Manual Chapter : 3-DNS Reference Guide v4.5: Introduction

Applies To:

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3-DNS Controller versions 1.x - 4.x

  • 4.6.1, 4.6.0, 4.5 PTF-08, 4.5 PTF-07, 4.5 PTF-06, 4.5 PTF-05, 4.5 PTF-04, 4.5 PTF-03, 4.5 PTF-02, 4.5 PTF-01, 4.5.9, 4.5.0
Manual Chapter



Getting started

The 3-DNS Reference Guide includes information about the features of the 3-DNS® Controller. It also contains information about system configuration files and variables, command line syntax, scripts and utilities, and other 3-DNS objects. Use the 3-DNS Reference Guide for help in configuring a specific feature of the 3-DNS Controller. For load balancing and networking solutions, see the 3-DNS Administrator Guide .

Using the Administrator Kit

The 3-DNS Administrator Kit provides simple steps for quick, basic configuration, and also provides detailed information about more advanced features and tools, such as the 3dnsmaint command line utility. The following printed documentation is included with the 3-DNS unit.

  • Configuration Worksheet
    This worksheet provides you with a place to plan the basic configuration for the 3-DNS Controller.

    The following guides are available in PDF format from the CD-ROM provided with the 3-DNS Controller. These guides are also available from the home screen of the Configuration utility.

  • Platform Guide
    This guide includes information about the physical 3-DNS unit. It also contains important environmental warnings.

  • 3-DNS Administrator Guide
    The 3-DNS Administrator Guide provides examples of common wide-area load balancing solutions supported by the 3-DNS Controller. For example, in the Administrator Guide, you can find everything from a basic DNS request load balancing solution to a more advanced content acceleration load balancing solution. The Administrator Guide also covers general network administration issues, such as installing the hardware and setting up the networking configuration.

  • 3-DNS Reference Guide
    The 3-DNS Reference Guide provides basic descriptions of individual 3-DNS objects, such as wide IPs, pools, virtual servers, load balancing modes, the big3d agent, resource records, and production rules. It also provides syntax information for 3dnsmaint commands, configuration utilities, the wideip.conf file, and system utilities.

Stylistic conventions

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the stylistic conventions described below.


All examples in this documentation use only non-routable IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample IP addresses.


Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is the combination of an IP address and port that maps to a set of back-end servers.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

We make a variety of items bold to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, the nslookup command requires that you include at least one <ip_address> variable.

Identifying references

We use italic text to denote a reference to another document or another section in the current document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, you can find information about planning the 3-DNS configuration in the 3-DNS Administrator Guide, Chapter 2, Planning the 3-DNS Configuration .

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command shows the current status of the 3-DNS daemons:

3ndc status

Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.


Item in text



Continue to the next line without typing a line break.

< >

You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name.


Separates parts of a command.

[ ]

Syntax inside the brackets is optional.


Indicates that you can type a series of items.



What's new in version 4.5

The 3-DNS Controller, version 4.5 offers the following major new features in addition to many other enhancements.


Automatic discovery

The 3-DNS Controller can now automatically collect and add the virtual server configuration information for any BIG-IP systems and host servers in the 3-DNS Controller configuration. The Discovery setting has three levels: OFF, ON, and ON/NO DELETE. For more information on auto-configuration and the Discovery setting, see the Overview of auto-configuration section, in Chapter 5, Essential Configuration Tasks , in the 3-DNS Administrator Guide.

Easy system account and password creation

With this release, the 3-DNS Controller now offers one screen, in the web-based Setup utility, where you can set the passwords for the three system accounts: root, admin, and support. On this screen, you can also specify whether to allow command line access, web access, or both for the support account. You can view the User Access screen by opening the Setup utility from the home screen.

For more information on user accounts and system accounts, see Managing user accounts .

Enhanced synchronization

The configuration synchronization process for the 3-DNS Controller has been updated and improved. The controller no longer relies on the syncd daemon for synchronization. Instead, synchronization occurs automatically, based on file timestamps, whenever you make any type of change to the configuration. The 3-DNS Controller also polls any Link Controllers that you have in your network, and synchronizes the link information across the sync group. Note that working with sync groups remains the same.

Expanded statistics

The statistics screens on the 3-DNS Controller have been enhanced and expanded. You can now view statistics for the following objects:

  • The Detailed Wide IP Statistics screen, available from the Wide IP Statistics screen, now displays information about virtual servers in the context of the wide IP pools of which they are members.

  • The Link Statistics screen displays information about any router links you have configured.

  • The P95 Billing Estimate statistics screen displays graphs of your actual bandwidth usage compared to your purchased bandwidth if you have links configured, or your network has both 3-DNS Controllers and Link Controllers in it.

  • The Internet Weather Map statistics screen now displays information for both the data centers and the links in your network.

  • The Disabled Objects statistics screen now displays these additional objects: wide IPs, pools, and virtual servers.

    For details on each of these screens, refer to the online help for that screen.

Multi-homing and firewall support

The 3-DNS Controller now supports multiple links to the Internet and network address translations for firewalls. You can designate one or more self IP addresses and translations for the controller itself, as well as for any BIG-IP systems, host servers, or routers that are configured as part or the controller's network. For information on working with the self IP addresses and network address translations, refer to the online help for the Self IP List, which is available from the toolbar for each server type.

Security enhancements

You can now use the Setup utility to configure a remote LDAP or RADIUS authentication server. With this feature, you no longer need to directly edit configuration files to set up your LDAP or RADIUS authentication server.

This release of the 3-DNS Controller also expands the number of user roles that you can assign to user accounts for the purpose of user authorization. In addition to the standard Full Read/Write, Partial Read/Write, and Read-Only access levels, you can now define which user interface an administrator uses to access the 3-DNS Controller (the Configuration utility, the command line interface, or the iControl interface). These user authorization roles are stored in the local LDAP database on the 3-DNS Controller, and are designed to operate in concert with centralized LDAP and RADIUS authentication.

For details on user authorization and managing user accounts, see Managing user accounts .

Finding help and technical support resources

You can find additional technical documentation about the 3-DNS Controller in the following locations:

  • Release notes
    The release note for the current version of the 3-DNS Controller is available from the home page of the Configuration utility. The release note contains the latest information for the current version, including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and a list of known issues.

  • Online help for 3-DNS features
    You can find help online in three different locations:

    • The Configuration utility home page has PDF versions of the guides included in the Administrator Kit. Software upgrades for the 3-DNS Controller replace the guides with updated versions as appropriate.

    • The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. Just click the Help button in the toolbar.

    • Individual commands have online help, including command syntax and examples, in standard UNIX man page format. Simply type man followed by the command (for example man 3dpipe), and the 3-DNS Controller displays the syntax and usage associated with the command.

  • Third-party documentation for software add-ons
    The Configuration utility contains online documentation for the third-party software included with the 3-DNS Controller, including NameSurfer and GateD.

  • Technical support through the World Wide Web
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest technical notes, answers to frequently asked questions, updates for the Administrator Kit (in PDF format), updates for the release notes, and the AskF5 natural language question and answer engine.


All references to hardware platforms in this guide refer specifically to systems supplied by F5 Networks, Inc. If your hardware was supplied by another vendor and you have hardware-related questions, please refer to the documentation from that vendor.