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DNS on Windows 2000, Second Edition by Cricket Liu, Matt Larson

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Caching

The whole resolution process may seem awfully convoluted and cumbersome to someone accustomed to simple searches through the host table. Actually, though, it’s usually quite fast. One of the features that speeds it up considerably is caching.

A name server processing a recursive query may have to send out quite a few queries to find an answer. However, it discovers a lot of information about the domain namespace as it does so. Each time it’s referred to another list of name servers, it learns that those name servers are authoritative for some zone, and it learns the addresses of those servers. At the end of the resolution process, when it finally finds the data the original querier sought, it can store that data for future reference, too. The Microsoft DNS Server even implements negative caching: if an authoritative name server responds to a query with an answer that says the domain name or data type in the query doesn’t exist, the local name server will also temporarily cache that information.

Name servers cache all this data to help speed up successive queries. The next time a resolver queries the name server for data about a domain name the name server knows something about, the process is shortened quite a bit. The name server may have cached the answer, positive or negative, in which case it simply returns the answer to the resolver. Even if it doesn’t have the answer cached, it may have learned the identities of the name servers that are authoritative for the ...

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