UW DNS/DHCP Maintenance How To

This page is very out-of-date and needs significant rewriting.

See CSCF DNS Naming Standards or Host Naming Rules and RFC Documents instead.

Hostname Standards

While researchers may choose any name consistent with UW standards, we have a host naming standard for various types of CSCF administrated systems.

DNS Entry Standards

IST documents the expected form of DNS entries in http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/cn/Admin/IPreq.html

When we create DNS entries for machines that we support, the current approach is to not specify the ADMIN explicitly, but instead to rely upon the ADMIN for the subnet that the machine is on. That is usually set to dns-cs-admin@cs.uwaterloo.ca For machines that we own as well, the CONTACT is also unset, defaulting to the subnet CONTACT, which is usually set to dns-cs-contact@cs.uwaterloo.ca

For machines where there is a specific person or role likely responsible, that role email address should be listed as the ADMIN email address, e.g. cs-windows-admin@cs

For research groups, the CONTACT and ADMIN are usually of the form cs-rsg+GroupAbbrev so that we can deal with problems reported through official channels. Some examples of GroupAbbrev are "bif", "db", "hci", "networks", "plg". When in doubt, look at entries for related machines. If that doesn't help, ask ldpaniak.

Otherwise, the CONTACT is the person who uses the machine.

When we set the contact, the person who "owns" the machine (as opposed to who actually uses it) can be recorded in the OWNER field. This isn't a documented field, but is used in practice in the campus DNS.

An example of a subnet DNS entry that sets defaults is:

  % host -t txt cscf.net.uwaterloo.ca.
  cscf.net.uwaterloo.ca descriptive text "ADMIN dns-cs-admin@cscf.cs"
  cscf.net.uwaterloo.ca descriptive text "LOCATION DC,,,"
  cscf.net.uwaterloo.ca descriptive text "DATE 2007-12-12"
  cscf.net.uwaterloo.ca descriptive text "CONTACT dns-cs-contact@cscf.cs"

In the ORGUNIT field, our "unit" is "Math", our "subunit" is usually "CS", or "CSCF". The "group" is often the abbreviation for a research group, e.g. "PLG", "SCG", "Shoshin", "HCI".


  • Pick a Host Name this should include the optional .cs, .math, etc
  • Verify the name is NOT in use!
    • Verify that the name without the optional .cs is NOT already in use by using "Advanced Search" for Host / Hostname, CNAME / Name and MX Record / MX Record type Fuzzy in All Zones
    • Lastly make sure the name isn't having MX redirection - even if it is not in DNS - by searching MX records (ex a long gone host that still get the odd email)
  • Clients can use:
    • On UNIX the command dnsinfo, host -a, or dig ... ANY
    • On Debian use the command host or dig
    • On Windows use nslookup -t ANY
  • You need the MAC Address of the network card
    • On UNIX use the command /sbin/ifconfig <>, eg: ifconfig eth0
      • Interface names can be found using: netstat -rn
    • on Windows use the command ipconfig /all
  • You want to pick the subnet to use - Please Read: CF.VLANInformation#Current_VLAN_assignments

Update DNS info using IST's Maintain

  • Maintain Home Page https://nsbuild.uwaterloo.ca/maintain/index.php
  • Pick Create a New Host under the Manage Hosts Section
  • If your preferences are not set to default to an Advanced view type, pick the Advanced link next to Basic Host Information - this will expand the form to Advanced View
  • Fill in
    • Hostname ; example host1.cs NOTE the .cs
    • HW Address if the MAC address of the equipment is known
    • Pick the Type to select a dynamic or static IP address; we usually use static IP addresses
    • Pick the Subnet from the Static Range (select from a range) drop down
      - an address will be automatically assigned if one is available
      - Note: when assigning a VLAN Please Read: VLANInformation#Current_VLAN_assignments
    • Operating System: or use Existing OS Value - if the pull down already has it listed (preferred method)
    • Location: example DC 3558 or DC,3558 (either will convert properly into dns)
    • Serial Number: - optional, not used in dns
    • Purchase Date: - optional, not used in dns (suggested format yyyy/mm/dd)
    • TXT Data: - fill in ORGUNIT and USER values, see examples, below.
      • ORGUNIT will default to the subnet specifications, so ORGUNIT Math,CS should be redundant on CS-owned Vlans
      • USER value should be filled in - if there is a single, specific user of the machine (usually for workstations)
    • Owning Unit: - optional, not used in dns (perhaps put Faculty owner (eg: pabuhr for plg2?)
    • Contact ID: - the uwuserid or email address for who should be informed in case of problems with the machine; in some cases this can be left blank and will default to the contact for the subnet, which is usually cs-dns-contact@cs
    • Admin ID: - the uwuserid or email address for who should be contacted in case of technical problems with the machine; in most cases this can be left blank and will default to the admin for the subnet, which is cs-dns-admin@cs
      • CSCF will maintain a list of aliases for standard groups, eg: cs-rsg-plg@cs, or cs-usg-admin@cs
      • this can also be a fully-qualified email address
        • (these aliases are maintained in the cscf-specific package)
        • as root on "cscf.cs": (Note: Although these aliases are maintained on cscf.cs, they are propagated to cs.uwaterloo.ca incoming mail handler, mx100.cs.uwaterloo.ca) * However - they may take weeks to be distributed to mx100.cs.uwaterloo.ca, so it is safer to use @cscf.cs at first
          • cscf.cs# cd /.software/admin/cscf-specific/export
          • cscf.cs# co -l aliases
          • ... make changes
          • cscf.cs# ci -u aliases - make notes on why the changes are being made.
          • cscf.cs# xh-install cscf-specific
    • Comment: - put rcs/cvs type notes about the change here. These are viewable when editing a host by clicking on [Host History] and in the Show history report.
  • Pick Submit button to save changes
  • See also IST's guidelines at http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/cn/Admin/IPreq.html
  • See also MFCF / CSCF DNS Entry standards: http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/mfcf/internal/standards/dns-entries.html

Adding a CNAME in IST's Maintain

  • Pick CNAMES: Create from the Manage Other Objects section of the Home screen
  • Verify the name is *NOT in use - see Checklist above
  • Add hostname with optional .cs .math, etc if desired
  • Enter the alias in the Name field and the host name in the Server Name field
  • Leave "Create CNAME for selected Domain" unchecked


CSCF owned & administered

   Hostname:          verne.cscf
   IP address:
   Existing OS Value: WinXP/Linux
   Hardware Type:     PC Intel Workstation
   Location:          DC 2563
   Other DNS Data:    USER lfolland
                           (note, ORGUNIT omitted - defaults to Math,CSCF)
   Contact Userid:    <blank>
   Admin Userid:      <blank>
   Comment:           Updated contact and location information

School PC

   Hostname:          scspc040.cs
   IP address:
   Existing OS Value: WinXP/debian
   Hardware Type:     PC PIV-3.2GHz
   Location:          DC 3546
   Other DNS Data:    USER dpmostinski
   Contact Userid:    cs-rsg-plg@cs  
   Admin Userid:      <blank>
   Comment:           Updated USER name

Researcher owned, CSCF (RSG) administered

   Hostname:          scg.cs
   IP address:
                          (note: 140 is a Math subnet)
   Existing OS Value: WinXP/debian
   Hardware Type:     PC PIV-3.2GHz
   Location:          DC 3558
   Other DNS Data:    ORGUNIT Math,CS,SCG
   Owning Unit:       glabahn
                          (note: added the owning researcher's name in the Owning Unit field for information purposes)
   Contact Userid:    cs-rsg-scg@cs
   Admin Userid:      dns-cs-admin
                          (note: had to include dns-cs-admin because scg.math is still on a Math subnet, not a CS subnet)
   Comment:           Updated room number

Researcher owned & administered

   Hostname:          mud.cgl
   IP address:
   Existing OS Value: Sun Unix
   Hardware Type:     Sun Enterprise-450
   Location:          DC 2303
   Other DNS Data:    ORGUNIT Math,CS,CGL
   Contact Userid:    directors@cgl.uwaterloo.ca
   Admin Userid:      <blank>
   Comment:           Updated contact information  

Update Inventory Records


-- MikeGore - 12 May 2005 -- LawrenceFolland - 2005/06/01

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Topic revision: r36 - 2022-06-02 - LoriPaniak
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