What’s in a name? That famous question makes me wonder if names are really very meaningful or even interesting. Names sure are important to the proper working of networked devices. No getting around it, you must have solid working name resolution if you expect to have a working implementation of <insert your application or service here>.
Common knowledge? I would have thought so. But I see this being overlooked all the time. I was talking to a friend just the other day who was complaining of some server issues. Part of the problem is that the legacy name resolution situation is absolutely choking them. They were divested a few years back but retained a lot of the stuff that they had when the divestiture took place. Cleaning that up is a real trick. To make it more interesting, they’re in the middle of a migration from the legacy environment to a new Active Directory environment. Oh, and just for icing on the cake, they’re also changing network blocks internally. Nothing but net!
Detour- what is included in the name resolution service? For me, I define the name resolution service in most enterprises as NETBIOS name resolution, DNS, LMHOSTS files, HOSTS files, and broadcast query. All of those individual components together make up my name resolution service. You’d be surprised how many people are so focused on one component of name resolution that they totally forget how they interact and build on one another. Without some advanced planning and thinking, this can become a mess that nobody can troubleshoot in a reasonable amount of time. Not good for your business.
Most of the issues reported don’t appear to be related to name resolution; on the surface at least. Time-outs talking to servers, intermittent connection issues, applications that work one second and not the next, etc. Can all the issues be blamed on name resolution?
The problem is, you can’t conclusively say no to any of those issues. My argument is that it’s worth the pain of fixing every bit of those issues. So far, I’m a minority in my thinking. Fortunately, I’m used to that. I’ll also know the next time some strange, head-scratching issue comes up, that I’ll get a head start if asked to help troubleshoot. I’ll just look to name resolution first.