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Manual Chapter: ZoneRunner
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One of the modes in which you can operate Global Traffic Manager system is the node mode. In node mode, Global Traffic Manager is responsible not only for load balancing name resolution requests and monitoring the health of your physical and logical network; it is also responsible for maintaining the DNS zone files that map name resolution requests to the appropriate network resource.
In Global Traffic Manager, you create, manage, and maintain DNS files using the ZoneRunner utility. The ZoneRunner utility is a zone file management utility that can manage both DNS zone files and your BIND configuration. With the ZoneRunner utility, you can:
The ZoneRunner utility is an advanced feature of Global Traffic Manager. F5 Networks highly recommends that you become familiar with the various aspects of BIND and DNS before you use this feature. For in-depth information, see the following resources:
DNS and BIND, 4th edition, Paul Albitz and Cricket Liu
The Internet Systems Consortium web site,
When you use the ZoneRunner utility to manage your DNS zones and resource records, you can accomplish several tasks, including:
Note: In the Configuration utility, you must configure a zone before you configure any other objects in the ZoneRunner utility.
With the ZoneRunner utility, you can create, modify, and delete zone files. Additionally, you can transfer zone files to another nameserver, or import zone files from another nameserver. A zone file contains resource records and directives that describe the characteristics and hosts of a zone, otherwise known as a domain or sub-domain.
Primary (Master)
Zone files for a primary zone contain, at minimum, the start of authority (SOA) and nameserver (NS) resource records for the zone. Primary zones are authoritative, that is, they respond to DNS queries for the domain or sub-domain. A zone can have only one SOA record, and must have at least one NS record.
Secondary (Slave)
Zone files for a secondary zone are copies of the principal zone files. At an interval specified in the SOA record, secondary zones query the primary zone to check for and obtain updated zone data. A secondary zone responds authoritatively for the zone as long as the zone data is valid.
Stub zones are similar to secondary zones, except that stub zones contain only the NS records for the zone. Note that stub zones are a specific feature of the BIND implementation of DNS. F5 Networks recommends that you use stub zones only if you have a specific requirement for this functionality.
The zone file for a forwarding zone contains only information to forward DNS queries to another nameserver on a per-zone (or per-domain) basis.
The zone file for a hint zone specifies an initial set of root nameservers for the zone. Whenever the local nameserver starts, it queries a root nameserver in the hint zone file to obtain the most recent list of root nameservers.
Often, when you add Global Traffic Manager to your network, you already have a DNS server that manages your zone files. Typically, Global Traffic Manager can then become either a secondary server that provides backup DNS information in case your primary DNS server goes offline, or the primary DNS server. In either situation, you can use the ZoneRunner utility to import existing zone files into Global Traffic Manager instead of re-creating them manually. It is important to note that you can import only primary zones files.
Loading zones from a file
If you know where the zone files you want to import reside on your server, you can load these files directly into Global Traffic Manager through the ZoneRunner utility. After you load a zone file into Global Traffic Manager, the ZoneRunner utility displays information about the zone and any of its resource records within the Configuration utility.
Transferring zones from a server
Instead of loading zones from a file, you have the option of transferring them from existing DNS server. This method is useful if the zone files you need reside at a remote location. After you transfer a zone file into Global Traffic Manager, the ZoneRunner utility displays information about the zone and any of its resource records within the Configuration utility.

Before you can transfer zone files from another server, you must ensure that the you have configured the source server to allow transfers to the destination server. You typically accomplish this task using the allow-transfer option. See your DNS and BIND documentation for more information.
Resource records are the files that contain details about a zone. These resource records, in a hierarchical structure, make up the domain name system (DNS). After you have created a zone, you can use the ZoneRunner utility to view, create, modify, and delete the resource records for that zone.
Note: Although case is preserved in names and data fields when loaded into the nameserver, comparisons and lookups in the nameserver database are not case-sensitive.
SOA (Start of authority)
The start of authority resource record, SOA, starts every zone file and indicates that a nameserver is the best source of information for a particular zone. The SOA record indicates that a nameserver is authoritative for a zone. There must be exactly one SOA record per zone. Unlike other resource records, you create a SOA record only when you create a new master zone file.
A (Address)
The Address record, or A record, lists the IP address for a given host name. The name field is the hosts name, and the address is the network interface address. There should be one A record for each IP address of the machine.
AAAA (IPv6 Address)
The IPv6 Address record, or AAAA record, lists the 128-bit IPv6 address for a given host name.
CNAME (Canonical Name)
The Canonical Name resource record, CNAME, specifies an alias or nickname for the official, or canonical, host name. This record must be the only one associated with the alias name. It is usually easier to supply one A record for a given address and use CNAME records to define alias host names for that address.
DNAME (Delegation of Reverse Name)
The Delegation of Reverse Name resource record, DNAME, specifies the reverse lookup of an IPv6 address. These records substitute the suffix of one domain name with another. The DNAME record instructs Global Traffic Manager (or any DNS server) to build an alias that substitutes a portion of the requested IP address with the data stored in the DNAME record.
HINFO (Host Information)
The Host Information resource record, HINFO, contains information on the hardware and operating system relevant to Global Traffic Manager (or other DNS).
MX (Mail Exchanger)
The Mail Exchange resource record, MX, defines the mail system(s) for a given domain.
NS (nameserver)
The nameserver resource record, NS, defines the nameservers for a given domain, creating a delegation point and a subzone. The first name field specifies the zone that is served by the nameserver that is specified in the nameservers name field. Every zone needs at least one nameserver.
PTR (Pointer)
A name pointer resource record, PTR, associates a host name with a given IP address. These records are used for reverse name lookups.
SRV (Service)
The Service resource record, SRV, is a pointer that allows an alias for a given service to be redirected to another domain. For example, if the fictional company SiteRequest had an FTP archive hosted on, the IT department can create an SRV record that allows an alias, to be redirected to
TXT (Text)
The Text resource record, TXT, allows you to supply any string of information, such as the location of a server or any other relevant information that you want available.
In BIND, a view allows you to modify the nameserver configuration based on the community attempting to access it. For example, if your DNS handles requests from both inside and outside your company, you can create two views: internal and external. Through views, you can build nameserver configurations on the same server, and have those configurations apply dynamically when the request originates from a specified source.
In Global Traffic Manager, a single view is created automatically within the ZoneRunner utility: external. If you do not want to create views, all zones that Global Traffic Manager maintains are associated with this default view.
You define the primary operational characteristics of BIND using a single file, named.conf. The functions defined in this file include views, access control list definitions, and zones.
You can control most of the contents of the named.conf file through the ZoneRunner utility, as this utility updates the named.conf file to implement any modifications that you make. However, you can also use the ZoneRunner utility to edit the named.conf file directly.
Important: Modifying the named.conf file carries a high level of risk, as a syntax error can prevent the entire BIND system from performing as expected. For this reason, F5 Networks recommends that you use the user interface of the ZoneRunner utility whenever possible, and that you exercise caution when editing the named.conf file.
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