Goodbye WINS–It’s time you used DNS.

The year is 2011 and it is time to move into this decade. I’m finding more and more clients that believe WINS still needs to live on their network.

WINS is an older service and we first started integrating it into DNS back with Windows NT 4.0. We needed it because Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0 primarily used NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

#1 – WINS and NetBT do not support IPv6 and both are on their way out with Windows Server 2008.

What if you have that one pesky application (ERP or BI) that resides on UNIX or VMS and you need to have single-label names that WINS currently provides? Now we need to talk about GlobalNames Zone aka GNZ. I’m going to coin this feature as GNZ moving forward.

GNZ will retire your WINS is the good news. The bad news is that GNZ does not support a dynamic-registration. Why? Because DNS already does that and if you have clients performing dynamic registration then you probably don’t need to be reading this article.

After you create GNZ you must MANUALLY make changes in that zone. It’s a workaround in reality.

#2 – WINS and GNZ are great but how should you actually handle single label name resolution?

DNS Suffix search space on the client machine is how. Even if the client PC is not a member of the domain it can be configured with the correct suffix search space so that the lookup is sent to an authoritative server. This is especially key when working within multiple Active Directory forests and supporting a cross-forest client migration.

That ERP system I mentioned — you would be adding it to a name domain one way or another and just simply add it’s single label name as an A record. This isn’t any different than adding a new web server and the ISP guys have been doing this for years for router interfaces.

Short answer – all network interfaces need proper representation in DNS using A and CNAME records.

Welcome to 2011 and you’ll be more prepared for IPv6 if you get used to DNS now.

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