DaveNet: Thursday, July 17, 1997; by Dave Winer.

blue ribbon DNS Outage

From: Doug Luce, doug@telerama.lm.com, via Dave Farber's Interesting People list:

This morning, I noticed that one of my customers domains was missing from four root name servers (B, E, F, and G). I also found different serial numbers for the com zone across the servers.

a.root-servers.net:                     1997071701      ; serial
b.root-servers.net:                     1997071700      ; serial
c.root-servers.net:                     1997071701      ; serial
d.root-servers.net:                     1997071700      ; serial
e.root-servers.net:                     1997071700      ; serial
f.root-servers.net:                     1997071700      ; serial
g.root-servers.net:                     (unreachable)
h.root-servers.net:                     1997071500      ; serial
i.root-servers.net:                     1997071700      ; serial

These serial numbers didn't seem to match up with the broken name servers, signalling a serious breakdown.

I gave a call to the InterNIC help desk. I spoke with someone. The conversation in short:

me: There seems to be a problem with the root nameservers.
helpdesk guy: Yes, there was an error during last night's update.
me: Ok, is there some place on line I can get an announcement?
helpdesk guy: No, there's nothing.
me: Ok, well, do you have a pointer to somewhere I can read about the status of this problem?
helpdesk guy: No, nothing is going to be put up about it.


1) The InterNIC can very quickly and easily mess up the entire way people use the internet, functionally making the network unusable. Nothing new here.

2) The InterNIC doesn't feel responsible to anyone. They don't need to provide explanations, give status, or care at all about the people they are supposed to serve.

Does NSI think this attitude isn't going hurt them in the capital markets?

A confirming email fron NSI:

From: David Holtzman, dholtz@internic.net
Subject: NSI bulletin 097-004 | Root Server Problems
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 22:52:18 +0500 (GMT)

On Wednesday night, July 16, during the computer-generation of the Internet top-level domain zone files, an Ingres database failure resulted in corrupt .COM and .NET zone files. Despite alarms raised by Network Solutions' quality assurance schemes, at approximately 2:30 a.m. (Eastern Time), a system administrator released the zone file without regenerating the file and verifying its integrity. Network Solutions corrected the problem and reissued the zone file by 6:30 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Thank you.
David H. Holtzman
Sr VP Engineering, Network Solutions

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