Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

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/ 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 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/ list The output would show you information about the listed zone, usually including View data: Views:
allow-transfer: none
allow-update: none To see a specific record, use the –rr option, followed by = and then the fqdn, so to see /Applications/ list By default views are enabled and a view called 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 (– 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 from our previous example. In this case we’ll add an A record called www that points to the IP address of /Applications/ add --rr=www A 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/ add --zone=krypted.lan Use the delete verb to remove the data just created: /Applications/ delete --zone=krypted.lan Or to delete that one www record earlier, just swap the add with a delete: /Applications/ delete --rr=www A 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.
  • 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: , , , , , , , , ,

In DNS, recursion references the process where a name server will make DNS queries to other name servers on behalf of client systems. Most name servers are simply DNS clients that cache information for a specified amount of time. Recursion is disabled by default on most name servers. In Mac OS X recursion is enabled for subnets local to the server only.
In environments where you wish to provide recursive queries you can enable recursion by opening Server Admin, clicking on the disclosure triangle for the server you will be configuring and then clicking on the DNS service. From here, click on the Settings icon in the Server Admin toolbar and then in the section for Accept recursive queries from the following networks you would click on the plus sign (+). In this field provide the IP address or netmask that you would like to enable recursion for. For example, if you’re enabling recursion for all computers on the subnet and the subnet mask for those clients is then you would enter:
This will allow recursion for those clients by updating the /etc/dns/ file. Alternatively you can edit the setting by hand yourself, but don’t do so using the /etc/dns/ file or you could introduce instability into the DNS service and Server Admin could overwrite your settings. Rather, edit the /etc/named.conf file. In named.conf add the following line in the options section:
allow-recursion {;};
Overall, this is a fairly straight forward technical note, but there is an underlying theme that Apple is doing a really good job of leveraging an include methodology with regards to configuration files. Inside the /etc/named.conf, also in the options section, you’ll notice that there is a line that begins with include and specifies the path of the Server managed file, which uses the word apple at the end of it. This is mirrored in zone files as well. While not all open source services use this method for allowing different configurations in the GUI and the command line, I hope they all will at some point.

September 29th, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , ,