OIT Networking & Monitoring Services

Retirement of the Princeton University Host Database and Related Services

OIT Networking & Monitoring Services
January 12 2019 pm
Last Updated: 8:56 am January 14 2019

The Princeton University Host Database has long been the authoritative service containing information about devices connected to the University's data network.

It has been used to assign names to networked devices (both physical and virtual), allocate IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, record hardware addresses, and perform related networking functions. The Host Database has been the source of the information in the University's DNS (Domain Name Service) data maintained by OIT, the information used by OIT DHCP/BootP services, and the data used for a variety of other network or information technology facilities.

OIT is retiring the Host Database and related services, and introducing new services. In this announcement, OIT announced that the Host Database will no longer accept network registrations.

Host Database Retirement

The Host Database is being retired by OIT:

A number of OIT services which rely on the Host Database also are being retired, replaced, or changed at the same time as the Host Database's retirement.

These changes will happen between the morning of Friday January 25 2019 and the morning of Monday January 28 2019, a time referred to below as the transition period.

OIT DHCP and BootP Services
OIT will retire OIT DHCP and BootP Services during the transition period.

These services obtain their data from the Host Database, and expect to feed data back into the Host Database; they cannot continue to operate without the Host Database sending and receive updated information. These services also rely on legacy CMU+PU DHCP/BootP Server software OIT is retiring at that time. These services also run on legacy physical servers running a legacy operating system, both of which OIT plans to retire later in 2019.

OIT will introduce new DHCP and BootP services. This will happen during the transition period.

OIT expects the devices using OIT DHCP and BootP Services during the transition period will see little or no interruption to DHCP or BootP service as the old services are retired and the new services are introduced.

Detailed documentation from OIT describing the new DHCP and BootP services is not presently available. The behavior of those services will not be identical to the old services.

Legacy OIT DNS Service
OIT will reconfigure Legacy OIT DNS Service during the transition period.

Until the transition period, Legacy OIT DNS Service obtains Princeton University's DNS data from the Host Database.

During the transition period, Legacy OIT DNS Service will be reconfigured to obtain Princeton University's DNS data from a new OIT DNS Service.

OIT expects that devices using Legacy OIT DNS Service during the transition period will see little or no apparent interruption of that service as it is reconfigured.

DNS clients of Legacy OIT DNS Service have been moving to the new OIT DNS Service during late 2018. (Some began moving earlier.) DNS clients of Legacy OIT DNS Service which learned of their DNS servers from OIT DHCP and BootP Services need only reboot after November 29 2018 to switch to using the new OIT DNS Service. Other DNS clients of Legacy OIT DNS Service will need to be manually reconfigured to switch to use the new OIT DNS Service.

Those DNS client still using Legacy OIT DNS Service will need to complete moving to the new OIT DNS Service in early 2019. OIT has been identifying and contacting some of those customers since late 2018, and expects to continue doing so in early 2019.

OIT expects to retire the Legacy OIT DNS Service during 2019. (The service runs on legacy physical servers running a legacy operating system, both of which OIT plans to retire later in 2019.) At that time, if any DNS clients are still attempting to use Legacy OIT DNS Service, those DNS clients will lose DNS service until they take action to switch to OIT DNS Service.

OIT DNS Service
Prior to 2019, OIT introduced a new OIT DNS Service planned to replace what is now referred to as Legacy OIT DNS Service.

Until the transition period, OIT DNS Service obtains its DNS data from Legacy OIT DNS Service.

During the transition period, the new OIT DNS Service will be reconfigured to instead rely on the information affiliated with the new Network Registration service. (The link above to the new Network Registration service will not function until that service is available.)

OIT expects that devices using OIT DNS Service during the transition period will see little or no apparent interruption of that service as it is reconfigured.

OIT Static IP Service
OIT will retire OIT Static IP Service during the transition period.

That service relies on the Host Database and OIT DHCP and BootP Services, both of which OIT is retiring during that time.

OIT will introduce a new (presently unnamed) service to provide a replacement for some of the functionality of OIT Static IP Service That will happen during the transition period.

Detailed documentation from OIT describing that new service is not presently available. The behavior of the new service will not be identical to OIT Static IP Service.

OIT Mobile IP Service
OIT will retire OIT Mobile IP Service during the transition period.

That service relies on the Host Database and OIT DHCP Service, both of which OIT is retiring during that time.

OIT will introduce a new (presently unnamed) service to provide a replacement for some of the functionality of OIT Mobile IP Service. That will happen during the transition period.

Detailed documentation from OIT describing that new service is not presently available. The behavior of the new service will not be identical to OIT Mobile IP Service.

OIT Static IP Recycling Facility (SIRF)
OIT will retire the OIT Static IP Recycling Facility (SIRF) during the transition period.

SIRF relied on (and was part of) the Host Database.

A replacement for SIRF does not exist at this time.

Dormnet
OIT will retire Dormnet during the transition period.

Dormnet is a service which allows students (and certain other student-like customers) to register personally-owned devices for network service at Princeton University.

(Dormnet should not be confused with the network named pu-dormnet-bb. That network is not being retired.)

Dormnet service relies on the Host Database, which is being retired. Dormnet service also is affiliated with OIT DHCP and BootP Services, which are being retired. Dormnet service also is affiliated with OIT Mobile IP Service, which is being retired.

Dormnet service also provided access to OIT Wireless Service. The latter service already is deprecated, and will be retired during 2019. Replacements for OIT Wireless Service were announced earlier by OIT.

Detailed documentation from OIT about registration of student's personally-owned devices to obtain wired network services at Princeton University after Dormnet is retired is not available at this time.

Visitor IP (VIP) Service
OIT will retire Visitor IP (VIP) Service during the transition period.

This service relies on the Host Database and OIT DHCP Service and BootP Services, both of which OIT is retiring.

OIT will introduce a new (presently unnamed) service to provide a replacement for functionality of Visitor IP (VIP) Service. That will happen during the transition period.

Detailed documentation from OIT describing the new service is not presently available. The behavior of the new service will not be identical to the old service.

NIS ethers map
OIT will retire the content of the NIS ethers map. This provided a programmatic way to look up a hardware address registered in the Host Database to learn its name, and visa versa, or to retrieve the complete map.

That NIS map relied on data in the Host Database, which OIT is retiring at that time.

During the transition period (and perhaps for several days after) the NIS ethers map will continue to contain data from the final version of the Host Database. Very soon after the transition period, OIT expects to empty or remove the NIS ethers map.

No replacement for the NIS ethers map is planned.

Some NIS netgroups
OIT will stop providing those NIS netgroups that were based on the Host Database.

Some of these included princetonhubs, and princetonhosts.

No replacement for these netgroups are planned.

There are some other NIS netgroups (not based on the Host Database) which OIT is not retiring at this time.

Viewing the Host Database
Some days after the retirement of the Host Database, OIT expects to retire the Viewing the Host Database web page.

By that time, the information that web page displays will be stale, reflecting the final content of the Host Database when it was retired.

Programmatic access to the Host Database
Some days after the retirement of the Host Database, OIT expects to retire Programmatic access to the Host Database.

By that time, the information that access provides will be stale, reflecting the final content of the Host Database when it was retired.

Host Database Departmental Contacts List
Some days after the retirement of the Host Database, OIT expects to retire access to viewing the Host Database Departmental Contacts List.

By that time, the information in that web page document will be stale, reflecting the final content of the Host Database when it was retired.

Department Name to Department Number Table
Some days after the retirement of the Host Database, OIT expects to retire access to viewing the Department Name to Department Number Table. and the parseable text version of the same information.

These documents are generated by the Host Database. By that time, the information in those documents will be stale, reflecting the final content of the Host Database when it was retired.

Campus Data Network ("Subnet") List
The Campus Data Network ("Subnet") List will become stale and then be retired, as it is generated automatically by the Host Database from information in the database.

No replacement is planned at this time.

OIT VoIP Service Network ("Subnet") List
The OIT VoIP Service Network ("Subnet") List will become stale and then be retired, as it is generated automatically by the Host Database from information in the database.

No replacement is planned at this time.

Horizontal Network ("Subnet") List
The Horizontal Network ("Subnet") List will become stale and then be retired, as it is generated automatically by the Host Database from information in the database.

No replacement is planned at this time.

DHCP Dynamic Lease Statistics
The DHCP Dynamic Lease Statistics will be retired as they rely on OIT DHCP and BootP Services, OIT Mobile IP Service, Visitor IP (VIP) Service, and behavior provided by the Host Database.

No replacement is planned at this time.

Identify My Computer
The Identify My Computer tool will be retired during the transition period.

That tool primarily provided information from the Host Database .

No replacement is planned.

Categorize IP Address
The Categorize IP Address tool will be retired during the transition period.

That tool relied on the Host Database and DNS naming conventions enforced by the Host Database.

No replacement is planned.

Other Services
It is likely that there are other OIT and non-OIT services, facilities, functionality, and behavior that depend on the availability or behavior of the Host Database or other services above.

Some of those dependant services may no longer function in the same manner, or may stop working.

Many published documents refer to the services above. Those documents are not expected to be all removed, revised, or replaced immediately; the documentation effort likely will proceed for some months after the Host Database is retired. Some of those published documents are dynamically generated relying on data in the Host Database; those may become stale or empty starting during the transition period.


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