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DNS hardware requirements have traditionally been quite modest. For many installations, servers that have been retired from active duty have performed admirably as DNS servers.
However, the DNSSEC features of BIND 9 may be quite CPU-intensive, so organizations that make heavy use of these features may wish to consider larger systems for these applications. BIND 9 is fully multithreaded, allowing full utilization of multiprocessor systems for installations that need it.
CPU requirements for BIND 9 range from i386-class machines, for serving static zones without caching, to enterprise-class machines to process many dynamic updates and DNSSEC-signed zones, serving many thousands of queries per second.
Server memory must be sufficient to hold both the cache and the zones loaded from disk. The max-cache-size option can limit the amount of memory used by the cache, at the expense of reducing cache hit rates and causing more DNS traffic. If additional section caching (the section called “Additional Section Caching”) is enabled, the max-acache-size option can be used to limit the amount of memory used by the mechanism. It is still good practice to have enough memory to load all zone and cache data into memory; unfortunately, the best way to determine this for a given installation is to watch the name server in operation. After a few weeks, the server process should reach a relatively stable size where entries are expiring from the cache as fast as they are being inserted.
For name server-intensive environments, there are two configurations that may be used. The first is one where clients and any second-level internal name servers query a main name server, which has enough memory to build a large cache; this approach minimizes the bandwidth used by external name lookups. The second alternative is to set up second-level internal name servers to make queries independently. In this configuration, none of the individual machines need to have as much memory or CPU power as in the first alternative, but this has the disadvantage of making many more external queries, as none of the name servers share their cached data.
BIND 9.11.33 (Extended Support Version)