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  • HINFO Record Deletion

    On Tuesday, June 19th at approximately 10:00AM, ALL HINFO RECORDS WILL BE PURGED FROM CAMPUS DNS in preparation for the upcoming migration to the new IPAM platform.

    What are HINFO records?

    HINFO ("Host Information") DNS records were originally intended to give a description of the type of computer/OS a host uses. However, few people use these type of records for that purpose anymore because it is not considered good security practice to publicly advertise information about your computer/OS. In some cases, DNS administrators may also have used this record type to associate room numbers, descriptions or other identifying data with a hostname.

    Prior to Fall 2008, the legacy DNS Host Registration Tool automatically created an HINFO record with each host record. When we migrated to a self-service DNS platform in the Fall of 2008, we advised campus that these records were no longer required by CITES and encouraged IT Pros to delete any unneeded records.

    Why are HINFO records being purged?

    The new IPAM platform to which campus DNS is migrating does not support the creation or editing of HINFO records, as they are considered a deprecated record type by the vendor. As a result, this record type will no longer be supported by CITES after the migration.

    We have chosen to purge by default (instead of convert by default) because it is evident that an overwhelming majority of the existing HINFO records in campus DNS do not currently contain useful information worth preserving.

    What should I use instead of HINFO records?

    For most purposes, you should use the Comments field of the Host object (a feature available in both the old and new DNS appliances) to record notes about a host that are of interest to network administrators. This offers two significant advantages: comments are not published in a DNS record, and they will not become orphaned if the host record is ever renamed or deleted.

    If you do need to publicly associate text information with a hostname using a DNS record (for example, if you have a script that currently pulls HINFO data from DNS in order to operate properly), you should use TXT records.

    How can I convert my existing HINFO records?

    If you have zones that contain HINFO records with useful data that you need to keep, CITES can convert your existing HINFO records into TXT records prior to the HINFO purge. All you need to do is send email to hostmgr@illinois.edu no later than 5pm on THURSDAY, JUNE 14 letting us know which zones you would like to convert, and a brief description of how you plan to use them going forward.

    What if I create new HINFO records in Proteus between today and the migration date and have not made arrangements with hostmgr?

    The HINFO records will not be converted. Please use Host Comments or TXT records for this purpose, starting today.

    Questions about this announcement can be directed to hostmgr@illinois.edu.

    Thank you,
    Illinois IPAM Administrators

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