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Versions: 00 RFC 6563

Network Working Group                                         S. Jiang
Internet Draft                            Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd
Intended status: Informational                               D. Conrad
Expires: May 29, 2012                                 Cloudflare, Inc.
                                                          B. Carpenter
                                                     Univ. of Auckland
                                                     November 26, 2011

                      Moving A6 to Historic Status
                   draft-jiang-a6-to-historic-00.txt


Status of this Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 29, 2012.

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Abstract

   This document provides a summary of issues and discusses the current
   usage status of A6 DNS records and moves the A6 specifications to
   Historic status, providing clarity to implementers and operators.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction & Background .................................... 3
   2. A6 Issues .................................................... 3
      2.1. Resolution Latency ...................................... 4
      2.2. Resolution failure ...................................... 4
      2.3. Cross administration domains ............................ 4
      2.4. Difficult Maintenance ................................... 5
      2.5. Existence of Multiple RR Types for one Purpose is Harmful 5
      2.6. Higher Security Risks ................................... 5
   3. Status of A6 current usage ................................... 5
      3.1. Reasons for Current A6 Usage ............................ 6
   4. Moving A6 to Historic Status ................................. 6
      4.1. Impact on Current A6 Usage .............................. 6
      4.2. Transition phase for current A6 ......................... 6
   5. Security Considerations ...................................... 7
   6. IANA Considerations .......................................... 7
   7. Acknowledgments .............................................. 7
   8. References ................................................... 7
      8.1. Normative References .................................... 7
      8.2. Informative References .................................. 7
   Author's Addresses .............................................. 8
















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1. Introduction & Background

   The IETF began the process of standardizing two different DNS
   protocol enhancements for IPv6 addresses in DNS (Domain Name System)
   records: AAAA [RFC3596] in 1995 [RFC1886] and A6 [RFC2874] in 2000.
   Both protocol enhancements reached Proposed Standard status.

   The existence of multiple ways of representing IPv6 address in the
   DNS has led to confusion and conflicts about which of these protocol
   enhancements should be implemented and/or deployed. Having more than
   one choice of how IPv6 addresses are to be represented within the DNS
   can be argued to have led to delays in the deployment of IPv6. In
   2002, "Representing IPv6 Addresses in the DNS" [RFC3363] moved A6 to
   Experimental status, with an aim to clear up any confusion in this
   area. [RFC3363] and [RFC3364] compared AAAA and A6, and examined many
   of the issues in the A6 standard, these issues being summarized in
   this document.

   However, after ten years, the Experimental status of A6 has resulted
   in continued confusion and parallel deployment of both A6 and AAAA,
   albeit AAAA predominates by a large degree. Even in recent IPv6
   transition tests and deployments, some providers informally mentioned
   A6 support as a possible future choice.

   This document provides a brief summary of the issues related to the
   use of A6 recprds and discusses the current usage status of A6. Given
   the implications of A6 on the DNS architecture and the state of A6
   deployment, this document moves the A6 specifications to Historic
   status, thereby clarifying that implementers and operators should
   represent IPv6 addresses in the DNS only by using AAAA records.

   1.1 Standards Action Taken

   This document requests the IESG to change the status of RFC 2874 from
   Experimental to Historic.

2. A6 Issues

   This section summarizes the known issues associated with the use of
   A6 resource records, including the analyses explored in [RFC3363].
   The reader is encouraged to review that document to fully understand
   the issues relating to A6.





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2.1. Resolution Latency

   Resolving an A6 Record chain can involve resolving a series of sub-
   queries that are likely to be independent of each other. Each of
   these sub-queries takes a non-negligible amount of time unless the
   answer already happens to be in the resolver's cache. The worst-case
   time resolving a N-link chain A6 record would be the sum of the
   latency resulting from each of the N resolutions. As a result, long
   A6 chains would be likely to increase user frustration due to
   excessive waiting times for domain names to resolve.

   In practice, it is very hard to derive a reasonable timeout handling
   strategy for the reassembly of all the results from A6 sub-queries.
   It is proved difficult to decide multiple timeout parameters,
   including (1) the communication timeout for a single A6 fragment, (2)
   the communication timeout for the IPv6 address itself (total time
   needed for reassembly) and (3) the TTL timeout for A6 fragment
   records.

2.2. Resolution Failure

   The probability of A6 resolution failure during the process of
   resolving an N-link A6 chain is sum of the probabilities of failure
   of each sub-query, since each of the queries involved in resolving an
   A6 chain has a non-zero probability of failure and an A6 resolution
   cannot complete until all sub-queries have succeeded.

   Furthermore, the failure may happen at any link among 1~N of a N-Link
   A6 chain. Therefore, it would take an indeterminate time to return a
   failure result.

2.3. Cross Administrative Domains

   One of the primary motivations for the A6 RR was to facilitate
   renumbering and multihoming, where the prefix name field in the A6 RR
   points to a target that is not only outside the DNS zone containing
   the A6 RR, but is administered by a different organization entirely.

   While pointers out of zone are not a problem per se, experience both
   with glue RRs and with PTR RRs in the IN-ADDR.ARPA tree suggests that
   pointers to other organizations are often not maintained properly,
   perhaps because they're less amenable to automation than pointers
   within a single organization would be.






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2.4. Difficult Maintenance

   In A6, changes to components of an RR are not isolated from the use
   of the composite IPv6 address. Any change to a non-128-bit component
   of an A6 RR may cause change to a large number of IPv6 addresses. The
   dependence relationship actually makes the maintenance of addresses
   much more complicated and difficult. Without understanding these
   complicated relationships, any arbitrary change for a non-128-bit A6
   RR component may result in undesired consequences.

   Multiple correlative sub-components of A6 records may have different
   TTLs, which can make cache maintenance very complicated.

2.5. Existence of Multiple RR Types for one Purpose is Harmful

   If both AAAA and A6 records were widely deployed in the global DNS,
   it would impose more query delays to the client resolvers. DNS
   clients have insufficient knowledge to choose between AAAA and A6
   queries, requiring local policy to determine which record type to
   query. If local policy dictates parallel queries for both AAAA and A6
   and if those queries returned different results for any reason, the
   clients would have no knowledge about which address to choose.

2.6. Higher Security Risks

   The dependency relationships inherent in A6 chains increase security
   risks. An attacker may successfully attack a single sub-component of
   an A6 record, which would then influence many query results, and
   possibly every host on a large site. There is also the danger of
   unintentionally or maliciously creating a resolution loop - an A6
   chain may create an infinite loop because an out of zone pointer may
   point back to another component farther down the A6 chain.

3. Current Usage of A6

   Full support for IPv6 in the global DNS can be argued to have started
   when the first IPv6 records were associated with root servers in
   early 2008.

   One of the major DNS server software packages, BIND9 [BIND], supports
   both A6 and AAAA and is unique among the major DNS resolvers in that
   certain versions of the BIND9 resolver will attempt to query for A6
   records and follow A6 chains.

   According to published statistics for two root DNS servers (the "K"
   root server [KROOT] and the "L" root server [LROOT]), there are
   between 9,000 and 14,000 DNS queries per second on the "K" root


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   server and 13,000 to 19,000 queries per second on the "L" root
   server. The distributions of those queries by RR type are similar:
   roughly 60% A queries, 20~25% AAAA queries, and less than 1% A6
   queries.

3.1. Reasons for Current A6 Usage

   That there is A6 query traffic does not mean that A6 is actually in
   use; it is likely the result of some recursive servers that issue
   internally-generated A6 queries when looking up missing name server
   addresses in addition to issuing A and AAAA queries.

   BIND versions 9.0 through 9.2 could be configured to make A6 queries
   and it is possible that some active name servers running those
   versions have not yet been upgraded.

   In the late 1990s, A6 was considered to be the future in preference
   to AAAA [RFC2874]. As a result, A6 queries were tried by default in
   BINDv9 versions. When it was pointed out that A6 had some fundamental
   issues (discussed in [A6DISC] with the deprecation codified in RFC
   3363), A6 was abandoned in favor of AAAA and BINDv9 no longer tried
   A6 records by default. A6 was removed from the query order in the
   BIND distribution in 2004 or 2005.

   Some Linux/glibc versions may have had A6 query implementations in
   gethostbyname() 8-10 years ago. These operating systems/libraries may
   not have been replaced or upgraded everywhere yet.

4. Moving A6 to Historic Status

   This document moves the A6 specification to Historic status. This
   move provides a clear signal to implementers and/or operators that A6
   should NOT be implemented or deployed.

4.1. Impact on Current A6 Usage

   If A6 were in use and it were to be treated as an 'unknown record'
   (RFC3597) as discussed below, it might lead to some interoperability
   issues since resolvers that support A6 are required to do additional
   section processing for these records on the wire. However, as there
   are no known production uses of A6, this impact is considered
   negligible.

4.2. Transition phase for current A6

   Since there is no known A6-only client in production use, the
   transition phase may not be strictly necessary. However, clients that


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   attempt to resolve A6 before AAAA will suffer a performance penalty.
   Therefore, we recommend:

   * Removing A6 handling from all new or updated host stacks;

   * Recommend removing all existing A6 records; and

   * All resolver and server implementations return the same response as
   for any unknown or deprecated RR type for all A6 queries. If an AAAA
   record exists for the name being resolved, a suitable response would
   be 'no answers/no error', i.e. the response packet has an answer
   count of 0 but no error is indicated.

5. Security Considerations

   Eliminating A6 records will eliminate any security exposure related
   to that RR type, and should introduce no new vulnerabilities.

6. IANA Considerations

   IANA is requested to change the annotation of the A6 RR type from
   "Experimental" to "Obsolete" in the DNS Parameters registry.

7. Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank Ralph Droms, Roy Arends, Edward
   Lewis, Andreas Gustafsson, Mark Andrews, Jun-ichiro "itojun" Hagino
   and other members of DNS WGs for valuable contributions.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

   [RFC2874] M. Crawford, C. Huitema, "DNS Extensions to Support IPv6
             Address Aggregation and Renumbering", RFC 2874, July 2000.

   [RFC3596] S. Thomson, C. Huitema, V. Ksinant, M. Souissi, "DNS
             Extensions to Support IP Version 6", RFC 3596, October
             2003.

8.2. Informative References

   [RFC1886] S. Thomson and C. Huitema, "DNS Extensions to Support IP
             Version 6", RFC 1886, December 1995.





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   [RFC3363] R. Bush, A. Durand, B. Fink, O. Gudmundsson, T. Hain,
             "Representing Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) Addresses
             in the Domain Name System (DNS)", RFC 3363, August 2002.

   [RFC3364] R. Austein, "Tradeoffs in Domain Name System (DNS) Support
             for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 3364, August
             2002.

   [A6DISC] J. Hagino, "Comparison of AAAA and A6 (do we really need
             A6?)", working in progress, 2001.

   [BIND]   http://www.isc.org/software/bind

   [KROOT]  http://k.root-servers.org/

   [LROOT]  http://dns.icann.org/lroot/

Author's Addresses

   Sheng Jiang
   Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd
   Q14, Huawei Campus
   No.156 Beiqing Road
   Hai-Dian District, Beijing  100095
   P.R. China
   Email: jiangsheng@huawei.com

   David Conrad
   Cloudflare, Inc.
   665 3rd Street, Suite 207
   San Francisco CA 94107
   USA
   Email: drc@cloudflare.com

   Brian Carpenter
   Department of Computer Science
   University of Auckland
   PB 92019
   Auckland, 1142
   New Zealand
   Email: brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com








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