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After nearly a year and a half of being unemployed, I inherited an existing technology environment. Here, I am the sole I.T guy, there is no bench, there is no assist, it’s all me. As most things are already in place, and no one was around to show me the ropes of the infrastructure, I’ve had to figure out what is where, what does what, and so on and so forth. I had no server locations, no vendor information, just little niblets of data left behind by the last guy.
It’s been one hell of a discovery process.
One of the things I stumbled across very early on, was an issue in getting to certain websites from inside this one location. Some of our users couldn’t get to a webpage, and no one had any idea why that was. It worked for everyone, except the people at that one remote location. Our web team had no clue, the users themselves said that it had been an ongoing issue for years! There I was, the new guy, no idea what the hell was going on, and tasked with, “Make it work, it’s been ongoing long enough.”
First, I had to learn about that specific location’s networking infrastructure. It is a very small site, and I’m not entirely sure why they set things up the way they did, but it’s there and I have to make it work. Initially, I had no idea what was going on. Microsoft didn’t know anything about it, and it was down to me to try and sort it out.
I researched a bunch of articles, trying to figure out why this wouldn’t work, and I suspected that it would have something to do with DNS, but no idea what? I had never setup a DNS server from the ground up as an administrator, this was all newish to me. Eventually, I stumbled across the word “Hybrid DNS.” I followed that thread, and with my fingers crossed, I began to try things down that avenue.
Many of my initial attempts failed, were overwritten, or simply didn’t work. Eventually, I got it to work, and then it stopped again. In a nutshell, I discovered that these guys had the same name for their external web server and the internal domain server. Because of this problem, the name resolution couldn’t take place. The system never went outside, because the name was resolved internally, and of course, that particular web location existed outside, so it failed. I had to find the location where the guy who set the network up put his entries, I mirrored what he did using the outside servers static I.P address, and using that method, I was able to get it to work.
I pinged the site from a computer that was not on the domain, took down the I.P and tested it. Once that worked, I associated it with the name of the website on our internal dns records, and that worked. This may seem easy to some of you super technical, windows server experts, but I’ve been a desktop guy most of my career, and though I did some server work, it was limited due to the corporate silo methodology we followed. Desktop people only touch desktops. Also, I didn’t have a team, or any guidance, this was figure it out as you go along.
Anyway, I hoped that maybe this buzzword, “Hybrid DNS,” could one day help someone who walks into a new environment blind like I did, and encounters a similar problem. All in all, it took me about one day to get this sorted out, a problem which was around for years. The users were happy, and I was happy to learn something new. Hopefully this helps someone along the way.