A case could be made for nomination of DNS as the most taken for granted service in a modern network. Without it, the Internet is effectively “broken,” as many hapless tech support veterans will gladly tell you. Email, web browsing, streaming video and the iTunes Music Store are all dead in the water without the ability to translate cryptic IP addresses to more palatable hostnames, and the irony is that the vast majority of Internet end users have no idea what it is.
Directory Services adds another suite of functionality that is effectively useless without name resolution—both Microsoft’s Active Directory and Apple’s Open Directory rely on healthy DNS records. Even more important are the concepts of accuracy, and DNS security; a lack of DNS is actually preferable to bad DNS, which could result in submittal of credit card numbers or other valuable data into sites that are not legitimate.
The first question to ask yourself, though, is “Do I really need to run my own DNS server?” Many ISPs provide DNS services for their customers, and Apple’s tools are not easy or full-featured enough to really insulate the administrator from DNS’s complexity. Unless you have a deep background in DNS administration, it’s best to let someone more qualified handle it.
Mac OS X employs the BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) package for DNS services. Probably the widest distributed DNS package in existence, BIND can be complex to maintain. This chapter provides an adequate treatment of ...