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Take Control of OS X Server, Chapter 5: DNS Service

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This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of OS X Server,” by Charles Edge, scheduled for public release later in 2014. Apart from Chapter 1: Introducing OS X Server, and Chapter 2: Choosing Server Hardware, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Take Control of OS X Server” Streaming in TidBITS for details.

DNS Service

Now that you’ve configured your server and set up Open Directory, we can move on to configuring other services. The first we’ll look at is DNS, or Domain Name System, which is a system for naming computers, resources, and services. If you’ve been following along in this book, you’ve already turned on the DNS service in order to enable Open Directory. Now, it’s time to improve and extend your DNS configuration.

Although DNS configuration beyond what you already did in Turn On DNS, in Chapter 3, isn’t absolutely necessary, a little additional configuration can provide improved performance due to cached domain-name lookups and let your client Macs use names rather than IP addresses to refer to the server and its services. For example, your users will have an easier time remembering mavserver.pretendco.lan than And, to make it even easier, you can even associate names with certain services, like file sharing, since it’s easier to remember that the internal file server is called files.pretendco.lan than mavserver.pretendco.lan (even if they’re just two names for the same server).

Another benefit of using names rather than IP addresses is that if you move certain services to other servers in the future, you can just, for instance, repoint files.pretendco.lan at a different machine, and your users don’t have to change anything to access your file server.

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