Thursday, August 05, 2004

Planning as part of life

I'm switching over the ISP connection to a higher bandwidth which also means that I'll be switching IP addresses. This also means the slightly tricky business of moving the DNS server. I'm hosting my own DNS for some strange reason and I have to inform the NIC involved that my domain's DNS server has changed IP addresses. The tricky part comes in because I have only one DNS server but I have to move it and keep the older DNS setting alive for a while. Thanks goodness Linux is so 'not demanding'.
Took out an old Celeron PC with 32MB of RAM(!). Installed Linux on it and installed the bind package. Within a hour or so I have another server ready to do some light work. I configured it so that the Celeron DNS would host slave zones to the main DNS server for a while. Essentially it gets the settings and information about the zone from the main DNS server. After a while, I converted the slave zones to a normal or master zone. I configured the Celeron PC so that it took over the IP address off the main DNS server. The main DNS server was then transferred to use the newer IPs. Finally, I informed the NIC and they'll update their records accordingly.
What surprised me was not that I was able to set up another DNS server in record time but I spent more time planning than actually doing the job.

That is something I credit using Linux for, the tendency to plan stuff out ahead. Linux is extremely powerful and offers 1001 variations of everything. So choosing what to do is very important. It's not enough to decide to do something and just do it it. Ensuring that minimal disruption occurs and detected by the users is as important as achieving what I set out to achieve . Making sure that things can be undone if the goals achieved are not actually what they seem to be is also very important.
The overall concern shifts from whether "Can it be done and what tools do I need to buy to do them?" to "How can I do it using what I have or have to download from somewhere? How can I do it quietly without people feeling a thing." That may not be a paradigm shift but it sure is a shift for the better.

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