RFC 3403 Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part Three: The Domain Name System (DNS) Database

[Docs] [txt|pdf] [draft-ietf-urn-...] [Tracker] [Diff1] [Diff2] [IPR] [Errata]

Errata Exist
Network Working Group                                        M. Mealling
Request for Comments: 3403                                      VeriSign
Obsoletes: 2915, 2168                                       October 2002
Category: Standards Track

              Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS)
           Part Three: The Domain Name System (DNS) Database

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document describes a Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS)
   Database using the Domain Name System (DNS) as a distributed database
   of Rules.  The Keys are domain-names and the Rules are encoded using
   the Naming Authority Pointer (NAPTR) Resource Record (RR).

   Since this document obsoletes RFC 2915, it is the official
   specification for the NAPTR DNS Resource Record.  It is also part of
   a series that is completely specified in "Dynamic Delegation
   Discovery System (DDDS) Part One: The Comprehensive DDDS" (RFC 3401).
   It is very important to note that it is impossible to read and
   understand any document in this series without reading the others.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 1]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

Table of Contents

   1.    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2.    Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   3.    DDDS Database Specification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   4.    NAPTR RR Format  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   4.1   Packet Format  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   4.2   Additional Information Processing  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   4.2.1 Additional Section processing by DNS servers . . . . . . . .  7
   4.2.2 Additional Section processing by resolver/applications . . .  7
   4.3   Master File Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   5.    Application Specifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   6.    Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   6.1   URN Example  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   6.2   E164 Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   7.    Advice for DNS Administrators  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   8.    Notes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   9.    IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   10.   Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
         References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
         Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
         Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

1. Introduction

   The Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) is used to implement
   lazy binding of strings to data, in order to support dynamically
   configured delegation systems.  The DDDS functions by mapping some
   unique string to data stored within a DDDS Database by iteratively
   applying string transformation rules until a terminal condition is

   This document describes the way in which the Domain Name System (DNS)
   is used as a data store for the Rules that allow a DDDS Application
   to function.  It does not specify any particular application or usage
   scenario.  The entire series of documents is specified in "Dynamic
   Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part One: The Comprehensive DDDS"
   (RFC 3401) [1].  It is very important to note that it is impossible
   to read and understand any document in that series without reading
   the related documents.

   The Naming Authority Pointer (NAPTR) DNS Resource Record (RR)
   specified here was originally produced by the URN Working Group as a
   way to encode rule-sets in DNS so that the delegated sections of a
   Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) could be decomposed in such a way
   that they could be changed and re-delegated over time.  The result
   was a Resource Record that included a regular expression that would
   be used by a client program to rewrite a string into a domain name.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 2]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

   Regular expressions were chosen for their compactness to expressivity
   ratio allowing for a great deal of information to be encoded in a
   rather small DNS packet.

   Over time this process was generalized for other Applications and
   Rule Databases.  This document defines a Rules Database absent any
   particular Application as there may be several Applications all
   taking advantage of this particular Rules Database.

2. Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [6].

   All other terminology, especially capitalized terms, is taken from

3. DDDS Database Specification

   General Description:
      This database uses the Domain Name System (DNS) as specified in
      [8] and [7].

      The character set used to specify the various values of the NAPTR
      records is UTF-8 [17].  Care must be taken to ensure that, in the
      case where either the input or the output to the substitution
      expression contains code points outside of the ASCII/Unicode
      equivalence in UTF-8, any UTF-8 is interpreted as a series of
      code-points instead of as a series of bytes.  This is to ensure
      that the internationalized features of the POSIX Extended Regular
      Expressions are able to match their intended code-points.
      Substitution expressions MUST NOT be written where they depend on
      a specific POSIX locale since this would cause substitution
      expressions to loose their ability to be universally applicable.

      All DNS resource records have a Time To Live (TTL) associated with
      them.  When the number of seconds has passed since the record was
      retrieved the record is no longer valid and a new query must be
      used to retrieve the new records.  Thus, as mentioned in the DDDS
      Algorithm, there can be the case where a given Rule expires.  In
      the case where an application attempts to fall back to previously
      retrieved sets of Rules (either in the case of a bad delegation
      path or some network or server failure) the application MUST
      ensure that none of the records it is relying on have expired.  In
      the case where even a single record has expired, the application
      is required to start over at the beginning of the algorithm.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 3]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

   Key Format:
      A Key is a validly constructed DNS domain-name.

   Lookup Request:
      In order to request a set of rules for a given Key, the client
      issues a request, following standard DNS rules, for NAPTR Resource
      Records for the given domain-name.

   Lookup Response:
      The response to a request for a given Key (domain-name) will be a
      series of NAPTR records.  The format of a NAPTR Resource Record
      can be found in Section 4.

   Rule Insertion Procedure:
      Rules are inserted by adding new records to the appropriate DNS
      zone.  If a Rule produces a Key that exists in a particular zone
      then only the entity that has administrative control of that zone
      can specify the Rule associated with that Key.

   Collision Avoidance:
      In the case where two Applications may use this Database (which is
      actually the case with the ENUM and URI Resolution Applications,
      Section 6.2), there is a chance of collision between rules where
      two NAPTR records appear in the same domain but they apply to more
      than one Application.  There are three ways to avoid collisions:

      *  create a new zone within the domain in common that contains
         only NAPTR records that are appropriate for the application.
         E.g., all URI Resolution records would exist under
         urires.example.com and all ENUM records would be under
         enum.example.com.  In the case where this is not possible due
         to lack of control over the upstream delegation the second
         method is used.

      *  write the regular expression such that it contains enough of
         the Application Unique string to disambiguate it from any
         other.  For example, the URI Resolution Application would be
         able to use the scheme name on the left hand side to anchor the
         regular expression match to that scheme.  An ENUM specific
         record in that same zone would be able to anchor the left hand
         side of the match with the "+" character which is defined by
         ENUM to be at the beginning of every Application Unique String.
         This way a given Application Unique String can only match one
         or the other record, not both.

      *  if two Application use different Flags or Services values then
         a record from another Application will be ignored since it
         doesn't apply to the Services/Flags in question.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 4]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

4. NAPTR RR Format

4.1 Packet Format

   The packet format of the NAPTR RR is given below.  The DNS type code
   for NAPTR is 35.

      The packet format for the NAPTR record is as follows
                                       1  1  1  1  1  1
         0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5
       |                     ORDER                     |
       |                   PREFERENCE                  |
       /                     FLAGS                     /
       /                   SERVICES                    /
       /                    REGEXP                     /
       /                  REPLACEMENT                  /
       /                                               /

   <character-string> and <domain-name> as used here are defined in RFC
   1035 [7].

      A 16-bit unsigned integer specifying the order in which the NAPTR
      records MUST be processed in order to accurately represent the
      ordered list of Rules.  The ordering is from lowest to highest.
      If two records have the same order value then they are considered
      to be the same rule and should be selected based on the
      combination of the Preference values and Services offered.

      Although it is called "preference" in deference to DNS
      terminology, this field is equivalent to the Priority value in the
      DDDS Algorithm.  It is a 16-bit unsigned integer that specifies
      the order in which NAPTR records with equal Order values SHOULD be
      processed, low numbers being processed before high numbers.  This
      is similar to the preference field in an MX record, and is used so
      domain administrators can direct clients towards more capable
      hosts or lighter weight protocols.  A client MAY look at records
      with higher preference values if it has a good reason to do so
      such as not supporting some protocol or service very well.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 5]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

      The important difference between Order and Preference is that once
      a match is found the client MUST NOT consider records with a
      different Order but they MAY process records with the same Order
      but different Preferences.  The only exception to this is noted in
      the second important Note in the DDDS algorithm specification
      concerning allowing clients to use more complex Service
      determination between steps 3 and 4 in the algorithm.  Preference
      is used to give communicate a higher quality of service to rules
      that are considered the same from an authority standpoint but not
      from a simple load balancing standpoint.

      It is important to note that DNS contains several load balancing
      mechanisms and if load balancing among otherwise equal services
      should be needed then methods such as SRV records or multiple A
      records should be utilized to accomplish load balancing.

      A <character-string> containing flags to control aspects of the
      rewriting and interpretation of the fields in the record.  Flags
      are single characters from the set A-Z and 0-9.  The case of the
      alphabetic characters is not significant.  The field can be empty.

      It is up to the Application specifying how it is using this
      Database to define the Flags in this field.  It must define which
      ones are terminal and which ones are not.

      A <character-string> that specifies the Service Parameters
      applicable to this this delegation path.  It is up to the
      Application Specification to specify the values found in this

      A <character-string> containing a substitution expression that is
      applied to the original string held by the client in order to
      construct the next domain name to lookup.  See the DDDS Algorithm
      specification for the syntax of this field.

      As stated in the DDDS algorithm, The regular expressions MUST NOT
      be used in a cumulative fashion, that is, they should only be
      applied to the original string held by the client, never to the
      domain name produced by a previous NAPTR rewrite.  The latter is
      tempting in some applications but experience has shown such use to
      be extremely fault sensitive, very error prone, and extremely
      difficult to debug.

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 6]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

      A <domain-name> which is the next domain-name to query for
      depending on the potential values found in the flags field.  This
      field is used when the regular expression is a simple replacement
      operation.  Any value in this field MUST be a fully qualified
      domain-name.  Name compression is not to be used for this field.

      This field and the REGEXP field together make up the Substitution
      Expression in the DDDS Algorithm.  It is simply a historical
      optimization specifically for DNS compression that this field
      exists.  The fields are also mutually exclusive.  If a record is
      returned that has values for both fields then it is considered to
      be in error and SHOULD be either ignored or an error returned.

4.2 Additional Information Processing

   Additional section processing requires upgraded DNS servers, thus it
   will take many years before applications can expect to see relevant
   records in the additional information section.

4.2.1 Additional Section Processing by DNS Servers

   DNS servers MAY add RRsets to the additional information section that
   are relevant to the answer and have the same authenticity as the data
   in the answer section.  Generally this will be made up of A and SRV
   records but the exact records depends on the application.

4.2.2 Additional Section Processing by Resolver/Applications

   Applications MAY inspect the Additional Information section for
   relevant records but Applications MUST NOT require that records of
   any type be in the Additional Information section of any DNS response
   in order for clients to function.  All Applications must be capable
   of handling responses from nameservers that never fill in the
   Additional Information part of a response.

4.3 Master File Format

   The master file format follows the standard rules in RFC-1035.  Order
   and preference, being 16-bit unsigned integers, shall be an integer
   between 0 and 65535.  The Flags and Services and Regexp fields are
   all quoted <character-string>s.  Since the Regexp field can contain
   numerous backslashes and thus should be treated with care.  See
   Section 7 for how to correctly enter and escape the regular

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 7]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

5. Application Specifications

   This DDDS Database is usable by any application that makes use of the
   DDDS algorithm.  In addition to the items required to specify a DDDS
   Application, an application wishing to use this Database must also
   define the following values:

   o  What domain the Key that is produced by the First Well Known Rule
      belongs to.  Any application must ensure that its rules do not
      collide with rules used by another application making use of this
      Database.  For example, the 'foo' application might have all of
      its First Well Known Keys be found in the 'foo.net' zone.

   o  What the allowed values for the Services and Protocols fields are.

   o  What the expected output is of the terminal rewrite rule in
      addition to how the Flags are actually encoded and utilized.

6. Examples

6.1 URN Example

   The NAPTR record was originally created for use with the Uniform
   Resource Name (URN) Resolver Discovery Service (RDS) [15].  This
   example details how a particular URN would use the NAPTR record to
   find a resolver service that can answer questions about the URN.  See
   [2] for the definitive specification for this Application.

   Consider a URN namespace based on MIME Content-Ids (this is very
   hypothetical so do not rely on this).  The URN might look like this:


   This Application's First Well Known Rule is to extract the characters
   between the first and second colon.  For this URN that would be
   'cid'.  The Application also specifies that, in order to build a
   Database-valid Key, the string 'urn.arpa' should be appended to the
   result of the First Well Known Rule.  The result is 'cid.urn.arpa'.
   Next, the client queries the DNS for NAPTR records for the domain-
   name 'cid.urn.arpa'.  The result is a single record:

  ;;       order pref flags service        regexp           replacement
  IN NAPTR 100   10   ""    ""  "!^urn:cid:.+@([^\.]+\.)(.*)$!\2!i"    .

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 8]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

   Since there is only one record, ordering the responses is not a
   problem.  The replacement field is empty, so the pattern provided in
   the regexp field is used.  We apply that regexp to the entire URN to
   see if it matches, which it does.  The \2 part of the substitution
   expression returns the string "example.com".  Since the flags field
   is empty, the lookup is not terminal and our next probe to DNS is for
   more NAPTR records where the new domain is 'example.com'.

   Note that the rule does not extract the full domain name from the
   CID, instead it assumes the CID comes from a host and extracts its
   domain.  While all hosts, such as 'bar', could have their very own
   NAPTR, maintaining those records for all the machines at a site could
   be an intolerable burden.  Wildcards are not appropriate here since
   they only return results when there is no exactly matching names
   already in the system.

   The record returned from the query on "example.com" might look like:

;;      order pref flags service           regexp replacement
IN NAPTR 100  50  "a"    "z3950+N2L+N2C"     ""   cidserver.example.com.
IN NAPTR 100  50  "a"    "rcds+N2C"          ""   cidserver.example.com.
IN NAPTR 100  50  "s"    "http+N2L+N2C+N2R"  ""   www.example.com.

   Continuing with the example, note that the values of the order and
   preference fields are equal in all records, so the client is free to
   pick any record.  The Application defines the flag 'a' to mean a
   terminal lookup and that the output of the rewrite will be a domain-
   name for which an A record should be queried.  Once the client has
   done that, it has the following information: the host, its IP
   address, the protocol, and the services available via that protocol.
   Given these bits of information the client has enough to be able to
   contact that server and ask it questions about the URN.

   Recall that the regular expression used \2 to extract a domain name
   from the CID, and \. for matching the literal '.' characters
   separating the domain name components.  Since '\' is the escape
   character, literal occurrences of a backslash must be escaped by
   another backslash.  For the case of the cid.urn.arpa record above,
   the regular expression entered into the master file should be
   "!^urn:cid:.+@([^\\.]+\\.)(.*)$!\\2!i".  When the client code
   actually receives the record, the pattern will have been converted to

Mealling                    Standards Track                     [Page 9]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

6.2 E164 Example

   The ENUM Working Group in the IETF has specified a service that
   allows a telephone number to be mapped to a URI [18].  The
   Application Unique String for the ENUM Application is the E.164
   telephone number with the dashes removed.  The First Well Known Rule
   is to remove all characters from the the telephone number and then
   use the entire number as the first Key.  For example, the phone
   number "770-555-1212" represented as an E.164 number would be "+1-
   770-555-1212".  Converted to the Key it would be "17705551212".

   The ENUM Application at present only uses this Database.  It
   specifies that, in order to convert the first Key into a form valid
   for this Database, periods are inserted between each digit, the
   entire Key is inverted and then "e164.arpa" is appended to the end.
   The above telephone number would then read
   "".  This domain-name is then used to
   retrieve Rewrite Rules as NAPTR records.

   For this example telephone number we might get back the following
   NAPTR records:

 IN NAPTR 100 10 "u" "sip+E2U"  "!^.*$!sip:information@foo.se!i"     .
 IN NAPTR 102 10 "u" "smtp+E2U" "!^.*$!mailto:information@foo.se!i"  .

   Both the ENUM [18] and URI  Resolution [4] Applications use the 'u'
   flag.  This flag states that the Rule is terminal and that the output
   is a URI which contains the information needed to contact that
   telephone service.  ENUM also uses the same format for its Service
   Parameters.  These state that the available protocols used to access
   that telephone's service are either the Session Initiation Protocol
   or SMTP mail.

7. Advice for DNS Administrators

   Beware of regular expressions.  Not only are they difficult to get
   correct on their own, but there is the previously mentioned
   interaction with DNS.  Any backslashes in a regexp must be entered
   twice in a zone file in order to appear once in a query response.
   More seriously, the need for double backslashes has probably not been
   tested by all implementors of DNS servers.

Mealling                    Standards Track                    [Page 10]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

   In order to mitigate zone file problems, administrators should
   encourage those writing rewrite rules to utilize the 'default
   delimiter' feature of the regular expression.  In the DDDS
   specification the regular expression starts with the character that
   is to be the delimiter.  Hence if the first character of the regular
   expression is an exclamation mark ('!') for example then the regular
   expression can usually be written with fewer backslashes.

8. Notes

   A client MUST process multiple NAPTR records in the order specified
   by the "order" field, it MUST NOT simply use the first record that
   provides a known Service Parameter combination.

   When multiple RRs have the same "order" and all other criteria being
   equal, the client should use the value of the preference field to
   select the next NAPTR to consider.  However, because it will often be
   the case where preferred protocols or services exist, clients may use
   this additional criteria to sort the records.

   If the lookup after a rewrite fails, clients are strongly encouraged
   to report a failure, rather than backing up to pursue other rewrite

9. IANA Considerations

   The values for the Services and Flags fields will be determined by
   the Application that makes use of this DDDS Database.  Those values
   may require a registration mechanism and thus may need some IANA
   resources.  This specification by itself does not.

10. Security Considerations

   The NAPTR record, like any other DNS record, can be signed and
   validated according to the procedures specified in DNSSEC.

   This Database makes identifiers from other namespaces subject to the
   same attacks as normal domain names.  Since they have not been easily
   resolvable before, this may or may not be considered a problem.

   Regular expressions should be checked for sanity, not blindly passed
   to something like PERL since arbitrary code can be included and
   subsequently processed.

Mealling                    Standards Track                    [Page 11]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002


   [1] Mealling, M., "Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part
       One: The Comprehensive DDDS", RFC 3401, October 2002.

   [2] Mealling, M., "Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part
       Two: The Algorithm", RFC 3402, October 2002.

   [3] Mealling, M., "Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part
       Three: The Domain Name System (DNS) Database", RFC 3403, October

   [4] Mealling, M., "Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part
       Four: The Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) Resolution
       Application", RFC 3404, October 2002.

   [5] Mealling, M., "Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Part
       Five: URI.ARPA Assignment Procedures", RFC 3405, October 2002.

   [6] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
       Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [7] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
       specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

   [8] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities", STD
       13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

   [9] Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P. and L. Esibov, "A DNS RR for
       specifying the location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2782,
       February 2000.

   [10] Crocker, D., "Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF",
        RFC 2234, November 1997.

   [11] Daniel, R., "A Trivial Convention for using HTTP in URN
        Resolution", RFC 2169, June 1997.

   [12] IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Information Technology - Portable
        Operating System Interface (POSIX) - Part 2: Shell and Utilities
        (Vol. 1)", IEEE Std 1003.2-1992, January 1993.

   [13] Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R. and L. Masinter, "Uniform Resource
        Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", RFC 2396, August 1998.

   [14] Moats, R., "URN Syntax", RFC 2141, May 1997.

Mealling                    Standards Track                    [Page 12]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

   [15] Sollins, K., "Architectural Principles of Uniform Resource Name
        Resolution", RFC 2276, January 1998.

   [16] Daniel, R. and M. Mealling, "Resolution of Uniform Resource
        Identifiers using the Domain Name System", RFC 2168, June 1997.

   [17] Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646", RFC
        2279, January 1998.

   [18] Faltstrom, P., "E.164 number and DNS", RFC 2916, September 2000.

Author's Address

   Michael Mealling
   21345 Ridgetop Circle
   Sterling, VA  20166

   EMail: michael@neonym.net
   URI:   http://www.verisignlabs.com

Mealling                    Standards Track                    [Page 13]

RFC 3403                   DDDS DNS Database                October 2002

Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

Mealling                    Standards Track                    [Page 14]

Html markup produced by rfcmarkup 1.129b, available from https://tools.ietf.org/tools/rfcmarkup/