sfr-nsdi04 - Untangling the Web from DNS Michael Walsha ,...

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Untangling the Web from DNS Michael Walfish a , Hari Balakrishnan a , and Scott Shenker b IRIS Project a { mwalfish , hari } @ csail . mit . edu , MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory (CSAIL), Cambridge, MA b shenker @ icsi . berkeley . edu , International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), Berkeley, CA Abstract The Web relies on the Domain Name System (DNS) to resolve the hostname portion of URLs into IP addresses. This marriage-of-convenience enabled the Web’s mete- oric rise, but the resulting entanglement is now hinder- ing both infrastructures—the Web is overly constrained by the limitations of DNS, and DNS is unduly burdened by the demands of the Web. There has been much com- mentary on this sad state-of-affairs, but dissolving the ill- fated union between DNS and the Web requires a new way to resolve Web references. To this end, this paper de- scribes the design and implementation of Semantic Free Referencing (SFR) , a reference resolution infrastructure based on distributed hash tables (DHTs). 1 Introduction DNS’s original goal was practical and limited—allow users to refer to machines with convenient mnemonics [20, 21]—and it has performed this service admirably. However, with the advent of the Web and the result- ing commercial value of DNS names, profit has replaced pragmatism as the dominant force shaping DNS. Legal wrangling over domain ownership is commonplace, and the institutional framework governing the naming system ( i.e. , ICANN) is in disarray. Commercial pressures aris- ing from its role in the Web have transformed DNS into a branding mechanism, a task for which it is ill-suited. At a logical level, a linked, distributed system such as the Web requires a Reference Resolution Service (RRS) to map from references (our generic name for links or point- ers) to actual locations. In the current Web, references are URLs with a hostname/pathname structure, and DNS serves as the RRS by mapping the hostname to an IP ad- dress where the target is stored. As the Web has matured, content replication and migration have become more im- portant. However, the host-based nature of URLs—which ties references to specific hosts and hard-codes a path— makes content replication and movement hard. 1 Conse- quently, there have been many sensible calls, most no- 1 Because DNS names hosts, not Web objects, it is easy to move and replicate hosts . But DNS requires the sophisticated algorithms and substantial infrastructure of content distribution networks (CDNs) to achieve the same goals for individual Web objects . tably in the URN literature [2, 5, 9, 19, 28, 29], to move the Web away from host-based URLs. Since the Web has imposed the burden of branding on DNS, and DNS has restricted the flexibility of the Web, we believe that both systems would benefit if they were disentangled from each other. However, dissolving this mutually unhealthy union would require a new RRS for the Web. What should such an RRS look like? There has been extensive discussion about this topic, largely
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This note was uploaded on 12/08/2011 for the course CS 525 taught by Professor Gupta during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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sfr-nsdi04 - Untangling the Web from DNS Michael Walsha ,...

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