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Don’t get caught in a Windows BIND

Timothy Rooney

Timothy Rooney

Dec 01, 2023

Don’t get caught in a Windows BIND

The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) publishes open source domain name system (DNS) software that is considered the de facto DNS reference implementation deployed on the Internet and within enterprise networks. ISC’s BIND DNS software continues to evolve to support new features in compliance with the ongoing publication of Internet standards (RFCs) and in automating DNS functions to simplify administration.

ISC EOLs BIND on Windows

Part of all software evolution results in deprecation of features or platforms that are superseded due to value inversion with maintenance costs exceeding customer value. One such deprecation announced by ISC is the support of Microsoft Windows as a platform on which BIND installs and runs. The current BIND version, 9.18, does not support the Windows platform; version 9.16 is the last version to support Windows platforms but will be end-of-life on or about March 2024.

If you currently manage implementations of BIND DNS running on Microsoft Windows platforms, you should plan to migrate platforms. Four major alternatives consist of:

  • Microsoft DNS Server on Microsoft Windows Server – this approach enables you to continue using the Microsoft Windows operating system while migrating your DNS application from BIND to Windows.
  • ISC BIND on a Linux server – you can continue using the leading DNS reference implementation with a move to a Linux operating system such as Debian, RedHat, Ubuntu and others.
  • DNS cloud service – primarily for external resolution of your public namespace, DNS cloud services enable deployment of external zones with services such as Azure DNS or Route 53.
  • DNS appliances – Most DNS appliance products, including those from Cygna Labs.

Each organization weighing these alternatives should consider required capabilities, manageability, training impacts, security feature support, among other organization-specific requirements.

DNS Manageability and Security

Certainly, the first option in migrating from BIND to Microsoft DNS preserves the server operating system support for “all Windows” organizations and Microsoft DNS supports many features for configurability, manageability via Microsoft Management Console, incremental training for DNS support for the “Windows support team” though configuration of DNS is much different on Windows and may require administrator training unless your DDI system supports both and can bridge the transition easily. Both DDI solutions from Cygna Labs, IPControl and VitalQIP support stock Microsoft DNS and BIND. Microsoft DNS does provide extensive DNS security features though operating system controls many be required and it lacks DNS tunneling detection and shutdown.

Migrating BIND from Windows to Linux enables the DNS level feature set, manageability, training, and security capabilities to carry forward, though those in the organization responsible for servers and operating systems would certainly be impacted. Support of a cloud DNS service offloads server administration in-house and provides global resolution of your namespace. A new API or user interface must be learned to migrate manageability, again unless your DDI system such as those from Cygna Labs, supports cloud DNS configuration.

DNS appliances offer simplicity with security. Purpose-built hardware and virtualized appliances for private and public clouds maximize flexibility of deployment while providing hardened Linux platforms to reduce exploitation of server vulnerabilities. Many built-in and supplemental DNS security features are supported as well to help you better secure your networks and support cyberthreat investigations. No matter which path forward you choose, Cygna Labs DDI solutions can help you centrally and holistically manage your diverse DNS server vendors, versions, and platforms.