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Introduction to Azure DNS [Updated 2024]

Introduction to Azure DNS [Updated 2024]

Through this article, we’ll understand, the amazing features of Azure DNS, how it works, and all the incredible ways that businesses can benefit from using this service. Let’s get right into it!

Here are the topics that we are going to discuss in this blog:

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What is Azure DNS?

Azure DNS is a cloud-based DNS service that delivers a highly available and scalable solution for managing Domain Name System (DNS) domains and records in the cloud. It empowers users to effortlessly manage their DNS zones and records through an easy-to-use interface or programmatically using Azure management APIs. Azure DNS utilizes Azure’s global network infrastructure to ensure that the DNS queries are resolved, quickly and reliably, from any location worldwide.

With Azure DNS, users can manage public and private DNS zones, thus offering complete control over their DNS configuration. Public DNS zones can be utilized to host DNS records for publicly accessible domains, such as websites and APIs, while private DNS zones can be used to manage DNS records for internal domain names and resources, such as virtual machines and Azure services.

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Why do we Need Azure DNS?

There are multiple reasons why businesses find Azure DNS essential, including the following:

Why do we Need Azure DNS
  • Scalability: Azure DNS is designed to handle high-volume DNS queries, making it a suitable solution for businesses of all sizes. It can automatically and quickly scale to accommodate changes in traffic, ensuring that applications and services remain available and responsive.
  • Reliability: Azure DNS is built on top of Azure’s global network infrastructure, ensuring that DNS queries are resolved quickly and reliably from anywhere in the world. This reliability is crucial for businesses that depend on their DNS infrastructure to deliver applications and services to their customers.
  • Control: Azure DNS provides complete control over DNS configuration, enabling businesses to manage their DNS zones and records using an intuitive interface or programmatically through Azure management APIs. This control allows businesses to tailor their DNS configuration to meet specific requirements.
  • Integration: Azure DNS can be integrated with other Azure services, such as Azure Traffic Manager, to deliver a comprehensive solution for managing application availability, scalability, and performance. This integration enables businesses to direct traffic to the most suitable endpoint based on the DNS query, ensuring that their application remains available and responsive.
  • Security: Azure DNS offers advanced features, such as DNSSEC and custom DNS servers, to enhance the security of DNS infrastructure against attacks and ensure the authenticity of DNS queries. This security is particularly critical for businesses that handle sensitive information or operate in regulated industries.

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Basics of Azure DNS

Starting with the fundamentals is crucial if you want to understand Azure DNS. Here are the essential elements and ideas that form the foundation of Azure DNS:

  •  IP Addresses: IP addresses are numerical labels assigned to devices in a network. They serve as unique identifiers for those devices, enabling data to be sent to the right destination. There are two main types of IP addresses: IPv4 (32-bit) and IPv6 (128-bit).
  • DNS (Domain Name System): DNS is like the internet’s address book. It translates user-friendly domain names (e.g. www.yourwebsite.com) into IP addresses (e.g., 192.168.1.1). DNS plays a critical role in facilitating internet communication, allowing users to access websites and resources using human-readable names.
  • Types of DNS:
    • Authoritative DNS: Authoritative DNS servers hold the official DNS records for a domain. They provide answers to DNS queries, making them accessible to the world.
    • Recursive DNS: Recursive DNS servers, often operated by internet service providers (ISPs), help users locate the authoritative DNS servers for the domains they want to access.
  • DNS Records: 
    DNS records are like entries in the DNS address book. They provide specific instructions for DNS servers on how to resolve domain names. Some common types include:
    • A Records: Map hostnames to IPv4 addresses.
    • AAAA Records: Map hostnames to IPv6 addresses.
    • CNAME Records: Provide aliases for domain names.
    • MX Records: Specify mail servers for email delivery.
  • Global Availability: Azure DNS operates globally, with servers located in multiple data centers around the world. This global presence ensures low-latency DNS resolution, making your resources accessible from various geographic locations.
  • Integration with Azure Services: Azure DNS seamlessly integrates with other Azure services. For instance, you can associate custom domains with your Azure Web Apps or use it in conjunction with other Azure services that require DNS configurations.
  • DNS Security: Azure DNS offers features like Azure Private DNS, which allows you to isolate and secure DNS traffic within your virtual network. Additionally, DNS Firewall helps protect your DNS infrastructure from malicious activities.

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How Does Azure DNS Work?

Azure DNS is Microsoft’s cloud-based Domain Name System (DNS) service, designed to provide reliable and scalable DNS services for your applications and services hosted on Azure. Let’s explore the main procedures to understand how Azure DNS works:

  • Azure Portal Access: Use your Azure account to log into the Azure Portal to get started. If you don’t already have one, register for Azure and select an appropriate subscription plan to begin going.
  • Create a DNS Zone: The foundation of Azure DNS is the DNS zone. Create a DNS zone by specifying the domain name (e.g., yourwebsite.com). This is where you’ll manage your DNS records.
  • Add DNS Records: Add DNS records to the DNS zone. These records connect domain names with IP addresses. Records for IPv4 addresses, AAAA records for IPv6 addresses, CNAME records for aliases, and MX records for mail exchange are examples of common record types.
  • Name Server Configuration: Azure DNS automatically assigns name servers to your DNS zone. You’ll need to configure your domain registrar to point to these name servers. This step ensures that DNS queries for your domain are directed to Azure DNS.
  • Global Distribution:  Azure DNS is globally distributed, meaning it uses multiple data centers worldwide to provide low-latency DNS resolution. This ensures fast and reliable DNS responses for your users.
  • Integration with Azure Services: Azure DNS seamlessly integrates with other Azure services. For example, if you’re hosting a web app, you can easily associate a custom domain with it using Azure DNS.
  • DNS Security: Azure DNS offers features like Azure Private DNS and DNS Firewall to enhance the security of your DNS infrastructure, protecting against DNS-based attacks.
  • Monitoring and Logging: Utilize Azure Monitor to gain insights into DNS query performance and usage. Monitoring can help you identify and address potential issues proactively.
  • Updates and Maintenance: Regularly review and update your DNS records as needed. Azure DNS ensures that these updates are reflected globally.
  • Cost Management: Keep an eye on your DNS costs, as Azure DNS charges are based on the number of hosted DNS zones and the number of DNS queries. Azure Cost Management can help you monitor and optimize expenses.

How to Setup Azure DNS

Ready to get started with Azure? Here is a simple setup instruction for Azure that will let you navigate the cloud with ease.

  • Access Azure Portal: Log in to your Azure account.
  • Create a DNS Zone: In the Azure Portal, navigate to ‘DNS zones’ and click ‘Add.’ Follow the prompts to configure your DNS zone.
  • Configure DNS Records: Inside your DNS zone, add and configure DNS records such as A, CNAME, or MX records as per your requirements.
  • Update Name Servers: If you’re using a domain registrar other than Azure, don’t forget to update your domain’s name servers to point to Azure DNS.
  • Testing and Validation: Ensure your DNS records are correctly set up by testing and validating them.
  • Monitor and Manage: Regularly check and manage your DNS settings to maintain optimal performance.

Security and Supported Protocols of Azure DNS

  • Secure DNS Zones: Azure DNS supports secure DNS zones using Azure Private DNS, which enables resolution within virtual networks and private networks. Private DNS zones help ensure that DNS queries and responses stay within the boundaries of a virtual network or private network, improving security and reducing exposure to potential threats.
  • DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions): Azure DNS supports DNSSEC, which is a set of security extensions to DNS. DNSSEC provides authentication and data integrity for DNS responses, protecting against DNS spoofing and cache poisoning attacks. With Azure DNS, you can enable DNSSEC for your DNS zones to ensure secure and validated DNS resolution.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Azure DNS integrates with Azure RBAC, allowing you to assign fine-grained access control to users and groups. RBAC enables you to control who can manage DNS zones, record sets, and other DNS-related resources within your Azure subscription. By defining appropriate roles and permissions, you can limit access to authorized individuals and improve security.
  • Azure Active Directory Integration: Azure DNS supports integration with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for authentication and authorization. You can manage access to Azure DNS resources using Azure AD, which provides centralized user management, multi-factor authentication, and other security features.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): Azure DNS supports secure communication over the network using the TLS protocol. When making DNS queries or updates to Azure DNS, you can leverage the encrypted communication provided by TLS to protect the confidentiality and integrity of DNS traffic.
  • Supported DNS Protocols: Azure DNS supports the standard DNS protocols, including DNS over UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and DNS over TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). These protocols are used for DNS resolution and communication between DNS clients and servers.

It’s worth noting that Azure DNS primarily focuses on providing DNS hosting and management services rather than being a full-fledged DNS resolver for public internet traffic. If you require DNS resolution for internet-facing services, you may need to configure DNS forwarding or integrate Azure DNS with other DNS resolver services or servers.

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Importance of Azure DNS

Azure DNS provides several advantages for businesses, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Scalability: Azure DNS is appropriate for enterprises of all sizes since it can handle complex DNS queries. Applications and services are always accessible and responsive, thanks to their ability to scale up and down rapidly and dynamically in response to variations in traffic.
  • Reliability: The global network architecture of Azure serves as the foundation for Azure DNS, which guarantees that DNS requests are answered promptly and consistently from any location on the globe. For organizations that rely on their DNS infrastructure to provide clients with applications and services, this dependability is essential.
  • Integration: Businesses can use Azure DNS in conjunction with other Azure services, like Azure Traffic Manager, to manage the availability, scalability, and performance of their applications. Businesses can use this integration to route traffic to the best endpoint based on the DNS query, assuring the availability and responsiveness of their application.
  • Security: Advanced security capabilities like DNSSEC and custom DNS servers are made available by Azure DNS to help businesses defend their DNS infrastructure from threats and guarantee that the DNS queries are valid. Businesses that deal with sensitive information or work in regulated areas need to be extra careful about this security.

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Applications of Azure DNS

Azure DNS offers a range of applications that can benefit businesses of all sizes. Here are some common applications of Azure DNS that you should know about:

Applications of Azure DNS
  • Public-Facing Websites: Azure DNS is capable of hosting public DNS zones that manage DNS records for publicly accessible domains like websites and APIs. It offers a dependable and scalable solution for managing DNS resolution for high-traffic websites.
  • Private DNS Resolution: Azure DNS has the capability to host private DNS zones that manage DNS records for internal domain names and resources like virtual machines and Azure services. Private DNS resolution ensures the secure and efficient resolution of domain names within a private network.
  • Load Balancing: Azure DNS can be used in conjunction with Azure Traffic Manager to provide intelligent load balancing for applications running in multiple Azure regions. The traffic manager uses DNS-based traffic routing to direct traffic to the closest or healthiest endpoint to improve the application’s performance and availability.
  • Hybrid Cloud: Azure DNS can be used to integrate on-premises DNS infrastructure with Azure services. This integration allows businesses to extend their existing DNS infrastructure to the cloud, enabling secure and efficient communication between on-premises and cloud resources.

Conclusion

Azure DNS is anticipated to become even more crucial for the management of cloud-based services and applications. The need for scalable and dependable DNS infrastructure will increase as more companies transfer their activities to the cloud.

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About the Author

Application Architect

Rupinder is a certified IT expert in AWS and Azure, working as a DevOps Architect and specializing in cloud and infrastructure. He designs and builds entire IT setups for important apps in banking, insurance, and finance.