Insite Software News
Insite Software Goes Agile
The Insite Software R & D Department recently implemented an adaptation of the Agile Development Methodology to ensure efficient and responsive releases of software enhancements to our customer base. Here are some key highlights of what we've accomplished since we implemented this methodology:
- A thorough review of our standard InsiteCommerce ERP integrations to assure the exchange of data and business rules behave as expected.
- Resolved a series of reported InsiteShip/InsiteManifest defects that will result in the release of a service pack (.420 SP4) by the end of the month..
Critical Question: What is DNS?
DNS has been a topic of recent interest due to some of the denial of service attacks on one of the larger providers. Many of our customers were affected by these attacks, which prompted them to ask: what is it, why do I need it, and what can I do to insure my website is available from a DNS perspective.
DNS, or Domain Name System, is a core level network service that translates the IP address of a host on the network to a more human friendly name. For example, DNS allows you to visit www.insitesoft.com instead of 184.108.40.206. When you type an address into your web browser, your machine sends a DNS request to a server requesting the IP address of where you are attempting to navigate.
When you connect your computer to a network, either using an Ethernet cable or wireless, most people have an IP address assigned to them, as well as obtaining information about how to get to other hosts outside of your network. One of these pieces of information is the IP address of the Primary DNS server that your machine will use to lookup the IP addresses of the other servers, PC’s or web addresses you connect to. When you type www.insitesoft.com in your browser, your machine connects with the Primary DNS server on your network and requests the IP address. If your Primary DNS server does not know the IP address, it is normally setup to connect to the Authoritative DNS server for the domain you are attempting to navigate to.
Every domain has an Authoritative DNS server (or servers) setup when the domain is registered. The sole purpose of these Authoritative DNS server is to answer all incoming requests for domains that are assigned to them. Recently, though, one of the main providers of domain registration came under a Denial of Service Attack, in which their servers were deliberately flooded with so many requests they couldn’t continue responding to new requests, which is why during the attack many websites appeared to be “down.” During this attack, when potential site visitors would try to navigate to one of the affected domains, the Authoritative DNS server could not return the IP address, hence the visitor’s machine could not connect to the website.
In order to find out who is your current DNS provider is, in other words, what server is the Authoritative DNS server for your domain, you can go to http://www.who.is and input your domain name (no “www”). This will return the domain registry information, in which you can see a section called “Name Servers.” The servers listed here are the Authoritative DNS servers for your domain.
Which brings us to the last question: What can I do to prevent this from happening to my site in the future? Most domains use the DNS provider of the Domain Registrar that their domain was registered with (Network Solutions, GoDaddy, etc.). And for most companies, this is very satisfactory. However, if maximum uptime is critical to your website, you might want to consider using a DNS provider that offers services to specifically avoid website outages due to DNS related issues or attacks. If you search for “DNS provider,” you will find several companies that provide these services.