Upcoming Maintenance, AKA: Nuintari Will be Sleepy

The Domain Name System, often referred to simply as DNS is fundamentally important to internet communications. DNS is the system that translates easily remember names, such a www.amplex.net into something a computer can understand. Computers don’t understand English, or even the crazy subset of English that make up most domain names. When you type www.amplex.net into your browser, one of the first things your computer tries to do is figure out what that really is in a form it can understand. It asks one of your ISP’s DNS servers, Amplex has three. One of those DNS servers should get back to you, and inform your computer that www.amplex.net is in fact 64.246.100.105. This makes far more sense to your computer, and it will begin connecting to the server that houses www.amplex.net. This holds true for just about any site you wish to get to. Most DNS servers don’t actually know the answer to most sites you are going to try to find, but they know who to ask. Amplex’s DNS servers know everything about anything at amplex.net, as well as any other websites we happen to host. For anything else, we ask another set of DNS servers. Those servers might know the answer, or more likely, they also know who to ask. After many questions, you will usually get the information you seek. Our DNS servers will then hold onto that information for a little while, in case someone else also needs that information. This process is calling “caching.”

Unfortunately, almost all caching DNS servers have recently been observed to contain a software issue where a malicious third party could interfere with the data in the DNS server’s cache. So, when you try to reach www.whatever.com, your computer might be tricked into going to someplace nasty, with a virus waiting for you. Never fear, this was just a proof of concept, no known exploits exist for this yet, and most DNS software vendors, ours included had patches released this past weekend. Of the three Amplex DNS servers, I have successfully patched two of them without incident, the third one, the busiest of the three, and the one most likely to cause a disruption when I bring it down for a patch, is getting patched tonight, very late tonight. Like I said, we have three DNS servers, and most customers are configured to use the two closest to them for name resolution. But, the most centrally located, and therefore closest to the most people is the one I am working on tonight. basically means, if you are surfing the web tonight, you might notice, as I have to reboot the machine twice to properly apply this patch.

Long story short, expect a brief outage, starting at about 1am tonight, as I work my magic.

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