dnsop P. Wouters
Internet-Draft Red Hat
Intended status: Standards Track J. Abley
Expires: January 4, 2016 Dyn, Inc.
S. Dickinson
R. Bellis
July 3, 2015

The edns-tcp-keepalive EDNS0 Option


DNS messages between clients and servers may be received over either UDP or TCP. UDP transport involves keeping less state on a busy server, but can cause truncation and retries over TCP. Additionally, UDP can be exploited for reflection attacks. Using TCP would reduce retransmits and amplification. However, clients commonly use TCP only for fallback and servers typically use idle timeouts on the order of seconds.

This document defines an EDNS0 option ("edns-tcp-keepalive") that allows DNS servers to signal a variable idle timeout. This signalling facilitates a better balance of UDP and TCP transport between individual clients and servers, reducing the impact of problems associated with UDP transport and allowing the state associated with TCP transport to be managed effectively with minimal impact on the DNS transaction time.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

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This Internet-Draft will expire on January 4, 2016.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

DNS messages between clients and servers may be received over either UDP or TCP [RFC1035]. Historically, DNS clients used API's that only facilitated sending and receiving a single query over either UDP or TCP. New APIs and deployment of DNSSEC validating resolvers on hosts that in the past were using stub resolving only is increasing the DNS client base that prefer using long lived TCP connections. Long-lived TCP connections can result in lower request latency than the case where UDP transport is used and truncated responses are received, since clients that have fallen back to TCP transport in response to a truncated response typically only uses the TCP session for a single (request, response) pair, continuing with UDP transport for subsequent queries. Clients wishing to use other stream-based transport protocols for DNS would also benefit from the set-up amortisation afforded by long lived connections.

UDP transport is stateless, and hence presents a much lower resource burden on a busy DNS server than TCP. An exchange of DNS messages over UDP can also be completed in a single round trip between communicating hosts, resulting in optimally-short transaction times. UDP transport is not without its risks, however.

A single-datagram exchange over UDP between two hosts can be exploited to enable a reflection attack on a third party. Mitigation of such attacks on authoritative-only servers is possible using an approach known as Response Rate-Limiting [RRL], an approach designed to minimise the frequency at which legitimate responses are discarded by truncating responses that appear to be motivated by an attacker, forcing legitimate clients to re-query using TCP transport.

[RFC1035] specified a maximum DNS message size over UDP transport of 512 bytes. Deployment of DNSSEC [RFC4033] and other protocols subsequently increased the observed frequency at which responses exceed this limit. EDNS0 [RFC6891] allows DNS messages larger than 512 bytes to be exchanged over UDP, with a corresponding increased incidence of fragmentation. Fragmentation is known to be problematic in general, and has also been implicated in increasing the risk of cache poisoning attacks.

The use of TCP transport does not suffer from the risks of fragmentation nor reflection attacks. However, TCP transport as currently deployed has expensive overhead.

The overhead of the three-way TCP handshake for a single DNS transaction is substantial, increasing the transaction time for a single (request, response) pair of DNS messages from 1 x RTT to 2 x RTT. There is no such overhead for a session that is already established, however, and the overall impact of the TCP setup handshake when the resulting session is used to exchange N DNS message pairs over a single session, (1 + N)/N, approaches unity as N increases.

(It should perhaps be noted that the overhead for a DNS transaction over UDP truncated due to RRL is 3x RTT, higher than the overhead imposed on the same transaction initiated over TCP.)

With increased deployment of DNSSEC and new RRtypes containing application specific cryptographic material, there is an increase in the prevalence of truncated responses received over UDP with fallback to TCP.

The use of TCP transport requires considerably more state to be retained on DNS servers. If a server is to perform adequately with a significant query load received over TCP, it must manage its available resources to ensure that all established TCP sessions are well-used, and those that remain idle for long periods are closed promptly.

This document proposes a signalling mechanism between DNS clients and servers that provides a means to better balance the use of UDP and TCP transport, reducing the impact of problems associated with UDP whilst constraining the impact of TCP on response times and server resources to a manageable level.

The reduced overhead of this extension adds up significantly when combined with other edns extensions, such as [CHAIN-QUERY] and [STARTTLS]. For example, the combination of these EDNS extensions make it possible for hosts on high-latency mobile networks to natively perform DNSSEC validation and encrypt queries.

2. Requirements Notation

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

3. The edns-tcp-keepalive Option

This document specifies a new EDNS0 [RFC6891] option, edns-tcp-keepalive, which can be used by DNS clients and servers to signal a willingness to keep an idle TCP session open for a certain amount of time to conduct future DNS transactions. This specification does not distinguish between different types of DNS client and server in the use of this option.

3.1. Option Format

The edns-tcp-keepalive option is encoded as follows:

                     1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
!         OPTION-CODE           !         OPTION-LENGTH         !
|                            TIMEOUT                            |


the EDNS0 option code assigned to edns-tcp-keepalive, [TBD]
the value 0 if the TIMEOUT is omitted, the value 2 if it is present;
an idle timeout value for the TCP connection, specified in units of 100 milliseconds, encoded in network byte order.

3.2. Use by DNS Clients

3.2.1. Sending Queries

DNS clients MUST NOT include the edns-tcp-keepalive option in queries sent using UDP transport.

DNS clients MAY include the edns-tcp-keepalive option in the first query sent to a server using TCP transport to signal their desire to keep the connection open when idle.

Clients MUST specify a OPTION-LENGTH of 0 and omit the TIMEOUT value.

3.2.2. Receiving Responses

A DNS client that receives a response using UDP transport that includes the edns-tcp-keepalive option MUST ignore the option.

A DNS client that receives a response using TCP transport that includes the edns-tcp-keepalive option MAY keep the existing TCP session open when it is idle. It SHOULD honour the timeout and initiate close of the connection before the timeout expires.

A DNS client that receives a response that includes the edns-tcp-keepalive option with a TIMEOUT value of 0 should send no more queries on that connection and initiate closing the connection as soon as it has received all outstanding responses.

A DNS client that sent a query containing the edns-keepalive-option but receives a response that does not contain the edns-keepalive-option should assume the server does not support keepalive and behave following the guidance in [DRAFT-5966bis]. This holds true even if a previous edns-keepalive-option exchange occurred on the existing TCP connection.

3.3. Use by DNS Servers

3.3.1. Receiving Queries

A DNS server that receives a query using UDP transport that includes the edns-tcp-keepalive option MUST ignore the option.

A DNS server that receives a query using TCP transport that includes the edns-tcp-keepalive option MAY modify the local idle timeout associated with that TCP session if resources permit.

3.3.2. Sending Responses

DNS servers MAY include the edns-tcp-keepalive option in responses sent using TCP transport to signal their expected idle timeout on a connection. Servers MUST specify the TIMEOUT value that is currently associated with the TCP session. It is reasonable for this value to change according to local resource constraints or in consideration of intermediary behaviour (for example TCP middleboxes or NATs). The DNS server SHOULD send a edns-tcp-keepalive option with a timeout of 0 if it deems its local resources are too low to service more TCP keepalive sessions.

3.4. TCP Session Management

Both DNS clients and servers are subject to resource constraints which will limit the extent to which TCP sessions can persist. Effective limits for the number of active sessions that can be maintained on individual clients and servers should be established, either as configuration options or by interrogation of process limits imposed by the operating system. Servers that implement keepalive should also engage in TCP connection management by recycling existing connections when appropriate, closing connections gracefully and managing request queues to enable fair use.

In the event that there is greater demand for TCP sessions than can be accommodated, servers may reduce the TIMEOUT value signalled in successive DNS messages to minimise idle time on existing sessions. This also allows, for example, clients with other candidate servers to query to establish new TCP sessions with different servers in expectation that an existing session is likely to be closed, or to fall back to UDP.

Based on TCP session resources servers may signal a TIMEOUT value of 0 to request clients to close connections as soon as possible. This is useful when server resources become very low or a denial-of-service attack is detected and further maximises the shifting of TIME_WAIT state to well-behaved clients.

However it should be noted that RCF6891 states: [RFC7320]).

Since servers must be faithful to this specification even on a persistent TCP connection it means that (following the initial exchange of timeouts) a server may not be presented with the opportunity to signal a change in the idle timeout associated with a connection if the client does not send any further requests containing EDNS0 OPT RRs. This limitation makes persistent connection handling via an initial idle timeout signal more attractive than a mechanism that establishes default persistence and then uses a connection close signal (in a similar manner to HTTP 1.1

DNS clients and servers MAY close a TCP session at any time in order to manage local resource constraints. The algorithm by which clients and servers rank active TCP sessions in order to determine which to close is not specified in this document.

3.5. Non-Clean Paths

Many paths between DNS clients and servers suffer from poor hygiene, limiting the free flow of DNS messages that include particular EDNS0 options, or messages that exceed a particular size. A fallback strategy similar to that described in [RFC6891] section 6.2.2 SHOULD be employed to avoid persistent interference due to non-clean paths.

3.6. Anycast Considerations

DNS servers of various types are commonly deployed using anycast [RFC4786].

Changes in network topology between clients and anycast servers may cause disruption to TCP sessions making use of edns-tcp-keepalive more often than with TCP sessions that omit it, since the TCP sessions are expected to be longer-lived. Anycast servers MAY make use of TCP multipath [RFC6824] to anchor the server side of the TCP connection to an unambiguously-unicast address in order to avoid disruption due to topology changes.

4. Intermediary Considerations

It is RECOMMENDED that DNS intermediaries which terminate TCP connections implement keepalive. Should a non-keepalive-aware intermediary sit between a client and server that both support keepalive a potential side effect will be an increased frequency of the proxy closing idle client connections.

5. Security Considerations

The edns-tcp-keep-alive option can potentially be abused to request large numbers of sessions in a quick burst. When a Nameserver detects abusive behaviour, it SHOULD immediately close the TCP connection and free all buffers used.

Readers are advised to familiarise themselves with the security considerations outlined in [DRAFT-5966bis]

This section needs more work. As usual.

6. IANA Considerations

The IANA is directed to assign an EDNS0 option code for the edns-tcp-keepalive option from the DNS EDNS0 Option Codes (OPT) registry as follows:

Value Name Status Reference
[TBA] edns-tcp-keepalive Optional [This document]

7. Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the contributions of Jinmei TATUYA and Mark Andrews.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

[RFC1035] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC4033] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D. and S. Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC 4033, March 2005.
[RFC4786] Abley, J. and K. Lindqvist, "Operation of Anycast Services", BCP 126, RFC 4786, December 2006.
[RFC5966] Bellis, R., "DNS Transport over TCP - Implementation Requirements", RFC 5966, August 2010.
[RFC6824] Ford, A., Raiciu, C., Handley, M. and O. Bonaventure, "TCP Extensions for Multipath Operation with Multiple Addresses", RFC 6824, January 2013.
[RFC6891] Damas, J., Graff, M. and P. Vixie, "Extension Mechanisms for DNS (EDNS(0))", STD 75, RFC 6891, April 2013.
[RFC7320] Nottingham, M., "URI Design and Ownership", BCP 190, RFC 7320, July 2014.

8.2. Informative References

[CHAIN-QUERY] Wouters, P., "Chain Query requests in DNS", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnsop-edns-chain-query, October 2014.
[DRAFT-5966bis] Dickinson, J., Dickinson, S., Bellis, R., Mankin, A. and D. Wessels, "DNS Transport over TCP - Implementation Requirements", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnsop-5966bis-02, July 2015.
[RRL] Vixie, P. and V. Schryver, "DNS Response Rate Limiting (DNS RRL)", ISC-TN 2012-1-Draft1, April 2012.
[STARTTLS] Hu, Z., Zhu, L., Heidemann, J., Mankin, A., Wessels, D. and P. Hoffman, "TLS for DNS: Initiation and Performance Considerations", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dprive-start-tls-for-dns-02, May 2015.

Appendix A. Editors' Notes

A.1. Venue

An appropriate venue for discussion of this document is dnsop@ietf.org.

A.2. Abridged Change History

A.2.1. draft-ietf-dnsop-edns-tcp-keepalive-02

Changed timeout value to idle timeout and re-phrased document around this.

Changed units of timeout to 100ms to allow values less than 1 second.

Change specification to remove use of the option over UDP. This is potentially confusing, could cause issues with ALG's and adds only limited value.

Changed semantics so the client no longer sends a timeout. The client timeout is of limited value as servers should be managing connections based on their view of their resources, not on client requests as this is open to abuse. Additionally this identifies cases were the option is simply being reflected back.

Changed semantics for the meaning of a server sending a timeout of 0. The maximum timeout value of 6553.5s (~1.8h) is already large and a distinct 'connection close'-like signal is potentially more useful.

Added more detail on server side requirements when supporting keepalive in terms of resource and connection management.

Added discussion of EDNS0 per-message limitation and implications of this.

Added reference to STARTTLS draft and RFC7320.

A.2.2. draft-ietf-dnsop-edns-tcp-keepalive-01

Version bump with no changes

A.2.3. draft-ietf-dnsop-edns-tcp-keepalive-00

Clarifications, working group adoption.

A.2.4. draft-wouters-edns-tcp-keepalive-01

Also allow clients to specify KEEPALIVE timeout values, clarify motivation of document.

A.2.5. draft-wouters-edns-tcp-keepalive-00

Initial draft.

Authors' Addresses

Paul Wouters Red Hat EMail: pwouters@redhat.com
Joe Abley Dyn, Inc. 470 Moore Street London, ON N6C 2C2 Canada Phone: +1 519 670 9327 EMail: jabley@dyn.com
Sara Dickinson Sinodun Internet Technologies Magdalen Centre Oxford Science Park Oxford, OX4 4GA UK EMail: sara@sinodun.com URI: http://sinodun.com
Ray Bellis Internet Systems Consortium, Inc 950 Charter Street Redwood City, CA 94063 USA Phone: +1 650 423 1200 EMail: ray@isc.org URI: http://www.isc.org