if you don’t create any views, you’ll need to add the –view option followed by the name of the view (–view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public) to any records that you want to create. To create a record, use the add verb. You can add a view (–view), a zone (–zone) or a record (–rr). Let’s start by adding a record to the krypted.com from our previous example. In this case we’ll add an A record called www that points to the IP address of 192.168.210.201:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.com --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

You can add a zone, by providing the –view to add the zone to and not providing a –rr option. Let’s add krypted.lan:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Use the delete verb to remove the data just created:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Or to delete that one www record earlier, just swap the add with a delete:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.com --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

Exit codes would be “Zone krypted.lan removed.” and “Removed 1 resource record.” respectively for the two commands. You can also use the –option option when creating objects, along with the following options (each taken as a value followed by an =, with this information taken by the help page):

  • allow-transfer Takes one or more address match list entry. Address match list entries consist of any of these forms: IP addresses, Subnets or Keywords.
  • allow-recursion Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-update Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query-cache Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • forwarders Takes one or more IP addresses, e.g. 10.1.1.1
  • directory Takes a directory path
  • tkey-gssapi-credential Takes a kerberos service principal
  • tkey-domain Takes a kerberos realm
  • update-policy Takes one complete update-policy entry where you can grant or deny various matched objects and specify the dentity of the user/machine that is allowed/disallowed to update.. You can also identify match-type (Type of match to be used in evaulating the entry) and match-name (Name used to match) as well as rr-types (Resource record types that can be updated)

Overall, this command shows a commitment to continuing to make the service better, when you add records or remove them you can instantly refresh the Server app and see the updates. It’s clear a lot of work went into this and it’s a great tool for when you’re imaging systems and want to create records back on a server or when you’re trying to script the creation of a bulk list of records (e.g. from a cached file from a downed host). It also makes working with Views as easy as I’ve seen it in most platforms and is overall a breeze to work with as compared to using the serveradmin command to populate objects so the GUI doesn’t break when you update records by hitting files directly.

October 16th, 2014

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Network Infrastructure

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

OS X Server supports running a traditional bind implementation of DNS. You can define a record for most any name, including google.com, www.google.com, www.www.google.com, etc. You can use this to redirect subdomains. In this example, we’ll create an A Record to point www.google.com to 127.0.0.1 without breaking other google.com subdomains. To get started, let’s use the DNS service in the Server app to create test.www.google.com. The reason for this is that OS X will then create a zone file for www.google.com. If we created www.google.com instead, then OS X would automatically create google.com, which would break the other subdomains. To do so, open Server app and click on the DNS Service. Then click on the plus sign to create a new record.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.55.58 AM

Now, if you restart dns and ping test.www.google.com you should see the referenced IP. To then change www.google.com, we’d edit the zone file stored at /Library/Server/named/db.www.krypted.com. This file will look like this when you first open it:

www.google.com. 10800 IN SOA www.google.com. admin.www.google.com. (
2014092301 ; serial
3600 ; refresh (1 hour)
900 ; retry (15 minutes)
1209600 ; expire (2 weeks)
86400 ; minimum (1 day)
)
10800 IN NS test.www.google.com.
test.www.google.com. 10800 IN A 127.0.0.1

We’ll add an a record for a.www.google.com:

a.www.google.com. 10801 IN A 127.0.0.1

Now, to change the apex record, you’d just replace the name you’ve been using with an @:

@ 10801 IN A 127.0.0.1

Good luck!

September 23rd, 2014

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Network Infrastructure, sites, Ubuntu, Unix

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Chapter 5 of my next book is now available from TidBits.com for members at http://tidbits.com/article/14840.

TCo OS X Server 1.0 Cover for PDF

While much of the chapter ended up on the cutting room floor, it’s worth mentioning that it is tailored to the audience. I think I learned a valuable lesson here, in reviewing too much vs. too little vs. just enough. Thanks again to Adam and Tanya for their infinite patience and wisdom!

June 17th, 2014

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , ,

Any time doing a migration of data from one IP to another where that data has a DNS record that points users towards the data, we need to keep the amount of time it takes to repoint the record to a minimum. To see the TTL of a given record, let’s run dig using +trace, +nocmd to turn off showing the version and query options, +noall to turn off display flags, +answer to still show the answer section of my reponse and most importantly for these purposes +ttlid to toggle showing the TTL on. Here, we’ll use these to lookup the TTL for the www.krypted.com A record:

dig +trace +nocmd +noall +answer +ttlid a www.krypted.com

The output follows the CNAME (as many a www record happen to be) to the A record and shows the TTL value (3600) for each:

www.krypted.com. 3600 IN CNAME krypted.com.
krypted.com. 3600 IN A 199.19.85.14

We can also lookup the MX using the same structure, just swapping out the a for an MX and the FQDN with just the domain name itself:

dig +trace +nocmd +noall +answer +ttlid mx krypted.com

The response is a similar output where

krypted.com. 3600 IN MX 0 smtp.secureserver.net.
krypted.com. 3600 IN MX 10 mailstore1.secureserver.net.

January 23rd, 2014

Posted In: Active Directory, cloud, Consulting, iPhone, Kerio, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Microsoft Exchange Server, Network Infrastructure, Windows Server

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

DNS is DNS. And named is named. Except in OS X Server. The configuration files for the DNS services in OS X Server are stored in /Library/Server/named. This represents a faux root of named configuration data, similar to how that configuration data is stored in /var/named on most other platforms. Having the data in /Library/Server/ makes it more portable across systems.

Traditionally, you would edit this configuration data by simply editing the configuration files, and that’s absolutely still an option. In Mavericks Server (Server 3), a new command is available at /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework called dnsconfig. The dnsconfig command appears simple at first. However, the options available are actually far more complicated than they initially appear. The verbs available include help (show help information), list (show the contents of configurations and zone files), add (create records and zones) and delete (remove records and zones).

To view data available in the service, use the list verb. Options available when using the list verb include –acl (show ACLs), –view (show BIND view data), –zone (show domains configured in the service), –rr (show resource records) and –rrtype (show types of resource records). For example, let’s say you have a domain called pretendco.lan and you would like to view information about that zone. You could use the dnsconfig command along with the list verb and then the –zone option and the domain name:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --zone=pretendco.lan

The output would show you information about the listed zone, usually including View data:

Views:
com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public
Zones:
pretendco.lan
Options:
allow-transfer: none
allow-update: none

To see a specific record, use the –rr option, followed by = and then the fqdn, so to see mavserver.pretendco.lan:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig list --rr=mavserver.pretendco.lan

By default views are enabled and a view called com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public is created when the DNS server first starts up. You can create other views to control what different requests from different subnets see; however, even if you don’t create any views, you’ll need to add the –view option followed by the name of the view (–view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public) to any records that you want to create. To create a record, use the add verb. You can add a view (–view), a zone (–zone) or a record (–rr). Let’s start by adding a record to the pretendco.lan from our previous example. In this case we’ll add an A record called www that points to the IP address of 192.168.210.201:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=pretendco.lan --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

You can add a zone, by providing the –view to add the zone to and not providing a –rr option. Let’s add krypted.lan:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig add --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Use the delete verb to remove the data just created:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=krypted.lan

Or to delete that one www record earlier, just swap the add with a delete:

/Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DNSManager.framework/dnsconfig delete --view=com.apple.ServerAdmin.DNS.public --zone=pretendco.lan --rr=www A 192.168.210.201

Exit codes would be “Zone krypted.lan removed.” and “Removed 1 resource record.” respectively for the two commands. You can also use the –option option when creating objects, along with the following options (each taken as a value followed by an =, with this information taken by the help page):

  • allow-transfer Takes one or more address match list entry. Address match list entries consist of any of these forms: IP addresses, Subnets or Keywords.
  • allow-recursion Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-update Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • allow-query-cache Takes one or more address match list entry.
  • forwarders Takes one or more IP addresses, e.g. 10.1.1.1
  • directory Takes a directory path
  • tkey-gssapi-credential Takes a kerberos service principal
  • tkey-domain Takes a kerberos realm
  • update-policy Takes one complete update-policy entry where you can grant or deny various matched objects and specify the dentity of the user/machine that is allowed/disallowed to update.. You can also identify match-type (Type of match to be used in evaulating the entry) and match-name (Name used to match) as well as rr-types (Resource record types that can be updated)

Overall, this command is one of the better updates we’ve seen from Apple when it comes to managing DNS in a long time. It shows a commitment to continuing to make the service better, when you add records or remove them you can instantly refresh the Server app and see the updates. It’s clear a lot of work went into this and it’s a great tool for when you’re imaging systems and want to create records back on a server or when you’re trying to script the creation of a bulk list of records (e.g. from a cached file from a downed host). It also makes working with Views as easy as I’ve seen it in most platforms and is overall a breeze to work with as compared to using the serveradmin command to populate objects so the GUI doesn’t break when you update records by hitting files directly.

October 22nd, 2013

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Mass Deployment

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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