WIDE project and Internet Systems Consortium, in cooperation with Toshiba Corporation, have completed performance enhancement of the BIND9 DNS server, thereby contributing to the advancement of technology in the Internet infrastructure
Internet Systems Consortium
WIDE Project (hereinafter "WIDE"; Representative: Jun Murai, Vice President and Prof., Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University) and Internet Systems Consortium (hereinafter "ISC"; President: Paul Vixie) in collaboration with Toshiba Corporation (hereinafter "Toshiba"; President and CEO, Atsutoshi Nishida) have completed a collaborative research project, where the performance of BIND9, the latest version of the standard Domain Name System (DNS) server software, has been greatly enhanced. In particular, the response performance of BIND9 was more than doubled for authoritative name servers running on multi-processor systems.
The insufficient performance of BIND9 in the multi-processor environment has been a long-standing problem for this version to get wider deployment. BIND9's lackluster performance compared to BIND8 has been an obstacle to deployment for some segments of BIND's user population. Since new DNS technologies are usually spearheaded by ISC in their BIND9 software system, slow deployment of BIND9 has slowed the deployment of new DNS technologies such as Secure DNS.
Toshiba has successfully solved the performance problem by reorganizing overall implementation architecture for the thread support. For example, in the original implementation, multiple threads frequently refer to and modify the same memory regions, and the access conflict remarkably degrades the performance. On the other hand, the improved implementation divides the memory regions so that multiple threads can run in parallel as much as possible (see Figure 1). In addition, the database structure of the server was fundamentally revised in order to avoid the conflict between the threads. These improvements makes 2.1 times higher performance in maximum compared to the original implementation (see Figure 2), still retaining the richer functionality.
Toshiba also optimized the structure of zone file (containing domain name data loaded by the DNS server) on this research. By this optimization, the server can start working much faster, and the availability of DNS service was drastically improved particularly when huge data containing lots of domain names is used. The new version of BIND9 can start up more than 2 times faster than the older version when loading a large-scale server dataset (containing about 8.5 millions of domain names).
Figure 1: Parallel execution of threads
Figure 2: Response performance evaluation of root DNS server setting.
Here, ¨old¨, ¨new¨, ¨thread¨, and ¨nothread¨ means existing/improved implementation and whether threads are enabled or not. On BIND8 and BIND9-nothread, the number of thread has no impacts on the results. BIND9 (newthread, target) shows the target performance of improved implementation on this experiment.
The DNS is the worldwide scale autonomous distributed database system which maps names (such as www.toshiba.co.jp) and address (such as 184.108.40.206) on the Internet. This mapping function is an important infrastructure for many Internet applications;
not only existing Internet applications (such as e-mail and WWW) but also newer applications (such as network appliances or IP telephones) rely on the DNS.
Domain names are represented in the hierarchical structure as shown in Figure 3. One major characteristic of the DNS is that this structure is managed by countless servers distributed over the Internet. Among those servers, the servers which manage the top of the hierarchy (Root), called the root servers, are particularly important for operating the whole DNS system. The root servers handle a huge number of DNS queries from clients all over the world.
Figure 3: Hierarchical structure of Domain Name
As the Internet has widely deployed, the DNS has also been facing increasing pressure as a core feature of the Internet. Today, a DNS server is required to support additional domain name resources for IPv6, the next generation Internet standard, and to have sufficient performance for robust operation even under denial of service attacks. BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) is the most popular DNS server used in the Internet developed by ISC (Internet Systems Consortium) that is US based nonprofit corporation.
The joint development by Toshiba and ISC in this area started in 2001, which was part of the collaboration between the WIDE Project and ISC for enhancement of IPv6 support in DNS. Since 2004, Toshiba was adopted as a research project of Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE) by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, the collaborative research has been accelerated further, targeting not only better support for IPv6, but also general performance enhancement of BIND9.
The research results have already been incorporated into the next major version of BIND9 (9.4), and are now publicly available as an alpha release (9.4.0a5) as open source software. A paper on this research was accepted by the USENIX technical annual conference, one of the highest level of conferences for practical software development. The research results will also be presented at final report sessions of SCOPE on June 19th.
Paul Vixie, president of ISC, said, "The researchers from Toshiba have worked as a senior technologist and architect. Their work has great contribution for the BIND software development project."
Toshiba will continuously make effort to do such collaboration worldwide in order to help the healthy growth of the next generation Internet.
Professor Murai, leader of the WIDE project, stated, "I have been dreaming for a long time that research and engineering activities in Japan make clear commitment to building the next generation Internet. The symbolistic outcome from the relationship between Toshiba and ISC is a big step towards this dream."
WIDE (Widely Integrated Distributed Environment) established in 1988 as a research consortium working on the practical research and development of Internet-related technologies. It has made significant contribution to the development of the Internet through collaborating with many other bodies including 133 companies and 11 universities to carry out joint research projects in a wide range of fields, and through operating "M.ROOT-SERVERS.NET", one of the Root DNS servers, since 1997.
Internet Systems Consortium
Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3), public benefit corporation with a long history of developing and maintaining the production quality Open Source software -- BIND and DHCP. ISC has increased its focus to include enhancing the stability of the global DNS directly through reliable F-root nameserver operations and ongoing operation of a DNS crisis coordination center, ISC's OARC for DNS. ISC is also engaged with further protocol development efforts, particularly in the areas of DNS evolution and facilitating the transition to IPv6. ISC is supported by the donations of generous sponsors, program membership fees and specific fees for services. For program or donation information, please visit ISC’s website at http://www.isc.org
Toshiba Corporation R&D Center
1 Komukai-Toshiba-Cho, Saiwai-ku, Kawasaki.