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Name System Functions: Name Space, Name Registration and Name Resolution
(Page 1 of 2)
While the difference between numeric
addresses and symbolic names is very significant to the users of network
devices, it's important to remember that both numbers and names really
serve the same basic purpose: device identification. Even when
we use a name system to make devices easier to access, the computers
themselves will still normally need to use the underlying numeric identifier.
In essence, then, every device will end up with (at least) two identifiers:
a number and a name.
The fact that devices end up with
multiple identifiers is what allows both people and their machines to
use the method of identification they prefer. However, it means that
there must be ways of managing the assignment of names to devices, and
of converting between them. A name system therefore involves more than
just slapping names on computers. It must be, in fact, a complete system
that allows names to be used by the humans while numbers continue to
be used by the devices.
Overview of Basic Name System Functions
At the highest level, I consider
a name system's jobs as encompassing these three basic functions:
- Name Space: The name system defines a
name space for the networking system upon which it runs. The
name space, also sometimes called a name architecture, describes
the rules for how names are structured and used. It also defines how
the name of one device is related to the names of other devices in the
system, and how to ensure that no invalid names are given that would
cause problems with the system as a whole.
- Name Registration: To implement the name
system, a name must be assigned to each device on the network. Like
any addressing system, a name system cannot work properly unless every
name on the system is unique; we need some way of managing how the names
are assigned so the result is sensible. The process of linking specific
names to particular devices is usually called name registration.
- Name Resolution: As I mentioned above,
even though humans like symbolic names, computers usually have little
use for them. It is necessary to define a mechanism by which a device's
symbolic name can be translated into its numeric address. This process
is usually called name resolution.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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